Drone exec, Vermonter picked to lead FAA / Seaman permanent Orange County state’s attorney / 911 remembered

Norwich, Vermont resident and drone executive Michael Whitaker has been named by the Biden Administration to lead the Federal Aviation Administration.

Governor Phil Scott Friday, Sept. 8 announced the appointment of Colin L. Seaman as state’s attorney for Orange County, replacing H. Dickson Corbett, who was appointed as a superior judge earlier this year.

Seaman has served as acting state’s attorney since Corbett’s departure, and as deputy state’s attorney since February of this year. He has over 20 years of experience serving as a defense attorney, including running a private practice from 2014 to 2023, where he contracted with the Defender General’s office and was assigned criminal and juvenile cases primarily in Chittenden and Washington Counties. Seaman received a J.D. and M.S.L. from Vermont Law school in 1997.

“Our State’s Attorney’s Office maintains its focus on advocating for victims of crime, working with our community partners, holding offenders accountable for their actions, and supporting law enforcement efforts to eradicate crime by utilizing and applying all of Vermont’s laws.” Seaman said.

Former State’s Attorney Corbett was elected as an independent, so Governor Scott solicited recommendations from both the Republican and Democratic committees in Orange County. Seaman was recommended by both committees as a potential appointment. His term will conclude on February 1, 2027.

Vermonter and drone leader nominated to lead FAA – The Biden Administration has nominated an Upper Valley man to lead the FAA: Michael Whitaker, a former deputy administrator of the agency, is from Norwich.

During the Obama administration, Whitaker led the FAA’s drone integration program. 

In 2019, he took a job with ANRA, a leading international provider of end-to-end drone operations and traffic management solutions for unmanned system operators and airspace managers, its website says. According to his ANRA bio, Whitakerhas  spent his career in aviation, first as a lawyer for TWA in New York and Washington, then working for 15 years at United Airlines in Chicago where he rose to Senior Vice President of Alliances, International and Regulatory Affairs.

In 2009 he left United Airlines to become Group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, India’s largest travel conglomerate and operator of IndiGo Airlines, based in Delhi. After returning to the U.S., Whitaker was appointed by President Obama in 2013 to serve as Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer of the Federal Aviation Administration, where he was responsible for the modernization of the air traffic system and worked closely with Administrator Huerta in running the world’s busiest, most complex and safest air traffic control system.

Whitaker, a private pilot, earned his J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and holds degrees in political science and French from the University of Louisville.

“Michael Whitaker has an impressive career in aviation leadership, and his decades spent in the skies will be an asset to the Federal Aviation Administration–which needs the steady hand only experience can provide,” Sen. Peter Welch, a Democrat and fellow Norwich resident, said in a statement. “As a fellow Vermonter, I know that he has the forward-thinking vision to bring us into the next generation of air travel–and he’ll do it safely, with a mind for sustainability and a passion for innovation within the aviation workforce.”

Gov. Scott issues 9/11 statement – “Twenty-two years ago, our nation would change forever, as we lost nearly 3,000 innocent American lives to heinous acts of terror. Today, we honor and remember those we lost, and the loved ones who were left behind with a void that can never be filled,” Gov. Scott said in a public statement today.

“We also remember the brave first responders who rushed towards danger to save lives. There were countless acts of heroism that day from those who put others before themselves. They embodied what it means to be an American. In the years that followed, many more, including thousands of Vermonters, answered the call to serve their nation and defend the values we hold dear. They are the best of us, and we will forever be in their debt.”

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