“INSPIRATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL”: 2020 ANNUAL MEETING SPEAKERS TO INCLUDE HEROIC MILITARY PILOT BRIAN SHUL, CHAMPIONSHIP UC DAVIS FOOTBALL COACH DAN HAWKINS, CALFIRE DIRECTOR THOM PORTER, AND INSPIRATIONAL HUMORIST JANA FLAIG
Wednesday Keynote Luncheon Speaker: Hero, Pilot, and Aviation Expert Brian Shul
Brian Shul was an Air Force fighter pilot for the 20 years. During the Vietnam War he flew 212 close air support missions. Shot down near the Cambodian border, he was unable to eject and forced to ride his plane into the jungle. Severely burned in the ensuing crash, he was given up for dead. Rescued by Special Forces, Brian endured one year in military hospitals where he underwent 15 surgical procedures and was told he would never fly again.
After much physical therapy, Brian miraculously returned to active duty flying. He became an Air Show demonstration pilot, was in the first A-10 squadron, and instructed at the Air Force’s Top Gun School. He culminated his Air Force career by flying the Top Secret spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest aircraft ever built. Brian flew covert missions in the Blackbird for 4 years and was the pilot who provided President Reagan with detailed photos of Libyan terrorist camps in 1986. During that time he became the only SR-71 pilot in history to fly 3 missions on 3 consecutive days.
Retiring from the Air Force in 1990, Brian became the first pilot to write a book about flying the Blackbird, completely illustrated with his own photography. This book, Sled Driver, won Aviation Book of the Year honors and is today the single most popular book on that plane worldwide.
Brian’s remarkable comeback story has inspired audiences worldwide as today he is in high demand as a keynote speaker. Brian is a Spirit of Freedom Award winner, has appeared on the History Channel, and in 2011 was inducted into the Air Force Legends Hall of Fame. Brian owns Gallery One in California where his nationally acclaimed nature photography is on display.
Thursday Luncheon Keynote Speaker: UC Davis Football Coach Dan Hawkins
Dan Hawkins was introduced as UC Davis football’s new head coach on November 28, 2016.
By incorporating the program’s core principles of uncommon engineering, quality balance of life and excellence with class, the UC Davis Aggies thrived both on and off the field, and built the foundation for the program’s #AGScension since Dan returned home. The 2018 campaign, Hawkins’ second as head coach and 100th in the history of the program, was a historic campaign that no UC Davis football fan will ever forget.
By leading the Aggies to their most successful season at the Division I level, Big Sky officials bestowed Coach of the Year honors to Hawkins. Following UC Davis’ playoff run, Hawkins became UC Davis’ inaugural recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the top head coach in the NCAA’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
In addition to excelling inside the classroom at the fifth-ranked public school in the nation, football student-athletes also set a new precedent in the program’s history: By moving spring practices to middle of the winter quarter, student-athletes can participate in internships, community service projects, or study abroad – opportunities available to students on campus that are unheard of within a football program at any level across the nation. Thanks to the integration of Hawkins’ core principals, new football alums are now pursuing graduate degrees abroad – an uncommon opportunity for any UC Davis student.
During Hawkins’ first year at UC Davis, his team set 46 new Big Sky era records, faced more ranked teams (or teams receiving votes) since joining the league, won five games against Division I competition- equal to the combined total from the previous three seasons, – and collected five Big Sky Player of the Week awards, matching the total from the last four years combined.
Hawkins, who also served as a college football studio analyst at ESPN in recent seasons, brings a unique depth of experience and innovative offensive approach back to his alma mater. During his career, Hawkins built Boise State to elite status on the college football landscape and coached in the Big XII at the University of Colorado.
Other Speakers Include:
CALFIRE Director Thom Porter: Chief Porter will come to the ACL Annual Meeting after completing his first year as the CALFIRE Director under first-year Governor Gavin Newsom. Chief Porter was sworn in less than two months after the Camp Fire and had to hit the ground running. He has been involved in programs and policies in both the areas of fire and forest management, and ACL has been working closely with Chief Porter and his team. (Later the same day, Thursday January 16, CALFIRE’s LTO Division will hold a seminar on new staff, regulations and insurance requirements, for ProLogger credit.)
Inspirational Humorist Jana Flaig (Ladies Event): Author, speaker, inspirational humorist Jana Flaig brings “Pearls of Wisdom Every Woman Should Know and Doesn’t Need Anymore,” and provides practical tips to knock out fear that discourages us, robs us of hope, and keeps us from taking the next step. Jana’s encouragement, wrapped in humor, engages, uplifts and delights her audiences.
For further information on the 2020 Annual Meeting Agenda and Schedule, Please visit the ACL website and click on “Annual Meeting Information” at the top of the homepage.