Shawn has been an aviation enthusiast since the age of three and flew RC planes as a kid. Soloed at age 16, Private Certificate at 17, Commercial at 18. He is a former airline pilot, current corporate pilot, and has flown many general aviation airplanes ranging from floatplanes to the Gulfstream-IV. With 10,000+ hours, 10 type ratings, ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, Comm ASEL, and ASES, he is an excellent instructor and an asset to Gulf Coast. He is Currently PIC on a LR45 under FAR part 135.
Hailing from the Valley of the Sun Matt grew up in Mesa Arizona before attending Brigham Young University – Idaho where he met his now wife and earned his degree in Business Management. After taking a one year break to work and watch kids at home, he went on to attend ATP flight school in Charlotte North Carolina where he earned his CFI CFII and MEI. Looking to move closer to family Matt joined Gulf Coast Aviation in February 2020. Anytime he’s not flying he’s hanging out with his family playing games, going to the park, and eating any good food they can come across.
Mohamad was born and raised in the countryside of southern Lebanon. He started his aviation career in 2010 at the age of 17 and graduated in 2012 with a degree in aviation from the Royal Jordanian Air Academy in Amman, Jordan. Mohamad then went back to Beirut and worked as a Safety Officer at the Aeroclub of Lebanon. He moved to New Orleans in August 2015 where he received his CFI, CFII, and MEI certificates. He joined the Gulf Coast Aviation team in May 2019 where he takes pride in his students’ progress and plays a positive role in the aviation community of New Orleans.
Rebecca moved from Lafayette, LA, where she lived for 11 years, to return to college for a Business Administration degree at University of New Orleans. She was hired as an office assistant for Gulf Coast Aviation in March 2018. She has grown to love aviation and our flight school during her time here. She now lives in Metairie while attending school at UNO. When she’s not working, she enjoys exploring, travelling, and being an avid dog lover.
Howie hails from Niagara Falls, NY though he grew up mostly in Nashville, TN. He made the trek to New Orleans to attend Naval ROTC at Tulane University and earn his commission in the Navy. After graduating in 2006 with a degree in Computer Science, he moved to Pensacola, FL to begin flight training. He earned his wings in 2008 and moved to San Diego, CA to fly the MH-60S. On that tour, he deployed twice to Iraq and Kuwait to fly MEDEVAC during both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. When his time in San Diego was complete, he moved to Lakehurst, NJ to become the Airport Manager of Maxfield Field (KNEL) in charge of all aspects of the airfield to include Line Operations, Air Traffic Control, and Ground Electronics while earning his Aviation Master of Business Administration degree from Embry Riddle. Upon completion of his time in NJ, the Navy transferred him to Okinawa, Japan. Over three years in Okinawa, Howie was responsible for military airspace throughout Asia and Australia. After his rewarding time in Okinawa, Howie decided to give civilian life a try and moved back to New Orleans to become the Airport Manager and Assistant Airport Director here at the Lakefront Airport! After a couple of years at the airport, the call of the cockpit became too strong. Howie earned his CFI and began working for Gulf Coast Aviation in July 2019 then became the General Manager in March 2020. In his free time, Howie and his wife Jacquelyne enjoy traveling the world. When they aren’t traveling, they can be seen absorbing as much New Orleans culture as possible, to include as many Tulane sporting events as time allows!
Kelvin Contreary is a native of New Orleans and an active pilot since 1981. He holds commercial single and multi-engine aircraft, rotorcraft, and LearJet type ratings. Additionally, Kelvin is a CFI, CFII and MEI and currently flies a KingAir E90 and a Robinson 44. Kelvin is also an AME, aviation medical examiner. “Teaching flying has always been a dream and it sure beats playing golf.”
Nathaniel started flying at a young age and received his Private Pilot Certificate with Gulf Coast Aviation. He completed his flight instructor ratings (CFI and CFII) at the beginning of 2017 and started working at our New Orleans location. He is currently working on his engineering degree at LSU. Going back to school for the 2017 Fall Semester, he helped us open our new Baton Rouge location in September. He also flies for Southern Seaplane for their 135 operation.
**Nathaniel was not involved in the making of this biography. Please contact him for details.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Mary was introduced to aviation at a very young age. At only 3 years old, she took her first ride in a single-engine aircraft with her brother, David Cusimano, who is one of the owners of Gulf Coast Aviation. After dappling around with many career options such as nursing and real estate, Mary is excited to have landed upon such an exciting opportunity to be the Director of Operations at Gulf Coast Aviation. She recently graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, but her passion for aviation has become her top priority. She is currently working toward her private pilot license while striving to create a flight school that runs smoothly and successfully.
Robert had the good fortune to learn about general aviation in high school when he was allowed to take a trip to Mississippi in a ‘small plane.’ At that moment he was hooked. As his career of Risk Engineer started to grow, he would take ad-hoc lessons from anyone that had a “Flight Instructor” shingle hanging up. In 2008 he realized that he had to get more astute if he was to realize his goal of becoming a pilot. After researching his options, he chose Gulf Coast Aviation based on their attention to fleet maintenance, and their teaching curriculum. Due to his belief in the school, he purchased shares of the company from some partners that were leaving New Orleans. Today, Robert is actively involved in the aviation community. He was one of the 5 founding members selected for the Cessna Pilot Schools Advisory Group.
Steve, our Chief Instructor, began working for us in 2012. He holds Chief Pilot – Single Engine Licenses and Ratings and is a CFI and CFII. Steve received his private license out of Greater Cincinnati airport in 1969 and has logged more than 5,000 hours in many different aircraft. He has flown in all aspects of aviation including charter and instruction. He is also a Lt Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol where he has served for more than thirty years. Steve recently received his Master Pilot Award from the FAA for promoting safety for more than fifty years. He is always around to give advice and guidance to our instructional team.