Dr. Wilson N. Felder

2011 Commencement Speaker

Dr. Wilson N. FelderDr. Wilson N. Felder is the Director of the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. The Center is the Nation's leading laboratory complex for engineering, research, development, test and evaluation of air transportation systems. It is known for its world-class laboratories and high fidelity aviation system test facilities. Here, the air traffic control automation, communications, navigation and surveillance systems needed to modernize the National Airspace System are tested and evaluated for deployment, and research is conducted in airport, aircraft, fire safety and aviation security. The Center also serves as host and landlord to the 177th NJ Air National Guard Fighter Wing, the Transportation Security Laboratory, a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, an international airport, and the primary training facility for the Federal Air Marshal Service, all of which work together to foster the development of future aviation systems. Previously, Dr. Felder led the FAA's Office of Technology Development, where he was responsible for field demonstration of advanced technologies including ADS-B, System Wide Information Management, and Runway Incursion Reduction concepts. He also served as the sponsor for the National Center of Excellence in Aviation Operations Research.

Prior to joining the FAA, Dr. Felder was employed by TRW, inc, where he retired, after 23 years of service, as Vice President, Aviation Services. At TRW, he led the company's engineering services business with the FAA and the aviation community. Between 1990 and 1998, he managed a variety of engineering services projects, before being named to the Aviation Services assignment. Earlier, he led an engineering Department and several Navy and Air Force system engineering projects. He was an active leader of the employee charity organization, academic fellowship program, and management training program.

An instrument rated Private Pilot, Dr. Felder has long been active in the aviation community. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and serves on the Board of the Institute as Vice President, Standards. He is a member of the Dean's Advisory Board of the Rowan University School of Engineering, the Board of the United Way of Atlantic County, the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, the Board of the New Jersey Aviation Research and Technology Park, and the Executive Board of the Jersey Shore Council, Boy Scouts of America. He is also a member of the BSA's National Advisory Committee for Aviation Exploring. He has been active in NDIA, AFCEA, GEIA and ATCA. He was a member of the FAA Administrator's Research, Engineering, and Development Advisory Committee, and is a graduate of the TRW Business Leader Program and the George Washington University School of Business Executive Development program. He is an MIT Seminar XXI Fellow. He received the Air Traffic Systems Development Director's Award in recognition for his service to the Advanced Automation System Recovery effort; and the "First to the Future" award from the FAA's Alaska Region for his work in pioneering the use of advanced avionics and surveillance systems in Alaska. He is a member of the ADS-B Team which was awarded the Collier Trophy in 2008, and was named 2008 "Manager of the Year" by the National Coalition of Hispanic Federal Aviation Employees.

Dr. Felder served for 24 years as an active and reserve Naval Officer, retiring from the active reserve with the rank of Commander (Special Duty, Intelligence), after having served as the Intelligence Officer for the Carrier Group 4 reserve unit, and as Executive Officer of Naval Air Station Keflavik RU 0166. He is a former District Commissioner, Boy Scouts of America; a former member of the Vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church, Chevy Chase parish, and a former member of the board of the West Point Parents Club of MD/DC/VA.

Dr. Felder graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Geology in 1968. He later earned MA (1973) and PhD (1978) degrees from that same institution, with a concentration in Environmental Science.

He resides in Somers Point, New Jersey, and Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife Laura. His son Will is a student at Emory Law School in Atlanta, GA; his daughter Julia is the Fund Coordinator for EMAlternatives, an international capital investment firm located in Washington, DC.