Comprised of seven members, each appointed by the Governor, serve six-year terms, five members are appointed from among Oklahoma's five congressional districts with the remaining two appointed at-large. The Commission is responsible for appointing the State Director of Aeronautics to serve at its pleasure. The current Director is Grayson Ardies, having served in that position since November 2020.

Lindy Ritz

District 4 | Chair | Term Expires 12-31-2023

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Governor Mary Fallin appointed Lindy Ritz of Norman to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission until December 31, 2023. Ritz was named the Director of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City in 1997. The Aeronautical Center is the centralized service and support facility for the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation and home to more than 7,000 federal and contract employees, with an operational budget of $1.2 billion annually. Ritz has been with the FAA since 1979.

In 2008, Ritz served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regions and Center Operations in Washington, D.C., and as the Acting Vice President, Technical Training for the Air Traffic Organization. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and FAA Senior Executive Candidate Development Program, and has completed graduate programs at the University of Michigan and the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. She received a master’s degree in aviation and space from Oklahoma State University in May of 1999. She is a member of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University aviation advisory councils.

A member of the inaugural class of Leadership Oklahoma, Ritz has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She received the Leadership Oklahoma Distinguished Graduate Award for 2000 and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Community Leadership Association in April of 2001.

The Air Traffic Control Association awarded Ritz the George W. Kriske Memorial Award in October 2007 for an outstanding career which has added to the quality, safety, or efficiency of air traffic control. She received the first FAA Golden Compass Award for Exemplary Leadership in September 2007. Her term expires 12/31/2023.


Charles Ortega

District 3 | Vice Chair | Term Expires 12-31-2025

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Charles Ortega of Altus was appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt December of 2020 to serve on the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission through 2025 representing the 3rd Congressional District. Ortega served as an Oklahoma State Representative for District 52 the past 12 years. For six years he served as chairman of the Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on General Government and was responsible for reviewing budgets for several Executive and Legislative branch agencies including the Governor’s Office, Lt. Governor’s Office, House of Representatives, and Senate.

He was appointed to serve as Majority Floor Leader from 2014 to 2016. As Majority Floor Leader, he was responsible for coordinating and conducting the flow of every piece of legislation filed and navigating all floor activity, while applying rules of decorum and procedure. In this position he worked with all members, sharing his knowledge of procedures to assist in shepherding their legislation through the bill filing process.

Ortega owned and operated a small automotive retail operation for 28 years which specialized in customizing vehicles with electronic amenities as well as mechanical enhancements. His previous employment was with Halliburton Services for 12 years, where he managed 2,500 employees in the oilfield service materials industry.      

Ortega has a passion for Oklahoma military aviation due to his close relationship with Altus Air Force Base. He’s worked with the Aeronautics Commission as the author of several bills to protect military training airspace and ensure civilian aviation safety. 

With the culmination of a 3 year effort, HB 2118, passed by Ortega in 2019, created regulatory requirements for wind turbine construction to ensure that military training routes, approaches, drop zones, bombing ranges, and other sensitive military airspace were protected. The measure required wind turbine developers to have approval from both the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense prior to starting construction, and ensured that there would be early communication opportunities between developers, military installations, and state and local officials.  This process would provide for a harmonious balance between the interests of having a vibrant wind energy industry and sustaining our country’s important military missions.  HB 2118 has been heralded around the Country as model legislation for states to pass to ensure they can protect their military training airspace.

Blake Raney

District 5 | Secretary | Term Expires 12-31-2026

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Blake Raney of Edmond was appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt in January of 2021 to serve on the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission  representing the Fifth Congressional District. Raney is active in both the aviation and business community throughout Oklahoma. He is the owner of Red Falcon Aviation, where he provides aviation brokerage services, management, and consulting. He also holds ownership in several service companies and real estate.

An Oklahoma native, Raney has always had a passion for aviation and business. A licensed pilot, Raney has been involved in the aviation industry for 10 years.  He received his private pilot license in 2011, and later, his instrument rating. He has over 1,200 hours of flight time with hundreds of hours of tailwheel time.

Raney served on the board for the Oklahoma Engineers Flying Club and is a member of the Oklahoma Pilots Association, AOPA, & EAA. He often attends Oklahoma airshows and annually flies to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the largest airshow in the world. He makes his home in Edmond with his wife Anna, and enjoys recreational flying in their Cirrus and open cockpit biplane.

His term will expire December 31, 2026.

Jerry Hunter

At-Large | Term Expires 12-31-2027

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Jerry Hunter was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin in June of 2016 and was reappointed by Governor Kevin Stitt in December of 2021. He is the founder and CEO of US Fleet Tracking, and has been an innovator and technologist since the dawn of the computer industry. Beginning in the early 80’s, Hunter created a number of groundbreaking technologies serving as the cornerstone of key products used today.

Hunter moved to Oklahoma City in 2006. He purchased Sundance Airport in 2012, and undertook a complete remodel of the airport’s facilities shortly thereafter. In 2013 he founded Sundance Flight Academy. To further pilot creation and to advance the Oklahoma aviation industry, in 2020, Hunter donated 21 flight school scholarships through Sundance Flight Academy. He is the owner and CEO of Sundance Airport (KHSD, 122.7,), founder and CEO of Sundance Flight Academy, and founder and CEO of several larger businesses unrelated to aviation.

His term will expire December 31, 2027.


Jim Putnam

At-Large | Term Expires 12-31-2028

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Col. James “Jim” Putnam (ret.), was appointed effective March of 2017 by Governor Mary Fallin as an At-Large Commissioner and reappointed for a second term by Governor Kevin Stitt in 2023. Putnam served over 27 years in the Air Force as a munitions and aircraft maintenance officer and later as a major acquisition program manager.  His experience included a wide variety of tactical aircraft weapons systems.  He retired as the host base Inspector General for Tinker Air Force Base. 

He commanded maintenance squadrons four times, was a deputy group commander and twice took his squadron to win the Tactical Air Command Maintenance Effectiveness Award.  Putnam served in 26 different positions at 12 air bases, including three overseas tours.  He has led a wide variety of organizations from shop, branch, squadron, group, senior academic instructor, to division chief in two Air Logistics Centers.  Putnam retired from the Air Force at the rank of Colonel in December 1999.

Putnam then pursued a career with the Northrop Grumman Corporation serving 14 years in another wide variety of assignments dealing with logistics and program management. He worked with the F-18, a classified radar project, direct support of a Navy Test Squadron, and spent the majority of his time working on the B-2 Stealth Bomber program.  He retired from Northrop Grumman in December of 2013.

Putnam has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, and a Master’s Degree in Aviation Management (Summa Cum Laude) from Embry -Riddle Aeronautical University.  He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and the Air War College (Seminar, Outstanding rating), and of the Defense Systems Management University.  He has a Department of Defense level 3 certification in Acquisition Program Management and a level 2 in Acquisition Logistics.

His term expires 12/31/28. 

Kevin Potter

District 2 | Term Expires 12-31-2024

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Governor Mary Fallin appointed Kevin Potter of Bartlesville in August of 2015 to finish an unexpired term on the Aeronautics Commission. Potter, who is president and general manager of Bartlesville Radio, fulfilled the remaining term left by former District 1 Commissioner Rick Armstrong of Tulsa who resigned in June to devote more time to his newly acquired business.  District 1 encompasses all of Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington counties, as well as small portions of Creek and Rogers counties in northeastern Oklahoma.  Potter was appointed to District 2 in January of 2023 by Governor Kevin Stitt.

A licensed private pilot who has flown for 26 years, Potter and his wife, Dorea, have owned and operated Radio Broadcasting since 1980, which consists of four radio stations located in and around the Bartlesville area. Prior to their move to Bartlesville, the couple owned and operated two radio stations for 15 years while living in Monmouth, Ill.  Potter currently serves on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Broadcasters Association, Salvation Army and the Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation. He is also an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Rotary Club.  Potter played college football at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., where he also earned his bachelor’s degree.

Potter’s term will expire Dec. 31, 2024.

Seth Phillips

District 1 | Term Expires 12-31-2028

Phone: (405) 604-6900

Governor J. Kevin Stitt appointed Seth Phillips of Jenks to represent District 1 on the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission until December 31, 2028. Phillips holds a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He earned his private pilot license in June 2011, then went on to receive his instrument rating in June 2013, and holds tail wheel, multi-engine, and turbine (CE525 Type Rating) certifications, along with a turbine CE525 single pilot endorsement. As an avid pilot and community volunteer, Phillips has flown in excess of 1,200 hours, including traveling 70,000 miles in a turbine aircraft from 2021-2022. He has given free flights for cancer patients, hurricane relief efforts, medical relief, fundraisers, and discovery flights for kids. He also serves as co-chair of the American Heart Association’s Cycle Nation Fundraiser in Tulsa, restores antique automobiles and airplanes, and enjoys touring internationally.

Phillips works as the Chief Financial Officer at Oak Properties, LLC, and received the 2021 Developer of the Year Award from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) for his professional accomplishments. He is also a member of St. James Church of Tulsa.