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Board of Directors
President, Founder and Chief Pilot
Ted was born in New York City and has always been an animal lover, having had a variety of pets ranging from goldfish to cockatiels, snails to rabbits, and gerbils. Ted and Laurie now have a Rottweiler, an Akita, and an African Grey parrot – all rescues, of course! Ted started out in animal rescue volunteering at his local animal shelter working on rehabilitation of dogs that had come in, and after he started flying helped as a volunteer pilot flying rescue animals to new homes. Seeing a way to expand on the basic principle of aviation-based animal rescue, Ted founded Cloud Nine Rescue Flights as a way to transport more animals more efficiently and more reliably over longer distances. Ted’s professional background includes being an engineer in the aviation industry and professional pilot.
Chief Operating Officer, Secretary
Laurie grew up in rural Nebraska surrounded by pets from cats and dogs to fish and birds. Laurie has been a professional pilot for 15 years having experience as a Chief Pilot for a private airplane charter operation and extensive experience as an aircraft instructor and check pilot. Her most recent job was operating large helicopters in search and rescue operations in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of Mexico. Currently she works from home as a consultant on aircraft recurrent training programs which provides a very flexible work schedule to allow her to devote a full-time schedule to Cloud Nine. Laurie has been instrumental in obtaining donations of aircraft parts and fuel required for transports and she heads up all fundraising efforts and grant writing for the organization.
Robert is Cloud Nine’s newest board member. He began riding along on Cloud Nine missions in 2012, and officially assumed his board position October 1, 2012. Though this is his first time in a leadership role, he has been extremely successful at donor relations. Afterall, who doesn’t love a baby, and especially a baby who has rescued puppies and kittens?
Melis Heerens has been involved in the many financial aspects of the real estate industry, through experience from negotiating lease terms between landlords and clients, negotiating sales terms, and reviewing clients’ financials for lease packages and board packages. Melis has also been running his own real estate company, HEERENS HOF LLC, since 2008. Duties ranging from daily operations to corporate taxes. Melis has two cats and also enjoys snowboarding and motorcycling.
Stephen H. Bryan, Ph.D.
Aside from being a life long animal lover and dedicated human for his two dogs, Stephen Bryan is a professor of accounting with many years of experience designing curricula, teaching, and consulting, both domestically and internationally. He is author of the text, Fundamental Financial Accounting and Analysis, which has been used extensively in executive coaching programs, as well as in new-hire training programs in an array of industries. He additionally has decades of background in the business world, and has a firm understanding of how to run a business in order to ensure its success.
All Cloud Nine Board Members are volunteers and receive no compensation.