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Industry Advisory Board

Colonel Al Niles

Colonel Al Niles, Jr.

Board Chair

Colonel Al Niles, Jr. graduated from A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama and attended Tuskegee University where he was commissioned through the ROTC program as an Army Aviator. While obtaining his Master’s degree in Aeronautical science, he earned a Commercial Airplane and Helicopter Pilot license with the FAA. Colonel Niles is a combat veteran and Bronze Star Medal recipient with over twenty-five years of dedicated service in Army Aviation. He is a senior Army Pilot with extensive experience in Special Operations Forces aviation training, Air Traffic Control(ATC), Unmanned Aerial Systems(UAS), aircraft maintenance and flight simulation. Col Niles is devoted to giving back to his country, community and inspiring the younger generation to seek careers in STEM and Aviation.

LT COL. E.T. BROWN, III, RET.

A Birmingham native, E.T. graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Fire Protection Engineering. While working for Rust Engineering in Birmingham, he joined the 117th Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. There he flew in the RF-4C Phantom II for 13 years and the KC-135R Stratotanker for 8 years, eventually earning his Master Navigator wings. E.T. flew in numerous operations, culminating in Operation Noble Eagle / Enduring Freedom for which he received the Meritorious Service Medal. He also was navigating a 117th tanker that was flying a refueling mission over Washington, D.C. on September 12, 2001. Enroute they were informed that they were the only aircraft in the entire Southeast U.S. that was airborne. 

E.T. co-founded Micro National, Inc. and later served as president of Unitrade Systems of North America, Inc. and Norcom, Inc. He was asked to join the administration of his alma mater Indian Springs School as Director of Technology and then as Director of Admissions, serving for 13 years. He then joined Advent Episcopal School in downtown Birmingham for 12 years as Director of Technology and Director of Facilities. 

As an educator, E.T. discovered that there are few things more gratifying than lighting the fire in a student that sets them off on their life’s journey. He has always been enamored by aviation, and is honored to serve on the Advisory Board of such a school where life-long passions are going to be lit. 

Mrs. Doris K. Sewell

Doris K. Sewell is a native of Mobile, Alabama and attended Samford University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1981. She went on to earn a law degree from Cumberland School of Law, where she graduated with a joint J.D. / MBA in 1984. Doris began her legal career with the Missile Command’s Legal Office at Redstone Arsenal and subsequently moved to Birmingham, becoming In-House Counsel for Bruno’s, Inc. and later General Counsel for Just For Feet, Inc. In 2000, Mrs. Sewell became General Counsel of Pemco Aviation Group, Inc., whose successor is today known as Kaiser Aircraft Industries, Inc. She continues to serve as General Counsel of Kaiser Aircraft Industries, Inc. and, in 2016, was also named Chief Executive Officer. With over 30 years of corporate legal experience and over 20 years of corporate aviation experience, she has obtained an extensive background in military and commercial procurement, operations, teaming, contracting, sales and service negotiations, public company compliance at the state and federal levels, administrative compliance and governmental relations. Having led programs such as “Homegrown,” her company’s training program for students in Birmingham schools to reach certification as qualified aviation maintenance personnel, she has a great interest in working with, and encouraging, young people in the Birmingham area to reach their highest potential in the aviation industry in Alabama and beyond.

Larry Powell

Larry K. Powell

Larry Powell, a native of Dickinson, Alabama, attended The University of Alabama. He graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. He is currently employed at Blue Origin’s rocket engine manufacturing facility in Huntsville. His former years were spent in the automotive industry and his experience includes roles at Johnson Controls Automotive currently known as Adient, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, and Mercedes Benz U.S International. With over 12 years of experience, ranging from plant start-up, product development, and product launch, Larry has a well-established career in engineering. Larry considers it an honor to serve on the advisory board of AAAHS. He exhibits a strong passion for helping young leaders achieve their goals and succeed in life.

Buford Thomas, Jr.

Buford Thomas, Jr. is Vice President of Training at Science and Engineering Services (SES), LLC. In this role, Mr. Thomas established a world-class aviation and ground training department with specialization in helicopter aviation, which he developed and leads. He is a recognized expert in special operations aviation. Mr. Thomas joined SES after having served for over 30 years in the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of Command Sergeant Major. His extensive career as the senior-most non-commissioned officer includes having served as Command Sergeant Major at the U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center and Fort Rucker, Alabama and previously as Command Sergeant Major at the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) where he was awarded the Bronze Star for combat operations and the Legion of Merit for outstanding service. As a result of his outstanding military career, he has been inducted into the U.S. Army Aviation Hall of Fame. Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Touro University.

Julian Harden

Major Julian L. Harden

Major Julian L. Harden is a son of Birmingham, Alabama, and a graduate of Ramsey High School. He then attended Tuskegee University, where he commissioned through the Tiger Battalion into the United States Army as a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) pilot. Major Harden continued his professional studies, obtaining his master’s degree in Executive Leadership from Georgetown University. This fifteen-year combat veteran currently serves as a passenger-carrying airline pilot. Major Harden brings with him professional acumen, drone/unmanned aerial vehicle experience, and aircraft maintenance knowledge. Moreover, his insight with military aviation operations, married with his proficiency operating in the national airspace system make him a highly sought-after subject matter expert in the aviation industry. As such, Major Harden desires to provide mentorship and pathways to young aviators and aviation professionals.