• Home
  • Council Election 2020








The poll for the 2020 Council election has closed and the following candidates have been elected to the Council for the 2021-2023 term:

  • Zeliha Akca
  • Richard Cleaz-Savoyen
  • Semi Gabteni
  • Laurie Garrow
  • Lisa Noell
  • Eric Ruhlin
  • Benedikt Zimmerman

2020 AGIFORS Council Election

The AGIFORS Council consists of at least eight members and is responsible for governing and administering to the AGIFORS community. The positions on the council currently include President, Vice-President, Past-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Study Group Coordinator, Symposium Chair, Symposium Technical Chair, Membership Secretary, Communications Officer.

Our current President David Foster will serve as Past President, and seven candidates are elected to the Council by means of this election. Consequently, each AGIFORS Member and Fellow will be able to cast seven votes across the nine candidates, with a maximum of one vote per candidate. 

In addition, the president in consultation with the council can appoint additional members to the council who provide necessary services in the best interest of the organization.  It is then the responsibility of the council itself to assign the various positions based on each member’s interest and qualifications.

Short bios of each candidate and their involvement with AGIFORS so far can be found below. 

Voting was open from Sunday, 14 June 2020 until Sunday, 5 July 2020. 

Zeliha Akça

Zeliha Akça
Turkish Airlines 

I've been an active OR researcher for 18 years. After PhD from Lehigh University on large-scale optimization of integrated location, routing and scheduling problems, I started working at Turkish Airlines. I've been building my experiences on strategic planning and OR applications in airline. I've been actively supervising young researchers and promoting OR. As a dependable and hard working person, by taking a responsibility in the Council, I will dedicate my experiences and knowledge to help providing effective, delightful and fruitful experiences to AGIFORS community.

  • Member since 2010
  • 2018-2020 Council member
  • Organizer 2016 SSP
  • 51st, 58th, 59th Symposiums
  • Presenter in 51st-55th, 57-58th Symposiums and SSP SG

Richard Cléaz-Savoyen

Richard Cléaz-Savoyen

Air Canada 

My educational background sits in engineering & RM (MSc). Presenting my thesis at AGIFORS was a defining moment in my career. I have been working at Air Canada in RM for 15 years, currently responsible for decision support, particularly RM Science & the RM AI Lab, therefore close to the concrete application of operations research. In the past 3 years, I served in the AGIFORS council as Anna Valicek Award competition chair: a fantastic experience to further develop a thorough and objective evaluation process for one of the most important research paper awards in the airline industry OR domain.

  • Attended many AGIFORS meetings (primarily RM Study Groups & Symposiums) over the past 15 years
  • Presented at the RM Study Group in 2005
  • Served as AGIFORS vice-president and chair for the Anna Valicek Award for the period 2018-2019-2020

Sémi Gabteni

Sémi Gabteni


As a member, AGIFORS has offered me ideas, feedback, relationships, which made me grow as a professional.

AGIFORS is also a community with great camaraderie. That motivated me to take an active role. I have worked across the airline business domains which are represented through the study groups, and my “major” is in Airline Operations.

If elected, I would work to increase the impact of AGIFORS towards the industry, increase the attractiveness of airline analytics careers, and recruit new active members.

  • Local Committee Chairman, Annual Symposium 2010
  • Continuous leadership to AGIFORS since 2012
  • Member Anna Valicek Committee since 2012
  • Sponsorship Coordinator 2012 - 2014
  • Symposium Technical co-Chair since 2014
  • Attended and presented at Symposium and Study Groups since 2000

Laurie Garrow

Laurie Garrow

Georgia Institute of Technology 

AGIFORS is very special to me – I often say my best research ideas were inspired from conversations I had with our members! As a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of OR within aviation, AGIFORS is well positioned to help the industry navigate through challenges it is facing with COVID-19 and support our community through innovations such as the online meeting that Ops is spearheading. If elected, I would work to strengthen ties among academics, practitioners, and consultants and support AGIFORS in its efforts and help inspire students to pursue aviation careers.

  • Continuous leadership to AGIFORS since 2006
  • Co-Chair, SSP, 2006-09
  • Local Committee Chairman, Annual Symposium, Atlanta, 2009
  • Member, Anna Valicek Committee, 2010-11
  • Vice-President, 2012-14
  • President, 2015-17
  • Past-President & Symposium Chair, 2018-20
  • Presented at numerous meetings; received 9 awards

Lisa Noell

Lisa Noell


I have been a member of AGIFORS for fifteen years and am passionate about operations research and the aviation industry. My career has taken me from Sabre, American Airlines and to Boeing. I have expertise in the areas of forecasting, revenue management, scheduling, and network and fleet planning. I have lobbied for participation in AGIFORS with my past and current employer(s) because I strongly believe in how bringing together academia, airlines, OEMs, and vendors provides unique opportunities for O.R. practitioners in the industry. 

  • Served as co-chair of the SSP Study Group for 2017, 2018 and 2019

  • Presented Commercial Aviation Services Market Outlook at the 2015 Operations study group

  • Presented Market Demand Stimulation at the 2018 SSP study group.

  • Attended conferences in PRM, SSP, and Flight Operations since 2005

    Jonas Rauch

    Jonas Rauch


    I have served on the AGIFORS Council for three years as web administrator and would be honored to continue serving AGIFORS in this or a different role for the next term. I have regularly attended and presented at AGIFORS conferences since 2010.

    Having been responsible for the RM strategy of the Lufthansa Group hub airlines I have deep insight into current industry goals and trends. With a background in mathematics and multiple years of experience implementing and improving RM in airline practice, I am an expert on the OR side of RM as well as the implications for business processes. 

    • Serving on the Council as web admin since 2017,
    • Hosted the 2016 RM SG meeting in Frankfurt,
    • Prestented at the RM SG 2015 and 2017 (best presentation) and Symposium 2017 and 2018
    • Attended Symposium RM SG 2010 and 2013

    Eric Ruhlin

    Eric Ruhlin

    United Airlines

    In my 20-year Revenue Management career at United Airlines, I’ve had the privilege of putting into action many of the ideas introduced at AGIFORS, contributing the profitability and stability of the airline industry, and to the democratization of global travel. The need for collaborative operations research innovation has never been greater than it will be in the coming years. If re-elected to the Council, I look forward to supporting AGIFORS in its efforts to contribute to the travel industry’s recovery. Working together, we can fix this.
    • 6 yrs Council Member (Treasurer, Secretary)
    • Past OR Managers Study Group Chair
    • Attended multiple Symposiums & RM Study Groups since 2006

    Sergey Shebalov

    Sergey Shebalov


    Sergey’s career has been dedicated to design, development and adoption of Operations Research and Data Science models in airline industry. He worked on and led projects in all AGIFORS domains. Sergey has large personal network of OR professionals at many airlines, universities and vendors that would allow him to promote AGIFORS among industry and involve more people in the AGIFORS community. He has been successful in mentoring young OR professionals and building OR teams and would like to leverage this experience in carrying out great AGIFORS traditions and passing them to the next generation.
    • Member of AGIFORS for 15 years
    • Presented at multiple meetings and recognized with several awards
    • Served as a chair for SSP group and organized SSP 101 workshop
    • Recently helped the Council as study groups coordinator and committee member for Anna Valicek award
    • Attended multiple Symposiums & RM Study Groups since 2006

    Benedikt Zimmermann

    Benedikt Zimmermann

    Swiss International Air Lines

    I have been working in operations research in the airline industry since 2010, first as part of my PhD, then later in revenue management positions for Swiss Airlines and Lufthansa Group. During all of these years, I found the AGIFORS conferences to be the most helpful for my work due to the mix of academic and industry perspectives. After growing more experienced in the industry, I would like to give something back to the AGIFORS organization and help make sure that AGIFORS can continue pushing the industry forward and providing many other colleagues with answers just as it has done for me.

    • Attended conferences of the AGIFORS revenue management study group a total of four times since 2011, both as a presenter (2011, 2012) and as an attendee (2016, 2019)

    Contact us

    Address: AGIFORS President, 931 Monroe Drive,  Ste 102 #613, Atlanta, GA 30308

    Phone: +1 (404) 385-6634

    Email: president@agifors.org

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software