The Texas Aviation Advisory Committee provides input to TxDOT on its aviation development programs and serves as its representative among aviation users. Committee members also work with members of the Texas Legislature on various aviation issues.
James Schwertner, Chairman
James Schwertner is a graduate of Texas Tech University. In 1974 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. Schwertner is President and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Land & Livestock and Chairman of the Board of Schwertner State Bank. He is an airplane and helicopter pilot and holds the Aviation World Speed Record (Piper Navajo). In 2015 he was awarded the Texas Aviator or the Year Award.
Schwertner has served as past chairman of the boards of Cattlemen’s State Bank in Austin (which he organized in 1984), the Jarrell Schwertner Water Supply Corporation and the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. He has served as advisory director of Wells Fargo Bank in Austin, president of Taylor Livestock Auction, chaired Building for the Future at Highland Park Baptist Church and the Del Valle Adopt-A-School Program. He is past director of the National Beef Board and the Capitol Area Diabetes Association. He also served on the executive committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, was president of the Texas Livestock Market Association and is currently a member of the Williamson County Water Visionary Committee.
Schwertner is presently Director of Texans for General Aviation, chairman of the Seton Hospital, Williamson Foundation Board of Trustees, member of the Board of Directors for National Business Aviation Association, and past director of the Texas Beef Council. He is a partner in the Lockhart Livestock Auction and the Mid Tex Livestock Auction in Navasota. In 2009, he was appointed to the Texas A&M Board of Regents by Governor Rick Perry.
Schwertner received the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Past honors include Man of the Year in Agriculture in Williamson County (1994) and Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture (1995). In 2005, he received the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vision Award.
Schwertner was appointed to the Aviation Advisory Committee on Aug. 27, 2015, and his term will expire Aug. 31, 2018. He resides in Austin, Texas.
Peter C. Huff, Vice Chairman
Peter C. Huff is an accomplished general aviation pilot holding a Commercial Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating. He is a graduate of Rice University with bachelor's degrees in liberal arts and engineering. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1962, he returned to Texas to build his own engineering and manufacturing company. After 36 years, he sold DYNAMCO to a New York Stock Exchange company and now serves the people in his community and in Texas.
Huff has flown into hundreds of domestic airports. He built his own plane in 1955 and has flown it to Canada, England, Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland and Portugal. Huff has been a member of the McKinney Municipal Airport Board for many years, and has also served as chairman. The board has been instrumental in gaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and TxDOT grant money as well as the City of McKinney funding which enabled McKinney Municipal Airport to lengthen its runway from 4,000 feet to 7,000 feet.
Huff was appointed to the Aviation Advisory Committee on Sept. 30, 2004, and his term will expire on Aug. 31, 2019. He resides in McKinney, Texas.
Gordon B. Richardson
Gordon B. Richardson, of Caldwell, Texas, began his career as an insurance agent, establishing a business in 1967. He has achieved Chartered Life Underwriter and Accredited Estate Planner designations as well as numerous insurance industry awards. Richardson's aviation career began in 1971 as a pilot and includes service as a member of the Seaplane Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association Warbird Community, the Commemorative Air Force and flying vintage aircraft with 3,000 hours as a pilot.
Richardson was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Aug. 29, 2002, and his term will expire Aug. 31, 2017. He resides in Caldwell, Texas.
Michael L. Collier
Michael L. Collier is a graduate of Baylor University where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a Private Pilot Certificate. Collier enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard and was eventually promoted to company commander before his retirement from the military.
He was in the apartment real estate industry for 24 years and served as president of a San Francisco-based apartment company. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Apartment Association.
Collier has flown several different World War II aircraft and holds an "All Makes and Models High Performance Piston" rating. He and a fellow pilot were awarded the contract for the Wings Over Houston Air Show, which is still held today. Collier is a member of the Lakeway Airpark Board of Directors and flies his L-19 Birddog while he awaits restoration of his Bell P-63 King Cobra.
Collier was appointed to the Aviation Advisory Committee on Oct. 29, 2009, and his term will expire on Aug. 31, 2017. He resides in Lakeway, Texas.
Michael Schnell is a 1975 graduate of Southern Methodist University and serves as chairman and CEO of First State Bank in Spearman, Texas. His public service extends to many local civic and charitable organizations including over 25 years on the Spearman Airport Board, serving as its chairman for the last ten. He is also serving in his third term on the Spearman City Council.
Schnell has been a pilot for 34 years with over 3,600 hours of flight time in over 20 different aircraft and holds commercial, multiengine, instrument and A&P ratings. He owns two aircraft and operates and maintains a third for his family business.
Schnell was appointed to the Aviation Advisory Committee on Aug. 31, 2013, and his term will expire on August 31, 2019. He resides in Spearman, Texas.
Fred Underwood served as a commissioner of the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees statewide activities of the Texas Department of Transportation. Underwood was appointed commissioner by Gov. Rick Perry on Jan. 8, 2007, and served until March 17, 2015.
Underwood is president of the Trinity Company, a cotton bale storage facility. He serves as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the Cotton Warehouse Association, where he previously served as president. He is both past vice president and past director of the National Cotton Council.
An avid aviation enthusiast, Underwood began flying in 1990. He is a commercial-rated helicopter pilot and holds a fixed-wing instrument rating. He previously served as chairman of Lubbock International Airport Board and as a board member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Underwood received a bachelor's degree in management from Texas Tech University.
In February 2017, the Texas Transportation Commission appointed Fred to serve on the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee. His term will expire on Aug. 31, 2018. He resides in Lubbock, Texas.