A 16-year veteran of the Federal Aviation Administration has been named the new director of the William J. Hughes Technical Center.
Dennis Filler, who for the past four years has run DLF Consulting in Parsons, W.Va., returned to the tech center this week in the new position, FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker said.
As director of the center, Filler will be at the forefront of the FAA’s efforts to modernize air travel and advance the NextGen Air Transportation System, a series of technologies meant to make air travel quicker, safer and more efficient. The tech center is the nation’s only federal laboratory for air transportation systems.
The 56-year-old, who grew up all over the country as part of a military family, held several positions at the tech center between 1992 and 2004, including acting deputy director. He has also worked at the center located in Egg Harbor Township as chief scientist, program director of the National Airspace System Engineering and Analysis Division, and head of the Human Factor Laboratory Team.
Between 2004 and 2009, Filler was chief information officer and director of information technology for the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization based in Washington, D.C.
Filler succeeds Wilson Felder, who retired in November.
U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, called the appointment a “fabulous pick,” adding that Filler knows both the FAA and the tech center inside and out. He described Filler as a “people person” who will be able to keep the tech center staff motivated and focused.
That will be important, he said, as the center will be faced with tackling issues related to aviation safety and implementation of the NextGen program.
“I’m just thrilled because Dennis brings so much to the table with such a wide and varied background,” LoBiondo said. “There’s a lot at stake here.”
In one of Filler’s previous roles at the tech center, he launched a technology transfer program to support the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security. He also established working relationships between the tech center and Richard Stockton College, Rowan University and Stevens Institute of Technology to support that initiative.
Ron Esposito, executive director of the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park, said Filler will be a great fit and noted that he has a strong technical background. Esposito, a former acting director of the tech center, previously worked with Filler and said he looks forward to seeing him return. As director of the tech center, Filler will also serve as an adviser to the NextGen park’s board.
The park, a seven-building project planned on the grounds of the tech center, has faced significant delays due to financing and management issues. The park’s board is in the process of attempting to take over the lease with the FAA for the park’s land.
Married with four children, Filler is in the process of looking for property in South Jersey. His wife is a retired special education teacher.
Filler has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is also a graduate of the Telecommunications Operations Officer course at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
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