Speaker Information

Keynote Speaker: Shaesta Waiz, Founder & Pilot, Dreams Soar, Inc.

At the age of 30, Shaesta is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft. Her journey to this endeavor was no easy road. Ms Waiz was born in a refugee camp and traveled to the US in 1987 with her family to escape the Soviet-Afghan war.

She says she grew up in an underprivileged area of Richmond, California, and it wasn’t until she discovered aviation that she started thinking about going to college and having a career. “When I was a little girl I thought maybe I would go to college, but I would get married at a young age and have a family. But then I found something that I really loved and that’s flying,” she told a news conference in Kabul.

She founded a non-profit organization called Dreams Soar and wants her flight around the world to help inspire girls and young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Ms Waiz says she is the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

She also says she is the first female certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan and by the end of her challenge aims to be the youngest woman to have flown solo around the world. –BBC News 2017

Click here for a full biography of Shaesta.

Keynote Speaker: LaMar Haugaard, Director of Pilot Development, Alaska Air Group

LaMar attended the University of North Dakota following graduation from Willmar Senior High School in Willmar, Minnesota.  While a student at UND, LaMar was Assistant Chief Pilot for Northern Airways, an FBO started by John Odegard and based in Grand Forks.

Following graduation from UND in 1985, LaMar and his wife Joan headed west to Portland, Oregon to begin a new career with upstart airline Horizon Air.  LaMar had been hired as an SA-227 First Officer.  He continued flying the Metroliner, upgrading to Captain after 14 months, and immediately moving into the Check Airman program for that aircraft.

In 1988, Captain Haugaard was brought into the Horizon Air Flight Operation management team as an Assistant Chief Pilot, a position he held for nine years.  Along the way he was type rated in the Dornier 328 and flew it for all four years the aircraft type was in the company fleet.  He became Turboprop Chief Pilot in 1996; and System Chief Pilot in 2000. In 2016 he stepped down after serving 20 years as Chief Pilot and is currently the Director of Pilot Development. Captain Haugaard is currently qualified on the Bombardier Q400, and will be attending E-175 school in April 2018.

LaMar and his wife Joan reside in Vancouver, Washington. They have two grown children, Nathan and Anne.  When not working at Horizon Air, LaMar enjoys building and flying high-powered rockets in the desert of Central Oregon.  His highest flight to date is slightly over 8000 feet.

Additional Speakers:

Chad Hermansen – Pilot with Pacific Aviation Northwest

Brett Hopper, Megan MacDonald – Pilots with Dutch Bros

Caleb LaPlante, Daniella Bivens – Southern Oregon Air Academy

Scott Beveridge – Southern Oregon ESD

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