Heather K. Wingate serves as Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for Delta Air Lines. Her responsibilities include managing Delta’s Federal and International government relations teams. She is responsible for developing and advocating Delta’s public policy positions with the White House, the Administration, and Congress. She also oversees Delta’s political engagement and relationships with think tanks, industry coalitions, and other public policy organizations
Prior to joining Delta in October 2017, Heather spent five years as the Head of Global Government Relations for MetLife. Her responsibilities included managing MetLife’s State, Federal, and International government relations teams, as well as its Regulatory Policy Group, responsible for MetLife’s engagement on public policy and regulatory issues at all levels of government. From May 2010 to October 2012, she was Managing Director of Public Affairs for Nomura Holding America, Inc., where she established and ran the company’s Washington office. From 2003 to April 2010, she served as Managing Director and Head of Federal Government Affairs at Citi in Washington.
Heather has served in a number of public sector positions, including as Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and subsequently as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs from 2001 to 2003, where she promoted the President’s legislative agenda before the U.S. Senate. In addition to her executive branch experience, Heather worked in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2001, serving as Chief of Staff to then-Senator Sam Brownback. She practiced law in Washington from 1993-1995, and began her Washington career as an intern to then-Senator Bob Dole in 1989.
Heather received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Kansas in 1989 and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1993. She is a member of the Kansas Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar. She serves on the National Presbyterian School Board of Trustees. She previously served on the board of Women’s Policy, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on women’s issues; and the board of the Business-Government Relations Council, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting best practices in the government relations profession. She also formerly served as the President of the Kansas Society of Washington, DC, a nonprofit member of the National Conference of State Societies.
She lives in McLean, Virginia, with her husband, son and daughter.
Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs
Jeff Davidman oversees Delta’s State and Local Government Affairs efforts around the country and has direct responsibility for Delta’s MSP hub, the City of Atlanta as well as the Midwest portion of the country. Jeff has represented Delta’s state and local government entities around the country since 2004. During his tenure at Delta, Jeff has been instrumental in securing state and local government support for multiple Delta initiatives, including the successful merger with Northwest Airlines. Prior to joining Delta Air Lines, Jeff worked for 10 years in various positions throughout Minnesota State Government including working as a Senior Policy Advisor for Governor Tim Pawlenty.
Prior to joining Delta in September 2013, Bob Letteney was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Aviation and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In addition to his experience at DOT, Bob spent significant time on Capitol Hill, where he worked for Senator Edward Kennedy, served as Chief of Staff to Representative Martin Meehan (D-MA) and also worked on the Committee on Appropriations for Chairman John Olver (D-MA). He also was a Mike Mansfield Fellow and worked in the Ministry of Transport in Tokyo, Japan.
Prior to working at Delta, Mimi Braniff held various positions in both the government and private sector. Her experience includes serving as Special Counsel to the Senate Energy Committee, Full Committee Counsel to the Senate Appropriations Committee and Deputy Chief Counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee. In addition to holding the position of Vice President, Federal Government Affairs for NRG Energy, Mimi previously practiced law in California and Indiana, focusing on litigation.
Eric Burgeson joined Delta in 2019 having previously served as Chief of Staff to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster. He served as the chief policy and political advisor to the Chairman and oversaw the day to day operations of the Chairman’s Washington, DC, district and committee offices.
Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Eric served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Associate Director for Presidential Personnel at the White House. He also served as Chief of Staff at the Department of Energy to Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, and previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
Eric is an Illinois native and a graduate of the University of Kansas. Eric and his family live in Arlington, Virginia.
Managing Director, State and Local Government Affairs
Based in Los Angeles, Dana Debel is responsible for government relations with state and local officials in the western U.S., including California, Washington, and Utah, along with other key communities. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, Dana led similar efforts out of Delta’s Detroit hub. Dana has led numerous efforts to enhance the presence of Delta within its hub communities and improve the economic and operating climate for Delta’s customers and employees before state and local elected leaders. Prior to joining Delta, Dana served as Policy Director for Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, and was charged with carrying out the Governor’s policy agenda in both the legislative and administrative arenas.
Managing Director, International Regulatory and Policy
Julie Oettinger joined Delta Air Lines in January 2015 where she holds the position of Managing Director, International Regulatory and Policy. She is based in the Hague, Netherlands.
Prior to that, Julie Oettinger served from June 2010 to November 2014 as Assistant Administrator for International, Policy and the Environment at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Washington, DC. Prior to joining FAA, Ms. Oettinger was Managing Director for International and Regulatory Affairs at United Airlines.
Ms. Oettinger previously served as Assistant General Counsel at US Airways from 1998 to 2002 where she was responsible for all international legal affairs and all regulatory matters. Ms. Oettinger also was Attorney Advisor in the Legal Advisor’s Office at the U.S. Department of State where she was Legal Advisor to the aviation negotiation team, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for International Security Affairs and Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy Panama.
Ms. Oettinger received a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.
Managing Director, State and Local Government Affairs
Based in New York, Patty Ornst is responsible for state and local issues for New York and the northeast region, as well Kentucky. Prior to joining Delta, Patty was a director of state and local government affairs for the Northeast region at American Airlines. She also served as vice president, aviation, for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she led aviation strategy for New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration. Earlier in her career, she spent nearly seven years at Airports Council International – North America as director of legislative affairs.
Managing Director, State and Local Government Affairs
David Werner currently serves as Director of State and Local Government Affairs for Delta Air Lines where he has responsibility for Delta’s Hubs in ATL and DTW and the Southeast part of the country. Prior to joining Delta, Werner served as Executive Counsel to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. A graduate of the University of Georgia and Emory University School of Law, Werner previously served as Chief Operating Officer of the State of Georgia, Deputy Chief of Staff of Legislative and External Affairs, Deputy Executive Counsel and as the Policy Advisor on Criminal Justice. He also held staff positions in both the Georgia House and Senate.
Cherie Wilson joined Delta in March 2021. Prior to Delta, Cherie was a director of federal affairs for General Motors (GM) where she was responsible for developing and executing legislative and political engagement in vehicle finance, sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Previously, she served as a Vice President at M. J. Bradley & Associates (MJB&A), a strategic environmental consulting firm where she worked with corporate and NGO clients on air quality and climate change related advocacy initiatives before the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress. Prior to joining MJB&A, Cherie held director level advocacy positions at the Electric Power Supply Association and Constellation Energy. Before joining the private sector, Cherie worked on Capitol Hill as a senior policy advisor for Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) and as a legislative assistant for Congressman Albert R. Wynn (D-MD).
Cherie holds a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She was recognized in 2018, 2019, and 2020 as one of the Hill’s Top Lobbyists; selected by her peers as one of the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics’ 2020 Top Lobbyists; and most recently was named to Washingtonian’s 2021 Most Influential People list of experts and advocates shaping policy in Washington. She holds several board and advisory positions, including serving on the Corporate Advisory Council for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Melissa Alvarado joins Delta Air Lines from the House Committee on Homeland Security, where she was a professional staff member responsible for aviation, maritime, and transportation security for Chairman Bennie Thompson.
Before joining the Committee on Homeland Security, she worked in the Transportation Security Administration’s Office of Legislative Affairs and as a Detail to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Secretary. Prior to her time in the Executive branch, Melissa worked on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation focusing on aviation security and safety issues, including the 2016 and 2018 FAA Reauthorizations and for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida in his personal office.
Melissa focuses on Delta’s security and facilitation priorities with Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Transportation Security Administration.
Humberto Lopez-Mata joined Delta Air Lines in October 2018 as Director International and Regulatory Affairs and is responsible for overseeing regulatory matters and leading Delta Air Lines’ government affairs strategy in Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Before joining Delta Air Lines, Mr. Lopez-Mata worked at White & Case Miami office as an associate from October 2011 to October 2018 and as international associate from September 2007 to August 2009. Mr. Lopez-Mata’s primary practice areas included aircraft finance, bank finance, derivatives and general corporate work, with a focus on cross-border transactions in Latin America. Mr. Lopez-Mata worked closely with White & Case Mexico City office, providing active support on complex Mexico-based transactions.
Until June of 2006, Mr. Lopez-Mata served as Legal Vice President of Aeromexico, the flag carrier airline of Mexico, where he was in charge of the legal aspects of the company's aviation and financial affairs.
Until June of 2004, Mr. Lopez-Mata served as a senior in-house attorney at Grupo Bimbo, the largest Mexican-owned baking company and one of the largest bakery companies in the world. Mr. Lopez-Mata was responsible for the company’s corporate governance and was involved in a wide variety of financial and commercial transactions, including derivatives, mergers and acquisitions and software licensing agreements.
Until July of 2002, Mr. Lopez-Mata acted as Deputy Legal Director at Mexico's deposit insurance entity, the Instituto para la Protección al Ahorro Bancario (IPAB). At IPAB, Mr. Lopez-Mata participated in the development and implementation of bailout procedures for major Mexican financial institutions (Grupo Financiero Serfin and BanCrecer) and a Mexican pension fund (Afore BanCrecer-Dresdner), arbitration procedures on behalf of the Mexican government, and the drafting and negotiation of credit agreements.
Mr. Lopez-Mata began his professional career at a boutique law firm in Mexico City, where he was actively involved in civil and commercial litigation and bankruptcy.
Rich Swayze most recently served as the Assistant Administrator for Policy, International Affairs, and Environment at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Prior to the FAA, Rich was the Senior Professional Staff Member for the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where he handled aviation issues related to the FAA, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Before joining the Senate, Rich worked for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) leading transportation research projects.
Director, International and Regulatory Affairs (China)
Mandy Zhou is Delta’s Director, International and Regulatory Affairs based in China. In her position, she plays a pivotal role in facilitating and strengthening relationships with all the government bodies in China.
Mandy has 23 years of global airline experience in sales, marketing, HR, finance and government affairs. Mandy has spent most of her career with Delta and also has past experience with British Airways and Canadian Airlines.
Prior to joining the aviation industry, Mandy was a business analyst for a major French oil company conducting business in Beijing and Shanghai.
Mandy holds an M.B.A from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C Canada and a B.A. from the Institute of International Relations in Beijing China. Mandy is fluent in English, French and Mandarin Chinese.
Lisa Hanna joined Delta Air Lines in 2018 having worked at the intersection of politics and communications for 20 years. Lisa has spent time on Capitol Hill, as a journalist, for influential D.C. public relations firms and trade associations, and for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Delta she was the Principal of her own firm, engage360 Public Affairs, where she counseled clients in the energy, health and transportation sectors. Lisa is a former communications director to U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), where she focused primarily on policy issues within the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Committee on Science Space & Technology. Lisa holds degrees in journalism and political science from Baylor University and an MBA from the Johns Hopkins University.
Sophie Hayashi joined Delta Air Lines in January 2021 where she holds the position of Manager, International and Regulatory Affairs. She is based in Washington, D.C. Sophie began her career in aviation as a Legal Extern at Delta while in law school. Before rejoining Delta, Sophie was a Law Clerk at the United States Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch. Most recently, Sophie was the Staff Attorney to the Office of the General Counsel at Airlines for America (A4A).
Ms. Hayashi has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Indiana University, a Master of Science in Crisis and Security Management from Leiden University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.
Dee Janovsky joined Delta Air Lines as Political Engagement Manager in 2018. She is responsible for managing the Delta Political Action Committee (PAC) and employee political engagement programs.
Prior to joining Delta, Dee held the position of Political Affairs Director at Phillips 66, where she was responsible for establishing and managing the Phillips 66 PAC, grassroots, Get Out the Vote (GOTV), and political compliance programs. Previously she worked at Raytheon Company, first as a PAC associate, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Raytheon PAC, and subsequently as a legislative analyst, where she developed and managed its grassroots programs and conducted legislative research.
Dee holds a bachelors degree in Government from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. and a master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University, Graduate School of Political Management in Washington, D.C.
Dale Lippman is the Manager Government Affairs for Delta Air Lines, having started in the airline industry with Northwest Airlines in 1996. Prior to joining Northwest, Dale had 15 years of legislative and leadership experience in both the House and Senate under U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI). As his legislative assistant in the House of Representatives, Dale was responsible for appropriations and legislative issues involving transportation, interior, education, labor and health. While serving in the Senate, Dale took on a managerial role as Akaka’s executive assistant, overseeing the day-to-day operations and overall management of the professional and administrative personnel, advising the Senator and the Administrative Assistant (the latter more commonly known as Chief of Staff today).
Ethan Gallagher joined the Delta family as a Senior Analyst supporting Delta’s lobbying and regulatory efforts, as well as DeltaPAC in 2021. Prior to joining Delta, Ethan served as a Policy Advisor under former Secretary Sonny Perdue at the United States Department of Agriculture where he managed a series of interagency rural economic development initiatives. Ethan also spent time on Capitol Hill serving former Senator David Perdue of Georgia. Originally from Peachtree City, Georgia, Ethan received his BA from the University of Georgia in International Affairs and Political Science. He will receive his MA in Public Management from the John's Hopkins University in May of 2021.
Fawn Torcisi joined Delta Air Lines in 2019 having worked in the airline industry for over 20 years. Fawn spent time at Northwest Airlines as a government affairs executive assistant, working through the merger with Delta. Prior to joining Delta’s Government Affairs Department, Fawn worked as a supervisor, overseeing congressional travel and customer service for Northwest at Washington’s Reagan National Airport. Her airline experience also includes Southwest Airlines, where she served as Station Administrator at one of Southwest’s largest hubs, Baltimore Washington International Airport. In addition to her career in the airline industry, Fawn previously worked in the hospitality industry for Hilton and Marriott, serving in the finance and accounting departments as an accounting specialist. Fawn holds a BS degree from University of Maryland, College Park in Business Management and Marketing.