About Our Team

James Hays

James Hays – President:

James and his wife Jennifer have lived in the Northern Colorado area for over 12 years. In 2003, he decided to follow a childhood dream and learn to fly at the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport (FNL) and the now-closed Fort Collins Downtown Airport (3v5).

James owns software development and professional development companies and uses aviation as a way to expand his local reach to a national level. Now, with two daughters, he’s also able to use aviation to keep his kids better connected with grandparents and other family members living at a distance.

Having not taken his first flight until he was in college and not having access to General Aviation until after college, James and his family now love the lifestyle that only aviation can provide. They have dedicated themselves to helping others fulfill dreams of flight through aviation events such as “’40s Forever”, The EAA Young Eagles, other local flying events and aviation evangelism.

Henry Shauer – Vice President:

Henry moved to Colorado to get his Doctorate Degree in Applied Physics at the University of Colorado. After working in the Semiconductor Devices Field at Philips Research Labs in New York State and in Silicon Valley he was itching to get back to Colorado to continue his passion of mountaineering and backcountry skiing. When HP began work on developing the first 64-bit single-chip microprocessor in Fort Collins he applied and that was his ticket back. 

Henry raised two sons in Fort Collins. One followed in his dad’s footsteps and is a scientist. The other had the flying bug big time from early childhood and after being a flight instructor at the Flying School, and then during the recession flying for SkyWest, he is now a Captain, Check Airman, and Sim Instructor at Spirit Airlines. 

When Henry’s heavy workload and international travel reduced his son taught him to fly which he has been doing ever since. Henry is the happy owner of a 1966 Beech Debonair which he uses to visit his sons in Texas and Georgia, and his brother, sisters, and friends that are spread out throughout the country. 


Jeneal “JR” McKinley – Secretary:

Jeneal has always been interested in aviation, though she never wanted to become a pilot.

Graduating as a grounds reservationist from Atlantic Airlines in Kansas City, MO (which closed in `73), she returned home at the height of the gas shortage, and Continental had just laid off 800 employees.

It wasn’t until she went to work for Rob Pehkonen at his appliance business that she got back into aviation. Rob was responsible for bringing the Collings Foundation to FNL. She worked on this aviation event behind the scenes until Rob’s untimely death when she took on a more prominent role. She still continues to enjoy working with the Collings Foundation and similar groups.

She joined the FNL Pilots Association as an opportunity to be around aviation.  She began her leadership role as Newsletter Editor and was elected as an officer in 2018.


Howard Abraham – Treasurer:

Retired HP Engineer/Special Projects, Married, two daughters living in the area and two granddaughters. He took flight training at Reid-Hillview airport south of San Jose, CA (1970), rented, and flew throughout California and the United States from The Flying Country Club (Reid-Hillview).

Howard began frequenting FNL airport after transferring to Colorado from California in 1972 (renter), was a partner in a 1962 C-210B (1973), got his IFR rating (1973), bought a 1974 C-210L (1995), obtained his Commercial License–IFR Rated (2001) and has been happily flying from FNL throughout. After renting a city-owned hangar for a long time, he now owns a hangar in the Fort-Love Hangar Association.

Howard was a founding father of the FNL Pilot Association in late 2004 (held the position of resident Curmudgeon) and has been active in the Association ever since. He was past Secretary and President and is now Treasurer. Howard has actively supported the Collings Foundation July activities and other activities sponsored by the Association throughout each year.


Deb Montgomery – Board Member (term ends January 2022):

I am the General Manager of the Ft Collins- Loveland JetCenter and have been employed in the aviation industry for the last 23 years.

I started working in aviation at the Dallas-Love field; working as a customer service representative at Aviall and then as an office manager for Aero Instruments. After moving home to Colorado, I have enjoyed working for the Denver JetCenter at Centennial airport for the last 14 years. I worked as the Customer Service Manager and was promoted to Manager of Human Resources and Payroll for all of the JetCenter locations, gaining 4 years of valuable human resource experience. I recently accepted the position of General Manager at the Ft Collins-Loveland JetCenter where I have been since October 2012.

I have been married for 26 years to Steve who loves aviation as well and is employed as an A&P Mechanic for Standard Aero at Centennial Airport. Additionally, I have a great passion for photography and have been afforded the opportunity to provide the JetCenters with pictures and marketing materials for the company website, correspondence and other social media needs. When I’m not taking pictures I enjoy elk hunting, camping, riding horses and spending time with my nephews.

I love the aviation industry and can’t imagine doing anything else. I look forward to getting more involved with the people and organizations at FNL and look forward to seeing this airport community grow.


Malachi O’Neill – Board Member (term ends January 2021):

Malachi is Vice-President of Business Development with Mountain Aviation. Mountain Aviation is headquartered at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC), and they manage and operate a fleet of more than 25 turbine aircraft. Mountain Aviation is one of the top 20 busiest Operators in the US. Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL) is a key to their success.

Malachi strongly believes in the correlation between the success of his clients with the successful use of their business and private aviation assets. From major corporations to small businesses to private families, he truly enjoys helping others succeed in whatever it is they are doing utilizing aviation.

Malachi and his family have lived in the Northern Colorado area since the early 1990s. He is a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI), Aircraft Dispatcher, and Multi-Engine and Instrument-Rated Commercial Pilot. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Technology from the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Minor in Meteorology. He is very active in the aviation community throughout Colorado.

Malachi’s initial aviation experience came as a hang gliding pilot and instructor near the dunes at Kitty Hawk where the Wright brothers first flew. When not aviating, he is an avid fly-fisherman and river guide, enjoying the Colorado lifestyle of being outdoors in all seasons with family and friends.


Jason Kopp – Interim Board Member (term ends January 2023):

Jason Kopp is the Chief Pilot of Blue Ocean Aviation and moved to the area with his wife, Angie, and three children in 2010. In this role, he oversaw the development and growth of a new aviation flight department and now leads a team of aviation professionals that provide consulting, management, pilot, and maintenance services.

Previously, Jason worked as a plastic injection mold maker for 5 years before acting on his life-long passion for aviation. After flight training and providing flight instruction, he was hired at ExpressJet Airlines as a First Officer for two years before upgrading to Captain his remaining four years there. He worked with the pilot mentor program at the airline, which provided guidance to new hire pilots during their first year. It was during this time he saw the importance of instilling leadership, integrity, and flight safety qualities in the next generation of pilots. He is an ATP licensed pilot with multiple type ratings and over 7,500 hours of flight time.