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Mike Smith Area of Specialization:

Mike Smith brings to any project a wealth of senior management experience and technical expertise in both government and private industry. Through an executive level career spanning more than 17 years, he has managed and contributed to many innovative and highly successful technical, policy implementation and organizational restructuring projects. These have included complex and contentious issues requiring astute and sensitive leadership.

 As a change manager, Mike recognizes the importance of truly understanding problems and articulating a clear way forward. He has the demonstrated capacity to quickly comprehend key concepts, adapt to new organizations/cultures and anticipate issues that need to be addressed. He deals extremely well with ambiguity and is adept at not only assimilating information, but also translating difficult concepts to non-technical audiences, whether verbally or in writing. One of Mike’s major strengths is his capacity to stimulate debate and engage others in areas characterized by disparate and passionately held views.

To complement his extensive technical and project management capabilities, Mike has been at the forefront of numerous groundbreaking educational and cultural change processes. In 1995, Mike introduced the concept of ‘Integrated Safety Management’ to CASA and the Australian aviation industry. In 2001, in conjunction with Professor James Reason and Dr. Patrick Hudson, Mike formally launched Australia’s approach to SMS in a series of briefings for senior aviation executives and safety professional across the country. 

Transport Canada invited Mike to present the concept of SMS at the March 2002 Canadian Aviation Safety Seminar in Calgary, Alberta where he also discussed the Safety Trend Indicator and Risk-Based Audit, a fundamental element of the regulator’s approach to SMS. Mike was again invited to speak about SMS to the 19th Annual FAA/JAA International Conference in Phoenix Arizona in June 2002. These activities represent the beginnings of the development of SMS for aviation.

 An active mentor, Mike enjoys identifying, promoting and developing the skill sets of staff to ensure continuous improvement and organizational effectiveness. He consistently brings out the best in individuals, specialist teams and large cross-functional groups, and teams under his leadership have won significant national awards.

 An internationally recognized aviation expert with over thirty years of experience in civil aviation, Mike offers extensive experience in general and commercial aviation, and substantial knowledge of corporate governance, regulatory processes and safety management systems. His aviation qualifications include both Australian and United States FAA licenses encompassing a broad spectrum of activity, from aircraft maintenance, through to commercial, recreational and sports flying operations.

Mike has held senior positions with both Air services Australia and the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), most recently at the level of Deputy Director. Mike has led numerous complex programs including the introduction of Global Navigation Satellite Systems for en-route, non-precision and precision approach use, development and introduction of Safety Management Systems (SMS) and Australian Airspace Reform. 

Since leaving the Australian Civil Service, Mike has been engaged as a senior consultant by airlines and aviation regulators around the world, predominantly advising clients in the areas of regulatory reform, ICAO USOAP and FAA IASA compliance and the introduction of Safety Management Systems and risk based oversight principles into their organizations. Recent clients include the World Bank and the civil aviation administrations of Singapore, the UAE, Nigeria and Bahrain. Mike led the World Bank funded program that gained IASA category one status for Nigeria in 2010, allowing that country’s airlines to operate to the USA. Nigeria remains one of only six African nations to hold that status.