Director Gundersern
Erik Gundersen,

Erik Gundersen has always had a passion for aviation since he was a small child. With his grandparents living in Norway, Erik would travel there many summers via the Airlines with his face against the airport and airplane window watching the airplanes takeoff and land. He knew he would be a pilot once he was older. Erik attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University(ERAU) in Prescott, AZ for his Bachelors degree and complete flight training. He obtained all his ratings at ERAU from Solo to his Multi-Engine Commercial Instrument. Graduating in 2004, Erik then went to work for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Delta Connection. After only a year Erik Left the airlines due to Low pay and better opportunities. After a break from flying while obtaining his MBA, growing the Family Business and starting a family, Erik started flying regularly again in 2013. After joining COPA and Renting a SR22 for 6 months, Erik Purchased his first and current Airplane, a 2003 SR22 G1 N609AE in June of 2016. In the 2 years of ownership Erik has accumulated over 350 hours on his Cirrus for both Business and pleasure. Erik is focused on spreading his passion for aviation and aviation safety.

Joining COPA is 2013, Erik has been active on the forums, especially with regards to G1 - G3 air-frame issues, upgrades and avionics. His current positions on your Board of Directors include Vice President, and Migration Chair.

In “Real Life” Erik is a father of 2 Girls, Married to his best friend Danielle since 2009, co-owns and operates the family manufacturing business Ivar's Display in Ontario, California and Shelby, North Carolina. With his Family, Erik lives outside of Los Angeles in Chino Hills, CA and bases his plane at Chino Airport (KCNO).

Erik is currently working on obtaining his CFI so he can continue to spread his passion for aviation to the next generation of pilots.

Director Sellers
Mitchel Sellers,
Vice President

Mitchel Sellers has had a love of general aviation and finally started to realize his dream of flying in early 2014. In just a few short years he fell in love with flying and continued growing his experience. He bought his first airplane, a 1968 Mooney M20C in 2014 and moved into the Cirrus world in 2016, upgraded to a G5 Cirrus in 2018, and a G6 Turbo in 2023. In this time Mitchel has taken his passion for education/training to the skies and become a CFII/CFI focusing on helping students learn with practical instructional concepts to be able to safely leverage their aircraft.

Ever since joining COPA prior to buying his first Cirrus he has been impressed with the organization and excited to use his professional skills to help improve COPA. In his professional life, Mitchel is Software Architect and the CEO of IowaComputerGurus, Inc. In his professional career, Mitchel has focused on delivering high-quality solutions to a worldwide customer base. He also believes strongly in giving back to the community through speaking engagements, blog postings, open-source contributions, and book writing. His work, and activities, have made him the recipient of many public awards and accolades, including being a 10 time Microsoft MVP. When not working with technology you will find Mitchel working with local experienced and aspiring pilots to learn new skills or begin the joys of aircraft ownership.

Mitchel is happily married to his wife Lexi and their two children and two dogs. His family enjoys the flexibility and utility that aviation brings the family and Lexi is planning to get her pilots license in the coming year, hoping for a little of her own Cirrus time!

Director Shembekar
TJ Shembekar,

TJ Shembekar is a 3 time Cirrus owner, currently flying an SR22T G6. Like many people, TJ thought of becoming a pilot since childhood.  However, something always got in the way, such as finances, time and life in general.  Then in 2005 on his birthday, he decided to take the plunge and quickly got his private pilot license in a Cessna 172.  With 58 hours in logbook, he bought a brand new SR20 G2.  

In the SR20, he went on to acquire an instrument and commercial rating before stepping up to an SR22TN G3, which he flew extensively, including 49 states and 9 countries.  After taking a 5 year break from flying due to a work assignment in Singapore, he returned to flying in 2018 with the support and encouragement of several COPA members.

Currently, he is based in Connecticut and has ~2000 hours almost entirely in Cirrus and always in pursuit of the next flying adventure.  In fact, he chronicles his journeys on Youtube on his “TJ Flying Adventures” Channel.

In his professional life, TJ is the CIO of Merative US LP, which is a healthcare tech company.

Director Sobczak
Tony Sobczak,

Tony Sobczak has been an aviation enthusiast since he was a small child. He wanted to learn to fly but life got in the way. It wasn’t until 2001 when the stars and planets finally aligned, and he started taking lessons. His solo cross country was scheduled for September 11, 2001 at 11:00 am. Again, flying was put on hold and it was not until May of 2002 before he got his license. Since then he has owned three airplanes, accumulated over 1000 hours (over 500 in his current Cirrus SR22) and has an instrument rating. Tony is passionate about aviation safety.

Joining COPA is 2012, Tony has held positions as North Central Regional Governor (Twice), North Central Regional Lieutenant Governor and National CDM (Critical Decision Making) Coordinator. His current positions on your Board of Directors include Director, Secretary and Regional Governor Liaison.

Tony (AKA - Nino – pronounced Knee-No) is active in Lion’s International. Past positions include Club Director and Club President. He is currently the Treasure of his Lions Club as well as the Zone Chairperson for his Lions District.

In “Real Life” Tony is an Army veteran, owns and operates the Mousehouse Cheesehaus, and lives is a small village near Madison, Wisconsin with his wife of 31 years, Vicki. Their son, Gus, is a controller at Kansas City Center and their daughter, Nicki, manages the gift shop at the Mousehouse.

Mark van Niftrik ,
International Director

In 1989, Mark van Niftrik took the first steps of a career as a Professional Pilot. In that year, he started gliding with the Royal Netherlands Air Force from Soesterberg Air Force Base. Full-time pilot training was too expensive, but Mark didn't give up on his dream. During the day, he worked as a Coupler for Holland Casino and all the free evenings he went to the NLS (National Aviation School). From 1993, he spends all vacations in the USA to gather his licenses. In early 2001 he had established a European 'Frozen ATPL', FAA Commercial and Flight Instructor privileges (CFI, CFII, MEI). 


To pass the last ATPL exam, Mark traveled with two friends to New York in early September in 2001. There he flew around the World Trade Center in a rented Cessna. Two days later on 9/11, a sprained ankle while running luckily delayed Mark and his friends' plans to meet for breakfast in the North Tower. 


After this world changing tragedy, Mark came into contact with the Cirrus Aircraft and the love for the airplane proved to be lasting. Teaching turned out to be in his blood and he enjoyed it more and more as time went on. In 2004, Mark became a CSIP, and was one of the first CSIP's in Europe. Today, he runs a Platinum Cirrus Training Center at Stadtlohn Airfield (EDLS) right on the border between The Netherlands and Germany. He has flown more than 9,000 hours, mainly in Europe and the USA. 

Director Robillard
Ross Robillard,
Board Member

Graduated A&P school in 2006 and went to work at Cirrus during the late 2000's as an A&P in the Experimental/R&D department. Obtained Private Pilot/Instrument rating through the factory flying club using exclusively factory test pilots as instructors. Started Midwest Aircraft Refinishing in early 2010 with partners George Virnig and Kris Carlson who also worked at Cirrus. Left Cirrus shortly after starting Midwest. Accumulated over 3,000 hrs in all types and vintages of SR's, along with Commercial and recently SES. Currently fly a 2019 SR22T owned by Midwest. 

Director Price
Jason Price,
Board Member

Jason is the President of Mach 1 Aviation in Van Nuys, CA (KVNY) which provides both Instruction and a Rental fleet of Cirrus Aircraft. Jason is a Platinum Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot(CSIP), ATP, and Certified Flight Instructor - Airplane/Instrument/Multiengine. Jason has been involved with COPA since 2008 not only as a member but he is one of the COPA CPPP instructors you may see at a CPPP near you in the future.

Director St. Clair
Dave St. Clair,
Board Member

Dave St.Clair, like many pilots, had the dream of flying from a from a very early age.  He achieved the dream in 1991 and purchased his first aircraft, a 1969 Cherokee 180, soon thereafter.  This was the family station wagon hauling his wife and two young daughters throughout the US Southwest.  The mission starting requiring longer flights so Dave upgraded to a Bellanca Super Viking.  Ownership of the Bellanca ended in a south Georgia swamp when the #5 cylinder failed resulting in an unplanned stop on a family trip to Disney World.  Life intervened and Dave was on the flying sidelines for a decade or so before getting back in the air in 2007 with the “low and slow” crowd.  His wife Jamie insisted on a chute, for obvious reasons, and their mission now didn’t include 2 kids nor long distances so a brand new S-LSA was the new direction.  The Sting S3 was and is a joy to hand fly and was a capable regional traveler at a speedy 120 KTAS.  Around 2018, the mission changed again to include much more traveling and longer distances so a Cirrus was now in play.

I joined COPA to research all things Cirrus and was impressed with the knowledge and openness of the community.  I ended up purchasing a SR22G1 from a COPA member and have spent the last ~3 years enjoying the Cirrus Life!

Professionally, I moved into the semi-retirement phase of life after a long career as a technology managing director at Deloitte.  I was privileged to serve in a variety of roles including CIO in Deloitte Tax, Senior Managing Director Client Service Technology and Senior Managing Director Finance and Talent Technology.  With retirement, I now had the opportunity to spend more time on other ventures so reached out to the COPA President and offered my services.  This started with chairing the COPA Pilot magazine editorial board which has now be augmented by an appointment to the board of directors.  I’m very excited to part of such a great team!

Dave is happily married to his college sweetheart and is the father to two grown daughters.  Family comes first so when both girls moved to the PNW, Dave and Jamie decided it was time for a new adventure and uprooted from their home in Dallas of 24 years to their new home in a small hamlet just east of Vancouver, WA.

Director Jha
Shyam Jha,
Board Member

Shyam Jha is a CSIP, CFI, and CFII. He has been flying since 1992 and has owned a Piper Cherokee 180 and a Cirrus SR22 in the past. Currently he owns a Cirrus SR22 Turbo. He has been involved with COPA Training Foundation for many years, having served as Dean of miniCPPP program.
In his professional life, Shyam has lived and worked in six countries – USA, Switzerland, France, UK, Singapore, and India - working for Fortune 500 companies in various technical and management roles. He is a consultant to startups as well as several Fortune 500 companies, universities, and the National Basketball Association. He has also served as Director of Executive Education at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, where he was awarded “Professor of the Year” three times for teaching business strategy.
Shyam graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi with a BSEE, and holds an MBA from the Oregon State University. He loves to travel with his wife across the North American continent in his G5 SR22T.

Rob Fulton,
Board Member

Although he got his private and instrument rating early in life, Rob regained currency after a long gap and like many of us, fell in love with Cirrus. After a brief search, N212PF, became an extension of the Fulton family enabling them to see family and friends frequently while also escaping for the occasional overnight in the southeast. He is a native of Monroe, North Carolina (KEQY). Rob and Nikki have a blended family with three children (17, 17, 24) that keep them on their toes. He’s been looking for the right place to serve COPA and is excited to share his passion, build community, and continue the great work of others before him. He brings his core values to everything he does in work and play: transparency, compassion, and authenticity.


Linked In:


Instagram: @robfult_cirrus_2pf

Director Scott Williams
Scott Williams,
Immediate Past President

Scott Williams began flying lessons in 1987 while attending United States Air Force ROTC at UCLA. He earned his PPL in 90 days and his instrument rating 90 days later. While on active duty, he completed his Commercial and MEL.

Scott served as a Missile Combat Crew Commander at Grand Forks, AFB North Dakota. He resigned his commission years later as a Captain in the reserves.

In 2006, Scott bought his first airplane: an SR20 G2. After almost 2,000 hours of PIC and over a dozen coast-to-coast trips, he’s still striving for better proficiency.

Professionally, Scott is an attorney practicing aviation and business law. He assists owners with aircraft purchase, sale, and co-ownership matters. Scott also represents pilots being investigated by the FAA and appears in NTSB hearings nationwide.

Scott serves on our COPA Board of Directors and is our current President.

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