‘Travel is a great way to stay connected with a grown-up family’

Glyn Hughes, the first Director General of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), is putting more emphasis on just how big a sustainable aviation and air cargo industries have on the planet now struggling to fight off climate change.

With about 100,000 planes flying every day across continents, aviation has huge environmental impact on the planet.

Hughes, who works from his home in Switzerland, shares he uses public transport where possible, as a conscious effort to support a sustainable planet.

“I have changed aspects of my diet and travel emissions are offset, work and private travel.  Professionally, TIACA is building a strong portfolio of activities to support the industry on its sustainability journey. We hold an annual survey to assess the whole supply chain, we produce an insights report, we have produced an industry road map, which also looks at the way we support the United Nations sustainable development goals, we hold annual Sustainability awards and recently launched the BlueSky program, very important area of activity for us,” he said.

At TIACA, he strongly promotes sustainability, saying, “Every daythere are new challenges and new opportunities. Air cargo serves the global economy so any change in patterns of consumption, production, supply chains, regulations, technology innovation etc impacts this industry.  So, we must always evolve in response.”

This, he has been doing for almost four decades now, having started early in the air cargo sector. Born in Crawley, a town in the UK very near Gatwick airport, Hughes started temporary work for a freight forwarder soon after leaving school. Then worked for British Caledonian, an airline which sadly disappeared back in the 1980s.

It’s been a long journey with too many peaks. “I would say the highest points have been related to the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to learn from, to work with and build friendships for life.  I have been very fortunate to work with many young people and help encourage them along their chosen career path which I find very rewarding.  I was also part of the team at IATA which developed the CASS Link tool which is still in use today, over 20 years later,” said Hughes.

Hughes took over as the Director General of TIACA when the pandemic was at its peak and the challenges were many, issues from PPE movements to staff restrictions, to crew operational challenges to safe movement of vaccine, to moving crucial commodities, among other tasks. TIACA also forged alliances with Pharma.Aero, UNICEF and the COVAX program.

Amidst all these activities getting the right work / life balance is always difficult.

“During my career there were times when itwasn’t well balanced but now as we all love holidays and exploring new places, travel is a great way to stay connected with a grown-up family.  As I work remotely now, I can also be more flexible where that remote location is so that also helps to stay connected.  When we are together, there is usually lots of discussions, lots of laughter, lots of games.  We enjoy escape rooms and quizzes and during the covid restrictions we had many zoom quizzes and family nights,” Hughes shared.

Hughes lives in Switzerland and loves outdoor activities, enjoying cycling downhill, less enjoyable on the way back. “I also enjoy traveling and with my kids living in different countries I like to visit them as often as possible.  Although to quote them “not too often, please!” His favourite destination is Iceland as one can experience all four seasons in a single day.

Family, cycling, running & reading for this father of four CFO

Almost a year into US-based ACL Airshop as its Chief Financial Officer, James W. Harris is already at home, despite having spent most of his working life in the energy services sector, simply because the skills he has developed are transferrable to any business. That’s called agility, flexibility and adaptability. There is another aviation angle to it too, his father was a career US Navy pilot.

As a career-minded professional, Harris is a quick learner, with significant experience with leasing businesses that are embedded in a broader service offering. “I have found my skill set to be useful for ACL Airshop’s business, helping the commercial team structure attractive long-term contracts that are beneficial for our customers and for ACL.”

In a career spanning over three decades, many in the energy sector, Harris who played key role in several acquisitions in his earlier avatar, believes “any successful and thriving organization should achieve admirable growth trajectories by exploiting organic opportunities available to it, like ACL Airshop has been doing throughout its 30-year history.

Any inorganic growth through acquisitions should complement the base business and serve to make the combined enterprise stronger and more defensible, not just bigger. It does feel good to be part of a business that is increasing its span of operations, providing meaningful growth opportunities for its employees, and constantly enhancing the service offering to its customers. I feel at home in that regard at ACL Airshop. The team at ACL Airshop has welcomed me and enabled me to get involved in the business in meaningful ways, and that is important to me. The entire organizational culture is built around being highly responsive to customer requirements with creative solutions.”

Life is not all about work, right? Harris has a nice work-life balance, spending time with his family – wife and four children with the youngest graduating from school this year – especially hiking and being on the beautiful lakes in South Carolina.

And he is extremely proud of his children, describing them as “nice human beings and highly successful in their respective fields.”

Harris also enjoys reading and one book ‘Younger Next Year’ keeps guiding him on how to enhance life experiences through relationships and fitness.

“I enjoy running and cycling, and I have participated in several fundraising events over the years around those activities,” he shared. He participated in Pursuit to help awareness of Americans with intellectual and development disabilities and to provide critical funds for the Center in Houston, Texas.

“For this specific event, a friend was riding his bicycle from the west coast to the east coast of the United States with sponsors to raise awareness and money for this important group, and I joined him and a small group for the leg from Minneapolis to Chicago, about 500 miles of challenging terrain. I find it fulfilling to help any worthy cause while doing something fun with people that I respect.”

Harris knows Japanese having lived in and around the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido. He admires the Japanese for their discipline, organisational skills and the pride they take in their long history.

Pioneer of the travel & tourism industry in the GCC, CEO – Al Naboodah Travel

Nasir Jamal Khan, CEO of Al Naboodah Travel and Tourism, has been in the travel and tourism industry for over 35 years. He has spent nearly 20 of those years in Saudi Arabia and is recognised as one of the most influential industry players in the region due to his vast knowledge and experience in both the KSA and the UAE markets. Khan has been instrumental in the growth and development of Al Naboodah Travel and Tourism, where under his leadership, the company has become one of the leading travel and tourism providers in the region.

“I have an extensive background in the travel, tourism and aviation industries. I am truly passionate about travel, having lived and worked in three countries and being fluent in four languages. I consider myself a lifelong learner and trainer with leadership skills. I have earned multiple awards and certifications during my time as a leader. In 2004, I joined Al Naboodah Travel & Tourism, part of the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, one of the UAE’s most renowned and innovative groups.”

Khan continues, “I spent over 20 years in Saudi Arabia prior to joining Al Naboodah Travel, during which I contributed to the development of the nation’s travel and trade sectors as the Regional Manager for the Saudi Tourist and Travel Bureau, one of the most significant travel companies in the region. I also gathered valuable insights into the airline industry while working as the Area Manager for Gulf Air for more than a decade. However, the most crucial part of my journey was starting my career with American Express, which ignited my passion for travel and tourism.”

‘Outside of work, I enjoy collecting watches, driving cars and exploring new tourist destinations’.


working as the Area Manager for Gulf Air for more than a decade. However, the most crucial part of my journey was starting my career with American Express, which ignited my passion for travel and tourism.”

Working is one of Nasir’s hobbies which he continues to enjoy.

“I don’t even want to think about what I’m going to do if I stop working. Outside of work, I enjoy collecting watches, driving cars and exploring new tourist destinations.”

Nasir understands that time outside of work is precious, so he tries to spend as much time as possible with his wife and children.

“We generally converse about various topics, watch documentaries or films, go on drives and have a good time when we’re together. Time spent with family is always calming and provides me with the motivation to continue doing well in what I excel at.”

For Nasir, his father has been a great influence in his life.

“He taught me to follow the virtues of honesty, kindness, patience and hard work. I believe we should always be grateful to God for his blessings. My father’s example has helped me to become the person I am today. I am grateful for all that he has done for me,” he shared.

When asked if he wasn’t an aviation guy, what profession he would have chosen instead, Nasir replied, “It’s hard to say what I would have done if I hadn’t ended up in aviation. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, and it’s been such a big part of my life for so long that it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. But if I had to choose something, I would probably either be a doctor or some kind of medical specialist. I was a science student in college and my family really wanted me to be a doctor, but they could see how much I loved to travel and they allowed me to pursue my dream. I’m grateful for that.”

Nasir remains steadfastly optimistic on the growth of the travel industry.

“Together with my team, we work to contribute to the success and growth of the travel and aviation industries in 2022. We are committed to digitally transforming the business and are planning to expand globally. I believe that the travel industry has a lot of potential for growth, and I am excited to be a part of its success.”

Yoga and playing board games for this CAE Partnership Leader

Stella-Marissa Hughes is CAE’s Advanced Air Mobility Strategy, Business Development & Partnerships Leader, with vast experience in the aerospace and defense industry, including strategy, business development, and program management roles.

She is responsible for leading the development and execution of the Montreal-based CAE’s advanced air mobility strategy, as well as identifying and developing new business opportunities and partnerships.

“I am the daughter of a diplomat and grew up in various locations, which sparked my love of travel. I eventually went to McGill University in Montreal for my B.Eng and M.Eng. I made the shift from aerospace engineering to R&D strategy when I started at CAE in 2015, and later transitioned into business strategy as part of the Business Development group within our Civil business unit. After working on organic and inorganic growth projects for our training and simulation products business, I took on a new role that was primarily dedicated to working with start-ups to accelerate CAE’s innovation, either through collaboration or investment. Through that work, I became very interested in Advanced Air Mobility, which led me to launching a dedicated team that is focused on this emerging form of aviation.

“We have now become a cross functional team of nearly 50 individuals who are creating new products for this area, constructing a future training program, working with regulators and forming partnerships with some of the top OEMs such as Joby, Beta Technologies, Volocopter, Vertical Aerospace and Jaunt,” Stella shared.

Stella takes pleasure in spending time with her friends playing board games. Even in her leisure time, she enjoys thinking about strategy and how to work collaboratively with others.

“I’m a yoga enthusiast, so I love to be able to shake off the day with an hour of yoga. Preferably in my garden (Montreal weather permitting). I find that yoga helps me to clear my mind and connect with my body, and it’s a great way to de-stress. I’ve been practicing yoga for several years now, and I always feel better after a session.”

Stella’s favorite quote is from Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” which always stuck with me. It’s important to treat the people around with empathy and respect. I try to live by that and to excite and energize the people around me.”

Stella looks up to her partner, saying, “My partner is my inspiration. He founded a robotics company five years ago, and being on the journey with him as he has grown a medtech company into productization and profitability stokes my own drive. Watching him lead a team and foster a sense of community has shaped my leadership style. I have seen firsthand how his innovative thinking and dedication to his work has led to success, and I am eager to follow his example. He is my motivation to continue learning and expanding my own skills so that I can one day reach the same level of success.”

Currently, Stella works with startups that are working to transform the way that people and businesses operate.

“It’s energizing and I feel like I learn something new every day. If I was not working in aviation, I would probably be supporting business development of an engineering tech start up. I would find it rewarding to watch a business grow from the very early stages and know that I’m making an impact to a new industry,” she said

Stella expects the remaining 2022 and upcoming years to be exciting for her.

“As the Partnership Leader for CAE, I am excited about the potential for the AAM industry in the coming years. We have many partners who are currently in critical phases of their flight test programs, and it is immensely gratifying to have our engineers and training specialists working alongside them as they move closer to certifying their vehicles. I believe that the next few years will be immensely successful for the AAM industry, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Cooking and outdoor activities for this DFW executive

As the Executive Vice President of Global Strategy and Development at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, John Ackerman leads the airport’s efforts to improve its global profile. In this role, he oversees the airport’s Airline Relations, Cargo, Research and Analytics, and Government Relations functions.

Ackerman who joined DFW in January 2015 leads the company’s efforts to raise its global profile through international air service and business development. He plays a key role in developing the Airport’s strategic plan, which focuses on being the premier gateway between Asia and Latin America for both passengers and cargo.

Before joining DFW airport, Ackerman worked as the Chief Commercial Officer at Denver International Airport, was a pilot and executive at United Airlines, and was a Senior Director of Product Management at Standard & Poor’s.

“I have been an aviation professional for virtually my entire career, with a roughly equal split between military aviation, airlines, and airports.While I started as a pilot, I found that combining my love of flying with the business of airports and airlines is where my true passion lies. I enjoy building things- teams, businesses, and strategies,” he tells Air Cargo Update.

His favorite pastimes include any outdoor activities.

“I like almost any outdoor activitydistance running and stand up paddleboarding as oen as possible, hiking and climbing in the mountains of Colorado whenever I can get away. I am also passionate about animals, and I am founate to serve on the board of two nonprofit organizations dedicated to
helping animals,” he shared.

Ackerman adores cooking because it grants him both freedom and creativity. Not to mention, with cooking comes eating—and who doesn’t love that?

Ackerman’s favorite quote is from American celebrity chef, author and travel documentarian Anthony Michael Bourdain.

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

Bourdain’s inquisitiveness regarding various places and people he visited continue to inspire Ackerman to explore new opportunities. “I thoroughly enjoy learning and trying new things – when I travel, I return with an abundance of new friends, experiences, flavors and memories.”

If Ackerman wasn’t an aviation professional, he would have taken up the role as a banker.

“I would likely have pursued a career in banking if I had not discovered my passion for aviation. The beauty of the aviation industry is the vast array of potential positions – from airlines and airports to manufacturers and finance, there is a role to fit any interests and skillset.”

Ackerman eagerly anticipates being able to travel freely again, reconnecting with business colleagues globally and exploring new places, and having novel experiences.

How this IBS executive spends his leisure time: Netflix and Books

Ashok Rajan

Senior Vice President, IBS Software

Ashok Rajan is a senior vice president at IBS Software which offers SaaS solutions for airline operations, crew operations, airline passenger services, loyalty programs, air-cargo management, and MRO.

With over 20 years of experience in conceptualizing and developing products for the travel and transportation industry, Ashok is now responsible for the flagship iCargo product line. He is committed to building and executing a successful strategy for the continued growth of the company.

“I’ve been involved in the tech industry for my entire professional life, and I like to think of myself as a freight technologist. I have a background in computer engineering, and I’ve done everything from coding to design to implementation. Now I’m running the business, and my mantra is to build and support your team and watch the magic happen,” Rajan tells Air Cargo Update.

Rajan is a huge fan of sports, “even though I’m not particularly good at any of them. I love following events, records and sportspeople”.

After a long day of work, Rajan relaxes by watching Netflix on television with his feet up. He has a remote control in one hand and a book in the other, enjoying some well-deserved leisure time.

Rajan’s favorite quote is in Hindi but loosely translates to “Raise yourself to such levels of excellence that when the almighty writes your destiny, he asks you – ‘Son what is your heart’s desire?’

“I look up to a number of leaders in business, sport or politics who believe that investing into teams and people will give you outcomes and success and not the other way round.

“If I weren’t into aviation, I probably would have tried a hand at sports journalism”.

Rajan sees 2022 as a year of opportunity, when the world will start to rebound from the challenges of the past year.

“I believe the airline industry will begin to return to normalcy, and the air freight industry will build on the progress it has made in recent months. I am hopeful that digital technology will play a key role in this new chapter,” he concludes.

Triathlon and DIY home projects for this Hermes CEO

Founded in 2002, Hermes Logistics Technologies has developed cargo management systems for airlines and air cargo handlers which find its bespoke solutions and systems to be among the most versatile and sophisticated, streamlining ground handling processes and maximizing profits while reducing handling errors through inbuilt best practices.

The company works with a wide range of other companies, from smaller cargo handlers to large airlines all over the world. It counts Etihad, PCF, FCS, Menzies and PACTL, among its customers.

Yuval Baruch (55), is the CEO of Hermes Logistics Technologies. Israel is his homeland, but he has spent considerable time in the UK, the US and Italy. Baruch is married with two sons (aged 26 & 23) and a daughter (22).

“Academically I have a Bachelor’s degree in business from the College of Academic Studies in Tel Aviv and a Master’s degree in business from Stanford Graduate School of Business in California,” Baruch tells Air Cargo Update.

“My main hobby is triathlon which takes up a large amount of my limited free time. I do Ironman competitions and training that starts at 4:30am to be completed before work and between 2-4 hours training on weekends. I also enjoy doing DIY projects around my house. Currently, I am in the process of building an outdoor kitchen with a barbecue in my backyard.”

Last year, Baruch spent four days cycling the length of Israel with his triathlon club, MyWay. The group made of around 80 cyclists covered an impressive 630 kilometers, cycling for an average of 5.5 hours per day in sweltering heats of up to 35 degrees Celsius. The cyclists also climbed a total of about 6,400 meters on their bikes during the tour.

“It’s boring to do the same things all the time, so we look for other things to do,” Baruch shared on Hermes website. “The cycling tour was a really good strength-building exercise and good preparation for longer cycling competitions, like Ironman, which is 180 kilometres in a day.”

Baruch likes to unwind after a long day by listening to music and watching Netflix.

His favorite quote is about AUTHENTICITY by Michal Jordan: “Authenticity is about being true to who you are, even when everyone around you wants you to be someone else.”

He looks up to professional athletes due to their drive, commitment, perseverance and winner nature.

“I also look up to my wife for her huge heart and emotional capabilities,” he shared.

When asked what his profession would be if he weren’t an aviation expert, Baruch replied that he would love to compete in some motor sport.

Baruch’s expectation for 2022 are, “Professionally, I would like to have further firmed the growth and restructuring of HLT and I would like to complete one more Ironman competition.”

Tennis, Hiking, Reading, Spirituality & Mindfulness for this WFS SVP

Born and raised in India, Mohammed Esa has been working for the last 30 years in many emerging markets, in global leadership, commercial and operational roles in the transportation and logistics industries.

“I have spent the last 18 years at Agility, living in Hong Kong, Dubai & finally settled down in Basel, Switzerland. In addition to that, I also spent 13 years at Emirates Airline, in various roles of Finance, Operations & BD,” Esa shared.

Esa’s favorite quote is from anything by ‘Rumi’ whose quotes transcend time and make you reflect. He also looks up to humble leaders like Mahatma Gandhi.

“I find that I am most in tune with my spirituality when I am doing an activity like playing tennis, hiking, reading or participating in mindfulness. Mental clarity, and a sense of calm is what I find most relaxing. I tend to gravitate towards activities that are calming in nature, and with meditation being incorporated into my weekly routine, I am more grounded and present in my everyday life.

“On weekends, I am usually reading 2 books simultaneously. I read to unwind at the end of a long day, spend time outdoors getting in a walk and some fresh air and occasionally cook as well. The evenings are also to catch up with the kids, hear their stories of the day and learn more about the world from them. They are an amazing source of knowledge,” Esa tells Air Cargo Update.

Esa who holds an MBA degree from Bradford University, UK. He was appointed this year as Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) Senior Vice President, Group Commercial Business Development & Strategy.

Esa, as he’s known to friends and colleagues, have spent the last 18 years at Agility Logistics, most recently as SVP Global Business Development & Global Lead Digital Customer Solutions. In this role, he was responsible for shaping and executing Agility’s commercial strategy, building long-term customer relationships across various industry sectors, and overseeing the deployment of new and emerging technology solutions.

At WFS, Esa’s mission is to develop and oversee the implementation of WFS’ commercial development strategies to ensure a fully integrated commercial approach to drive future growth. He will also help to identify and develop new lines of business and focus on the development of digital solutions which support WFS’ customer experience and organic growth.

Esa notes that if he weren’t an aviation guy he would probably have ended up as a sports commentator.

“Being a sports fan and an ardent follower of tennis & cricket, I would have probably ended up being a commentator or involved somehow in the operational running of one of these sports through youth academies, sports councils, etc.”


Scuba diving and spending time with family for this CEVA’s executive

Thorsten Pook’s career started as a logistics apprentice, which began in Germany. In 1995, he began his international career in Hong Kong as a trainee. He gained more international experience in India, Singapore, Qatar, Egypt, Turkey and since 2016, now resides in the UAE.

“Whatever little time left when working in the logistics industry is spend with the family. I enjoy scuba diving with my daughters and I recently also fulfilled a dream of mine in owning a classic car,” he told Air Cargo Update.

Pook loves to unwind by going for a walk with his dog or go on a long drive.

His favorite quote is by the late American business magnate, industrial designer, media proprietor and investor Steve Jobs, who was also the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life,” (Steve Jobs).

Referring to his earlier statement from his favorite quote, he referred ‘connecting the dots’ as “I am happy to have chosen the logistic industry. There were other plans of becoming a Brewmaster”.

Looking forward to 2022, Pook stated, “I am always positive that 2022 will bring many good things, while we have to be ready to face the challenges that might come along our way. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to be agile and flexible to quickly adjust to new situations. It is important that we always remember that we are a large global community and do not forget the key foundations of our work; bringing together different people in different parts of the world”.

Pook is married and has two daughters.cc

Biking, reading & computer gaming for this global marketing executive from Peli BioThermal

With more than 25 years of marketing experience on his career portfolio, US Coast Guard veteran Adam Tetz joined Peli BioThermal seven years ago.

The US-based Peli BioThermal has the widest range of temperature-controlled packaging and service solutions for the global life sciences industry and Adam’s job is to tell its story, create its brand identity, product launch and communication strategy for its increasing markets worldwide.

“This is the first time I’m leading a marketing department so it has been challenging and fulfilling in many ways. I have previously been a product manager but being a department head has been a good professional achievement for me and it’s enjoyable,” Adam told Air Cargo Update.

“I have managed people before in previous roles but my current position is much more in-depth, dealing with legal teams on trademarks and all the classic marketing elements, including website development and managing public relations,” added Adam who has two adult daughters and lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota in the US.

Adam is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. He has studied at the University of Minnesota and completed his BA in Advertising and MBA in Marketing at the University of Saint Thomas.

He spends his free time, biking around Minnesota and elsewhere in the US, even during extremely cold weather conditions.
“I bike year-round, including when there is ice and snow on the ground and I have special bike which has studs on its specialized tires. I enjoy cycling, reading and computer gaming, which isn’t surprising since I have a background in software. I have a list of World War Two American warships that I have been travelling to visit across the US and so far, I have made it through all of the Iowa class battleships and most of the aircraft carriers.

“I don’t have a deadline for visiting all of these vessels. On last year’s East Coast trip, I took a combination of a flight, train and car trip to see four of the vessels. I made the trip with my fiancé so it was a combination of vacation and effort to go and see the ships. There are around 50 on my list and so far, I have visited about a third of them.

“I am a big PC gamer and currently I am playing a World War Two strategy game”.

Adam loves to unwind by cooking steaks on his grill and having martini, while listening to Frank Sinatra.

The marketing executive’s favorite quote is from earlier in his career by his previous boss, “We need to make our mistakes faster”—which he believes is a widely spread quote within the business community.

Adam’s favorite poem is ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ by Dylan Thomas.

“I have a metaphor for his poem as a tattoo on my left arm. Another poignant quote, which I have on display in my office, which I discovered when my eldest daughter was born, is by William Shakespeare – “Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate. That time will come and take my love away. This thought is as a death, which cannot choose. But, weep to have that which it fears to lose.”