AFA Elections | 2024 Candidates

As established by the AFA Bylaws, the Nominating & Governance Committee met in mid-April to interview and select five candidates to run in the 2024 elections for open Board positions. See below for the current 2024 Slate of Candidates (as of May 31, 2024).

IMPORTANT: Self-nominations for open Board positions will be accepted June 1 – 15, 2024. If you are interested in nominating yourself for an open Board position, you must email during this open period. Please identify which position you are self-nominating for. The Committee will decide which self-nominated candidate(s) will be added to the current Slate of Candidates no later than June 28.

Elections by authorized voters for these open Board positions will take place electronically between September 1-14, 2024. No votes will be accepted after September 14, 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Open Positions:

Vice Chair of the Board, Education 

Joe Abegg | Eastampton, N.J.

I am the current AFA New Jersey State President, past AFA N.J. State Executive Vice President, an AFA Life Member joining in 1981, and a current member of both the AFA Education Council and the new AFA Recruiting Task Force. I just retired as a United Airlines Captain (free travel for life). I retired after 29 years in the Air Force as both Officer and Enlisted, AF Command Pilot, CAP Command Pilot. I hold a BS in Aerospace Engineering, Masters in Management. I was the Arnold Air Society Squadron Commander, AFROTC Cadet Group Commander, flight test engineer at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, graduate of SOS, ACSC, and AWC, and an Astronaut (select) for a Ansari X-Prize team. I was awarded the AFA Exceptional Service Medal, the AFA Medal of Merit, the CAP Distinctive Service Medal, four CAP Exceptional Service Medals, six CAP Meritorious Service Awards and three DoD Meritorious Service Medals. Most recently, I led the CAP contributions from 16 CAP Wings at the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War; advocated for CAP funding on Capital Hill for the tenth year; and was the National Activity Director for the sold-out Spaatz Association Award Gala with the Air Force Band and the CSAF as the keynote speaker.

Why are you running?
To give back and to pay forward in the best way that I know possible. I bring 42 years of active AFA service, 51 years in CAP service with executive leadership over Cyber Patriot teams, StellarXplorer teams, Flight Academies and Flight Scholarships. Note CAP has 30,000 cadets and 5,800 AEMs. My vast and diverse Aerospace Education background from CAP, to Industry, to AAS, to AFROTC, the airlines, the military, and the Boardroom will allow me to make a difference.

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?
I bring over 50 years of Aerospace Education background, and executive leadership starting with earning the CAP Billy Mitchell Award in 1974, earning a BS in Aerospace Engineering, a CAP Master Rating in Aerospace Education, earning the CAP Scott Crossfield, the Chuck Yeager and the Carl Spaatz Awards in Aerospace Education, Astronaut (sel) for an Ansari X-Prize team. I spent 41 years in the command/Captain seat in multiengine jet aircraft flying to six continents, operating high-level Top Secret missions in five continents, accruing almost 31,000 flying hours, and with 10 years consecutive experience advocating on Capitol Hill for CAP. I have proven senior executive leadership and oranizational skills on the state, federal, military, and international level to bring to the Board.

I am currently serving a second term as member Board of Directors of the Spaatz Association, as the President of the Eagles Advisory Group (72 Colonels), a second term as AFA’s N.J. State President, AFA’s NJ State Executive Vice President. I’ve chaired five CAP Finance Committees, I’m a three-time CAP Squadron Commander, CAP Group Commander, and CAP Wing Commander.

Gary Copsey | Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

I served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a colonel. Instructor Pilot (IP) and Flight Examiner in helicopters at formal school; developed new training programs for USAF IPs; developed night vision goggle training; Squadron Assistant Chief Pilot and IP in C-141s; Chief, SOF and Rescue Branch, HQ MAC Plans and Programs; Chief of Protocol HQ MAC and USTRANSCOM; Deputy Chief of Staff OPS/PLANS, US Forces Azores; Deputy Director Command and Control and Director, Ops Management, HQ AMC TACC; Chief of Staff, Inter American Defense Board and College (Wash DC); Commander, AFROTC Det. 930, Marquette University.

While in AFROTC, I was selected to command Ellsworth II Field Training with 325 cadets. Had to establish relationships with base leadership as a tenant org. Nine years at USAA leading training design and development teams for training at the USAA Bank and for New Employee Orientation. Served as Lead Learning/Performance Consultant where I advised senior leaders at USAA. Direct report to SVP. Selected as HR “Volunteer of the Year” based on work with AFA. Bottom line: I spent both my careers in service to people by helping them succeed. In turn, helping organizations succeed.

Why are you running?
With over 10 years on the Field Council and six on the Education Council, I have the experience, skills and background to be a servant leader as VCED. I’m deeply committed to the mission of AFA and STEM education. I’ve seen it from grass roots chapter level through region as a Region President. My goal, if selected: further the great work that’s been done, come up with new ideas from the field: listen to the membership, and take action if feasible. Look for and find solutions to issues.

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?
My skills range from broad leadership and resource management experience at HQ level and as a commander to being a servant leader by ensuring people had resources and freedom to succeed in their roles. I’ve been and am on boards, and understand the inner workings. My experience on AFA’s Field Council and Education Council; as a CAP cadet and Sq CC; my background in training and development; my experience as an AAS member and now on the Board of Trustees since 2005; my experience as AFA TX Aerospace Education Foundation Chair and member of the Alamo AEF; and serving as a member of the San Antonio Space and Engineering Technologies Academy Board of Advisors place me in a good position to grasp the role and move AFA Education forward, and help envision and execute changes to improve AFA.

I currently serve on the Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings Board of Trustees, 2005 to present. Arnold Air Society/Angel Flight Silver Wings Education Fund (ASEF) Board of Directors from its start until today. Until recently, served as ASEF secretary for several years. I serve as the registered agent in Texas as it is a Texas Based 501(C)(3). SETA in paragraph 3 is advisory role only.


Chuck Martin | Fort Hill, S.C.

I am currently the AFA National Treasurer. I have an BBA from Manhattan College and an MBA from Michigan State University. I am a member of Beta Alpha Psi (National Accounting Fraternity). I am a Certified Association Executive; Certified Internal Auditor; Adjunct Instructor; USAF Academy graduate; Regis University; University of Maryland (European & Pacific Divisions); Member AFA FINCOM; Chair of the AFA PECC (President’s Evaluation and Compensation Committee); Board Officer on MOAA National Board; COO/CFO, American Physical Therapy Association. I served as Treasurer, Foundation for Physical Therapy Research; AFROC Treasurer; Audit Committee, American Academy of Audiology (Public Member). I served as Treasurer or on Finance Committee of various HOAs. I’ve conducted numerous pro-bono financial/audit reviews of the AFA Steele Chapter; AFCEA, AF4C, and many national medical associations for ASAE. Having Board and staff expertise and governance experience provides a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. Transparancy and recognition of Field & Education roles are vital for an AFA Treasurer and have been demonstrated in my AFA roles/performance.

Why are you running?
Upon retirement from the Air Force as a Colonel and MAJCOM comptroller, I moved into the NFP space and continued in my volunteer activities, while accepting a COO/CFO staff position at APTA for 18 years. Received the CAE Certification and was elected/selected for Board service in MOAA, AFA, AFROC, and other roles. I believe my continued performance as AFA Treasurer is vital as we take on the challenges facing us in 2025 and out. I am ready!

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?
My skill set includes: solid academic & financial backgrounds; key certifications in the not-for-profit arena; demonstated appreciation for the successful volunteer/staff relationships; outstanding performance in both staff and executive volunteer positions; teaching finance and managment courses at the baccalaureate level; probono financial reviews over the years to gain “best practice'” policies and audit currency. With a new President-CEO, a leased building with complex GAAP and cash flow issues; an on going program to liquidate the DBP and its $4M liability. Transparency and colleagiality are critcal as we face challenges in our membership organization. Teamwork is a force multiplier and I bring that environment to the decision processes with Board, Committee, and staff.  

I am Third VP for VFW Post 12136, Indian Land, SC; and a member of South Carolina Veterans’ Coalition, representing AFA.

National Secretary 

Paul Hendricks | Spicewood, Texas

I am an AFA Life Member (49 years). I have extensive management experience while serving as an Air Force officer (20 years) and as a Program Manager for Boeing (21 years). As the Fairview, TX Town Council Mayor Pro Tem (6 years), I maintained community balance. Founded the Veterans Center of North Texas providing social work to Veterans and their families. I was recognized as the Fairview Outstanding Citizen of the Year, the “Hero of the Year”, and the Outstanding Volunteer Social Worker of the Year. As the Trinity Presbyterian Church the Clerk of Session (Board Secretary) (10 years), I developed agendas, called and officiated meetings, maintained parliamentary procedures, developed meeting minutes, tracked action items, and produced statistical reports. As the AFA Deputy Chief of Staff, Vietnam 50th Celebration Committee, I scheduled and coordinated meetings, maintained organizational contacts, developed schedules, conducted critical path analyses, performed financial assessments, and developed meeting minutes and tracked action items.

Why are you running?
I am a member of the AFA Board. I enjoy collaborating with members of the Board, the AFA Staff, and Field members.  I am dedicated to serving the AFA at the highest level to foster growth, prosperity and harmony. I have previously served as the Board Secretary on other boards. I have experienced and observed the value of organized, structured, and well documented meetings. I am ready and eager to function as the AFA Board Secretary.

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?
I possess analytical and organizational skills backed by practical military, industry, and community experience. I thrive on organizational structure and logical conclusions derived from facts and analyses. I support equal opportunity and encourage balanced, organized, and respectful discussions before decisions are made. In the Board process, it is important to develop comprehensive agendas and maintain direction to reach meeting objectives. Through my experience as the Mayor Pro Tem and Church Board Secretary, I am familiar with parliamentary procedures. Accurate meeting minutes, assigned action items, and responsible tracking are essential to the conduct of a successful meeting.

Jackie Trotter | Warner Robins, Ga.

I served 11 years on active duty and 22 years as a reservist (primarily ART/AGR tours) in the Air Force as a public affairs officer. When not on active duty I served in public affairs and publications management as a civilian. After my retirement from both the military and civilian positions, I worked for the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Those jobs gave me extensive experience in working with both non-profit organization volunteers and governing boards.

Why are you running?
In my first term on the Board, I became heavily involved in the development of the new Bylaws and Governance Manual. I would like to continue that work, organizing and revising as necessary all the Association publications. I believe the field and our staff deserve a centralized location for all guidance materials. Our board minutes should also be published so our members are more knowledgeable of the Association’s leadership actions.

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?
I became the publications manager for TAC just as the change was made to ACC. That meant managing the consolidation of more than 5,000 publications from TAC, MAC and SAC. The ACC/CC mandated and 50% cut in both publications and pages in one year, which we exceeded. Within months of the conversion, the Air Force changed to the AFI system so I was once again challenged to revamp the entire ACC publications system. A duty for the national secretary is the management of all Association publications. With my ACC experience and work on Association guidance, I know I can organize all the Association publications into a useable and useful library.

Board Matrix Skills: strategic planning, board experience, volunteer work, military service, member experience, governance, innovation, risk and diversity.

I am a volunteer/communications advisor for the board of the Coylumbridge Highland Lodges Club, a volunteer board managing 62 timeshare lodges near Aviemore, Scotland.

National Director, West Geographical Area

Bobi Oates | Las Vegas, Nev.

I served 23 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as Senior Master Sgt. in Aircraft Maintenance. I spent nine years at the Armed Forces Bank, seven years as Exchange branch manager. I have spent 14 years active with AFA in Chapter positions: VP, Treasurer, President, 3 1/2 yr Southwest Region President, and more than two years as the National Director, West Area. I have worked several years with the Wounded Warrior Trials & Caregiver events at Nellis. I have worked closely with the leadership at both Nellis & Creech AFBs to promote AFA and to support bases. I’m a part of the larger Las Vegas Veterans community, working with them to help our Airmen, Guardians, Families, and Veterans. I’m a member of the Advocacy and Region President subcommittee, member of the Finance committee, and help with the Field Council on whatever is needed.

Why are you running?
I want to continue as a National Director for the West Area, to be their voice from the Field on the Board. I work closely with Airmen, Guardians, Families, and Veterans to know their needs and to be their voice as an advocate for them. I want to help the Association grow and continue to do great work for our Airmen, Guardians, Families and Veterans.

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?
I have experience as a Senior NCO, banking experience, and, yes, I fill the blocks for being female and enlisted. I make monetary donations too. Several years experience in the Field, I can bring that perspective. I care about our Airmen, Guardians, Families and Veterans, I want to continue to do good for them. This is what I was meant to do.

National Director, at Large (TWO open positions)

Doug “Odie” Slocum | Macomb, Mich.

I have served as the Michigan State AFA president and the Chapter 179 President since January 2021. We have expanded in scope, membership, and impact every year. We’re pioneering a single-entity organizational structure to streamline administration and maximize efforts on community engagement. We’ve also introduced virtual events.

My professional background includes 35 years in uniform retiring in 2019 as a Brigadier General. My experience includes executive leadership and management at local, state, national, and international levels capping my career as the Commander of Selfridge ANGB and the 127th Wing, where I turned the Wing from one of the most stressed/lowest performing organizations in the ANG to the award-winning “best Wing in the ANG” within two years. Prior to Selfridge, I innovated and introduced safety/human factors programs to maintenance and logistics career fields across the USAF as well as suicide prevention and resiliency. I am a career fighter pilot with more than 4,000 hours in F-4, F-16, & A-10 aircraft.

Why are you running?
I think I can make a difference. I branded my engagement/leadership style “violent positivity” by focusing on people — equipping and motivating individuals to reach new levels of excellence. It works. I think I can bring that same energy and people-centric focus as a member of the board to positively influence and contribute to field effectiveness as well as nationwide AFA activities. I also believe I’II bring a reserve component perspective and experience that will add value.

What skills will you bring to AFA’s Board?

  • Communicator: World-renowned public/motivational speaker, published author, educator, not only teaching and mentoring others but also personally delivering >750 keynote-type presentations to hundreds of thousands worldwide.
  • Team-builder: Bringing diverse groups together in innovative ways to achieve organizational and personal excellence.
  • Steward: Achieving spectacular results in resource-constrained environments while upholding highest ethical standards
  • Innovation: Bringing new solutions to solve tough problems. Proven record of original thinking leading to success
  • Diplomacy: A senior exec approach to ensuring constructive dialog w/amiable disagreement. Conflict resolution skills.

Other organizations I volunteer with include Selfridge Military Air Museum and the Fisher House of Michigan.