Five Executives in Air Traffic Management GovCon to Watch

Air traffic


Five Executives in Air Traffic Management GovCon to Watch

The primary objective of air traffic management is to ensure that aircraft have enough space between them to avoid collision in the air or on the ground.

Despite its simple purpose, air traffic management uses a combination of advanced aeronautical information management technologies and services to maximize the efficiency of the aviation industry.

Recent advancements in communications technology and airport technology have also led to improvements in airport efficiency and reductions in flight delays, according to a 2020 report by Fortune Business Insights.

The market researcher added that such technological advancements will likely drive the demand for more air traffic management systems through 2026.

The Potomac Officers Club—a division of Executive Mosaic—features five air traffic management executives in the government contracting sector.

Teri Bristol, Chief Operating Officer of the FAA Air Traffic Organization
Teri Bristol,
Chief Operating Officer,

Teri Bristol, Chief Operating Officer of the FAA Air Traffic Organization

Teri Bristol is the chief operating officer of the Federal Aviation Administration‘s Air Traffic Organization.

Bristol is responsible for safe, efficient and secure air traffic services for around 50,000 aircraft operating in nearly 30 million square miles. She also leads 32,000 ATO employees who perform air traffic services, technical and systems operations, safety management, technical training, mission support services, management services, program management and flight program operations.

She has implemented multiple initiatives at the ATO, including the Next Generation Air Transportation System, a multi-year infrastructure and technology modernization project. She also enhanced the ATO’s focus on risk management, training, labor relations and partnerships with the aviation industry, the FAA said.

Bristol has been with the FAA for three decades and has been the COO since 2014. Prior to her current leadership role, she served as the deputy COO from 2012 to 2013. She also oversaw maintenance, monitoring and engineering of the National Airspace System.

The FAA veteran served as chairwoman of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation Executive Committee from 2017 to 2019. She is the current chairwoman of Latin America and the Caribbean of the CANSO CEO Committee.

She currently represents the ATO on the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee and is a member of the NextGen Executive Board and NextGen Advisory Committee.

Bristol holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and transportation from the Univerity of Maryland.

The Air Traffic Organization provides air navigation to aviators operating in airspace that covers the U.S. and large portions of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The ATO also oversees air traffic in the Gulf of Mexico.

Joseph Rios, Chief Technologist at NASA's Ames Research Center
Joseph Rios,
Chief Technologist,
NASA Ames Research Center

Joseph Rios, Chief Technologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center

Joseph Rios is the chief technologist at NASA Ames Research Center‘s aviation systems division.

As chief technologist, Rios oversees software technology development in support of various NASA projects, organizations and partners. He also ensures that teams optimize their processes and build software offerings that would meet current and future mission needs.

He was the chief engineer of NASA’s Air Traffic Management-eXploration Project, which focused on advancing the U.S. National Airspace System. He was also the chief engineer for the agency’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management project, an initiative designed to ensure safe flights for drones, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Rios joined NASA in 2007 as a research aerospace engineer who worked on multiple efforts. He focused mostly on large-scale optimization, data exchanges, general aviation and other air traffic management-related work at the Ames Research Center.

Outside NASA, Rios served as a teacher at the Berkeley Unified School District and as a substitute teacher at the Brentwood Union School District. He was also an education volunteer at the U.S. Peace Corps.

He holds a doctorate degree in computer engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also has a master’s degree in computer science from California State University-East Bay.

NASA Ames Research Center conducts research and development activities in aeronautics, technology and science. Its expertise cover entry systems, advanced computing and IT systems, air traffic management,, space and earth sciences and cost-effective space missions.

Glenna Sowa, Deputy Director for Air Traffic Management Research and Engineering at LS Technologies
Glenna Sowa,
Deputy Director,
LS Technologies

Glenna Sowa, Deputy Director for Air Traffic Management Research and Engineering at LS Technologies

Glenna Sowa is the deputy director of air traffic management research and engineering at LS Technologies, working out of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. She is a strategic technology leader with over 20 years of interdisciplinary research and hands-on technical leadership experience spanning aerospace and biotechnology fields, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Sowa has a proven track record of success in leading winning proposal teams and managing budget teams in “a complex matrix management environment in both government contracting and private business structures.” Furthermore, she is passionate about solving complex technical problems to build new systems, facilities and capabilities, her biography further reveals.

Sowa has been credited for simultaneously managing multiple projects, programs and departments spanning a wide range of cross-functional research and production areas. By her own account, she is an expert problem solver and highly skilled communicator.

Sowa has been employed at LST for the last four years. She joined the firm in 2018 as a program analyst and quickly rose to her current deputy directorial position. 

Apart from her job as LST, Sowa also serves as an adjunct instructor at Los Angeles Harbor College. She joined the school’s faculty in 2018 and has been teaching ever since.

Sowa earned her degree in chemistry from Lousiana State University. She later earned her doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of California.

Matthew Monaco, Director of Space and Air Traffic Systems at Noblis
Matthew Monaco,

Matthew Monaco, Director of Space and Air Traffic Systems at Noblis

Matthew Monaco is the director of space and air traffic systems at Noblis, working out of Washington, D.C. His primary responsibilities include strategy, operations, business development, solution implementation and human capital development for the organization, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In his current role, Monaco oversees an organization focused on delivering innovation to civilian aerospace missions. His job sees him working on engineering for air traffic and space systems, space mission planning and design, and advisory services for air traffic missions, among others.

Monaco has been employed at Noblis, a Virginia-based nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization, for over 14 years. He joined the organization in 2007 as a program manager for data analytics and cyber security. He is credited for developing and executing Noblis’ data analytics and high-performance computing programs as well as managing the organization’s Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

Monaco began his professional life as an intern at Booz Allen Hamilton, his only other corporate affiliation outside of Noblis.

Monaco volunteers as a triathlon coach. In this role, he provides swimming, biking and running coaching to participants who are striving to raise money while they train for endurance events.

Monaco earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from West Virginia University. He later earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University – Kellog Schol of Management.

William Colligan, EVP and General Manager of the Air Traffic Management Business at Leonardo
William Colligan,
EVP & GM of ATM,

William Colligan, EVP and General Manager of the Air Traffic Management Business at Leonardo

William Colligan serves as executive vice president and general manager of air traffic management at Leonardo, a technology company working with clients in the aerospace, defense and security sectors.

Leonardo’s air traffic management business, Selex ES, provides land-based navigational aids, including instrument landing systems and radio navigation systems, to customers such as the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Navy.

Colligan’s responsibilities cover profit and loss, strategy development and execution for the air traffic management business, Leonardo said.

The company credits him with leading strategies to drive growth, capture markets, transform organizations and increase shareholder value.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Colligan has more than 20 years of leadership experience working with engineering and air traffic control and management organizations.

Prior to joining Selex ES in December 2017 as senior vice president, Colligan served as vice president of systems engineering at Architecture Technology Corporation, a software technology company.

He provided day-to-day oversight and management of ATCorp’s contracts, task orders and engineering staff working with the FAA and other government clients.

Colligan said he also provided leadership in ATCorp’s development of advanced transportation and air traffic management concepts. 

He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in systems engineering from Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University.


The Potomac Officers Club is owned and operated by Executive Mosaic. Since 2002, Executive Mosaic has been a leader in media and exclusive senior executive networking programs primarily targeted to the U.S. federal government contracting (GovCon) marketplace. In addition to connecting executives of consequence into a fabric of like minded communities, the company’s growing cross-media platform serves as a leading source of news about the people, policies, trends and events shaping the nation’s GovCon sector.

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