Mel Beale (President)
Mel, and his wife, Ann, have been residents and homeowners in Newport Beach’s Back Bay area since 1986. Mel, currently a business consultant for manufacturers in California, previously worked in commercial aviation as a past Director of Flight Operations System products for a business processing outsourcing firm. In this role, he led a department which supplied flight planning, weight and balance, runway analysis & aircraft engineering service products, to a customer base of over 80 airlines serving 150+ airports around the world.  Mel was a lead solution architect for state of the art airline command and control centers for major passenger and cargo operators in the US and Europe, and, held membership on committees of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Airline Dispatchers Federation (ADF). In his role as a management consultant, clients included large aerospace manufacturers of both aircraft and engines and manufacturers of high speed rail

Janet Winter (Treasurer)
Janet Winter, a native Southern Californian, has been a Newport Beach resident since 1969.  She is a retired Human Resources manager, having spent many years working for aerospace / electronic manufacturing organizations, including TRW, Collins Radio/Rockwell, and Microdata/McDonnell Douglas.  Since retiring, she has devoted time to various non-profit organizations as well as working with her husband managing their rental properties.
Barbara E. Lichman (Executive Counsel)
Barbara E. Lichman, Ph.D.  has an extensive and successful record representing airports, municipalities, developers, and other public and private clients in litigation and administrative proceedings under Federal Aviation statutes such as the Airline Deregulation Act and Airport Noise and Capacity Act; the California Public Utilities Code governing land use in airport environs (Aeronautics Act); and federal and state environmental statutes including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Clean Air Act, the Federal Clean Water Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, and the California Coastal Act. Dr. Lichman earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California School of Urban and Regional Planning.

Dr. Lichman’s experience is both national and international. As a Registered Federal Lobbyist, Dr. Lichman successfully lobbied and testified before Congress on behalf of aircraft owners and operators on issues including the grant of investment tax credits for noise reduction of aircraft engines. She also served as counsel to Air AAA Group, a consortium of international architectural, engineering and construction companies in their airport development activities at Pudong Airport, Shanghai, China. Dr. Lichman served as managing partner of Chevalier, Allen & Lichman, LLP, for sixteen years.
Tony Khoury (past AWG President 2009-2016)
Tony Khoury resides in Newport Beach and has been working with International Business for the past 35 years with offices in Orange  County, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, India and the Middle East and with comprehensive experience in international trade, business  management, finance and global negotiations. For the past 20 years, he served his community as an active member of the Airport  Working Group working to protect Orange County from the impacts of an expanded JWA, taking part in the El Toro Airport campaign and serving as President. He also served for more than 10years as a member of the Dover Shores Community Association Board of Directors serving in various capacities including President, VP, and Chairman of various committees. He is a member of the Senatorial Inner Circle and the American Field Service Scholarship Selection Committee Awards for Excellence.

Tom Naughton (ex officio officer)
Tom’s extensive career has included many core aviation industry roles which serve the AWG board well. Highlights include:
  • Military ”U.S. Navy Carrier Pilot
  • Graduate Georgia Institute of Technology-- Aeronautical Engineering
  • Retired from McDonnell Douglas in 1989 after 38 years
  • Prior Positions: Program Manager for American Airlines MD-80 aircraft
  • Senior Project Engineer for American Airlines DC-10’s
  • Chief DC-10 Program Engineer in charge of FAA certification
  • Program Manger of DC-10 Civilian Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF)
  • Project Engineer for all DC-10 Flight Simulation worldwide
  • At the request of FAA, in charge of team to train People
  • Republic of China (PRC) Engineering personnel on FAA
  • Aircraft certification and operational requirements.
  • Manager of Systems Engineering for Delta Launch Vehicle
  • Flight Test Engineer for Navy and Air Force aircraft
  • Consultant to McDonnell Douglas for 2 years following retirement
  • Airport Land Use Commissioner for Orange County for 2 Years
  • President of Airport Working Group of Orange County from 1997 to 2008
Esther Fine
A resident of Newport Beach since 1960, Esther became involved as a volunteer and activist in the community during the Orange County Airport Variance Hearings in the mid 1970’s. She has been a member on the Board of Directors of the Airport Working Group since the organization’s inception in 1982 to the present and has served as its secretary during the AWG’s formative years.
Majoring in business and real estate, Esther attended UCLA, Orange Coast College and Coastline Community College as an honor student.  In 1988 she began selling real estate and over the years she has established a successful career as a Realtor, currently with Surterre Properties, Inc. in Newport Beach.

Esther served on the Orange Coast Association of Realtors Political Affairs Committee for several years and currently, she not only runs an active business assisting her clients with all of their real estate needs, but she also serves as secretary on the Board of Directors of the Dover Shores Homeowners’ Association.

Craig Paige (Vice President)
Craig lives on Balboa Island and is a retired Civil Engineer and land development consultant. He is a past president of the Balboa Island Improvement Association and the Balboa Island Museum. Craig served on the Newport Beach Aviation advisory committee from 2003 to 2015 during both Settlement Agreement extensions.

W. Dave Cook
Mr. Cook has been a Newport Beach resident for over 50 years, living in Eastbluff alongside the departure path of John Wayne Airport. He learned to fly at Orange County Airport (now JWA) and later flew in and out of JWA as a commercial pilot. Trained as an electrical engineer, Mr. Cook initially worked in the aerospace industry holding various program management positions. He later transitioned to the airlines, flying as a pilot for Continental (now merged with United) and was actively involved in the pilot training departments for 28 years. After retiring, Mr. Cook turned his interests to local airport operations, becoming involved in organizations dedicated to mitigating the aircraft noise from John Wayne Airport. He served on the Newport Beach Aviation Committee for three years and then joined the board of AWG. Mr. Cook’s background combines the unique viewpoint of a long-time resident, with a technical understanding of flight operations and a familiarity of airline operating procedures.
Jane Spitz
Jane desired to support the efforts of the AWG and joined the Board in late 2019.  Jane was motivated to join because of her deep interest in working to reduce both the noise and pollution impacts on the local community residents generated by the airport aircraft operations. Jane, her husband and three daughters have been residents of Newport Beach for 7 years and live in an area subject to the impact of John Wayne Airport air traffic.  She works as an insurance broker and risk manager with Dominion Risk Management, specializing in Personal Lines Insurance.  Jane has been a community volunteer for 20 years. 
William Coholan III
William was born and raised in Westcliff /Dover Shores and has been living under the flight path his entire life. His passion for aviation started at an early age. One of his desires, is to get his jet operators license. His love for the preforming arts led him to New York City, where he took a job traveling the world with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. After many years of travel, he settled down in NYC to work on Broadway and in Television. The effects of increased air traffic at JWA, and the loss of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, led him to the AWG. His desire is to make a difference in the quality of life for the future of the neighborhood he loves.

Airport Working Group of Orange County, Inc.  •  1048 Irvine Avenue, PMB 467  •  Newport Beach, CA 92660