About PACA


The Professional Aerospace Contractors Association (PACA) of New Mexico was founded in 1984 to promote a healthy and vigorous relationship between the aerospace industry and Government agencies. Since then it has become widely recognized and used by all Government agencies in the area as a forum for interaction with the aerospace, defense, and related national industries.

PACA has a robust membership of aerospace, defense, and related professionals, representing virtually every element of the aerospace and defense industry.  Members come from large and small businesses, as well as minority, women-owned, veteran-owned, and disadvantaged small businesses.

PACA is a 501c(6) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New Mexico. PACA, a politically non-partisan organization, represents the interests of it’s membership as a whole and, while doing so, does not advocate or represent special interest groups or a particular member company. It is 100% volunteer operated, and commits all residual funds to science programs and scholarships throughout the state.

PACA’s many activities that promote information exchange include: monthly luncheon meetings with guest speakers; quarterly meetings with Air Force Research Laboratories leadership; participation and representation with business advocacy organizations such as Chambers of Commerce and other technology business associations.

PACA has a strong relationship with the State’s universities that includes endowed scholarship programs, mentoring and partnering in aerospace, educational, and economic development activities.

Key PACA Objectives

The main objective of PACA is to assist in promoting and maintaining professional relations between the aerospace industry, and their subcontractors and vendors, who provide products and services to the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and related Government agencies.  PACA accomplishes this by:

  • Providing a mechanism for the interchange of information between PACA members and the agencies supporting the national defense, security, and economic advancement of the United States and the State of New Mexico;
  • Promoting a professional relationship and understanding among the members of PACA;
  • Promoting and facilitating business collaborations between large business prime contractors and small business;
  • Helping develop and advocate changes to federal and state statutes and regulations that would benefit PACA members;
  • Offering a wide range of forums and opportunities to get connected informative monthly luncheons, with presentations by distinguished guest speakers and industry experts.  Meetings are generally held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Tanoan Country Club; and,
  • Hosting an annual Briefing For Industry Conference to review new business opportunities that are forthcoming from DoD, DOE, and other organizations and has a nation-wide audience.

Networking at Monthly Luncheons

Informative monthly luncheons, with presentations by distinguished guest speakers and industry experts.  Meetings are generally held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Tanoan Country Club.

Learn more and register for a luncheon.


PACA hosts the largest industry dialogue with Government in the State of New Mexico.   PACA supports a number of industry trade shows, educational seminars, Government meetings, and contractor’s showcase conferences.   Monthly luncheons provide association opportunities with large and small businesses, and Government agency representatives.   PACA members learn about Government needs and requirements from speakers, and identify contract-teaming opportunities with other PACA companies.   By joining with eight or more other science and technology business associations in the state of New Mexico, PACA has taken part in dialogue with the City of Albuquerque and the State of NM Economic Development departments. By volunteering to serve on PACA Board of Directors or on committees, members can develop stronger relationships with Government and industry partners.


Through it’s legislative advocacy program, PACA legislative liaison chair stays abreast of the legislative issues related to the aerospace, defense and security industries.  PACA brings these issues to the attention of the larger business community.  PACA representatives communicate issues followed with calls and directions for PACA members to act and be heard by legislators. Spaceport and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL) liaison members keep abreast of activities at NM Spaceport and AFRL and offer insights and updates to PACA members at the monthly meetings and in the PACA Pulse Newsletter.

Science Fair

PACA provides judges to the New Mexico State Science Fair and provides monetary awards to students selected with the best projects as viewed by PACA judges.


PACA membership is $250 per year for each member effective April 1, 2016. The costs includes: 10 monthly luncheons at the Tanoan Country Club with dynamic speakers (Government or industry); Holiday Party for the member plus a guest; four quarterly issues of the PACA Pulse newsletters; discounted registration rates for the annual Briefing for Industry sponsored by PACA; and, great networking and teaming opportunities among members. Read more about PACA Membership.

PACA’s History


Unfortunately, early PACA data was not archived well, and as best as we could we scoured the collective memories of many “old timers” still available through recent years. While the “facts” may seem a little blurred from one account to another it still comes through that PACA owes it start to Bill Faulds, Roger Hoppe, Bill Bakel, Ken Johnson, as well as early members (who worked various committees) such as Russ Parsons, Lou Bernasconi, Tom Eden, Chuck Vesely, and Dick Trask. Formed in NM in 1984 as a non-profit association

  • To promote a healthy and vigorous relationship between the aerospace industry and NM Government agencies
  • All volunteer; no paid board or committee members
  • Incorporated in 1992 as a 501c6
  • Non-partisan industry organization
  • emphasis on information exchange and communication with (mostly) Government customers
  • Evolving to include commercial interests
  • Is the preeminent contractor organization in the Southwest
  • Widely recognized and respected by virtually all NM Government agencies
  • Membership
  • 145 individuals are members
  • 113 companies are represented
  • Led by the Executive Committee in accordance with written by-laws
  • Active in NM Aerospace, especially in the Albuquerque area
  • Monthly membership meetings plus activities throughout the year
  • National exposure through the annual PACA-AFRL Briefing for Industry (BFI) which attracts 300 to 400 people to Albuquerque for several days in August

 The following are RECOLLECTIONS and notes about the early days of PACA written by FOUR long time PACA members.

During the summer of 1982, Roger K. Hoppe (notes from Dr. Roger Hoppe), Vice President of BDM Corporation, began to develop the concept of an organization that would provide an environment wherein State and US Government organizations could speak openly to the employees of professional services/aerospace companies about their future business directions and policies. The concept involved holding monthly meetings where all members and “speaker organizations” could interact with one another and hear briefings from New Mexico Government organizations. The focus of the organization would be to serve the New Mexico community of technical companies, plus State and U.S. Government organizations.

An important requirement was that Government speakers at the monthly meetings would be assured that their briefings and comments would not be released to the press. The last requirement that Roger Hoppe felt was important was to build an organization that was open to all professional services as well as large hardware aerospace companies, regardless of company size.

In August, 1982, Roger Hoppe invited three members of the Albuquerque technical community to his BDM office at 1601 Yale Avenue for lunch and to present his ideas about this new organization. Bill Faulds, TRW, Bill Bakel, Boeing, and Ken Johnson, Hughes attended. Roger’s ideas for the new organization were favorably received, and discussions were held about selecting a name. The four also discussed the next actions required to make the new organization become a reality. Many additional meetings were held to organize and prepare for building the organization. Two issues that received more attention were (1) the name of the organization, and (2) whether to affiliate with a national organization or have it be a “stand-alone” organization focused on New Mexico. The name issue related to whether or not the organization should represent a wide variety of companies (professional service, aerospace, hardware, software, large, mid-size, small) or just aerospace companies.

The name Professional Aerospace Contractor’s Association (PACA) was selected as it encompassed a broad range of companies, and the word “Professional” in the title was believed to broaden the scope of membership. The second issue to be resolved involved strong feelings that the focus of the organization should be on New Mexico companies and organizations. The decision was made and agreed upon that PACA should spend its resources helping to build the technical community of New Mexico.

In September, 1982, the first official meeting of PACA was held at the Royal Fork Restaurant on Central Avenue, near the intersection of Washington and Central, NE. Eleven people attended. Information about PACA was publicized and initial members subsequently invited new people to join. PACA began to grow to its current membership of approximately 104. Many people have contributed to PACA throughout the past 30 years, helping PACA to expand, and build the New Mexico technical community. PACA’s accomplishments and achievements have far exceeded the ideas and dreams of the Founders in that summer of 1982.

PACA of New Mexico (Notes by Bob Johnson, 1984)

People: Bill Faulds (TRW) – President, Bob Johnson (Hughes Aircraft Co.) – Vice-President, Bill Bakel (Boeing) – Secretary, Russ Parsons (Perkin-Elmer) – Treasurer, Roger Hoppe, Lou Bernasconi, Tom Eden, Chuck Vesely, Dick Trask. Ken Johnson was manager of the Hughes office and was asked to re-open an office in Colorado Springs CO. Bob Johnson was selected to replace Ken. The Hughes office and the P-E office were in the same building and Bob and Russ had known each other for years. Bob arrived in Albuquerque in early June 1983 and Ken was scheduled for Colorado Springs in late June. Russ brought up a farewell party for Ken and came up with a list of reps to arrange the party and help with invitees. A small group got together including Hoppe and Faulds. In addition to arranging the party they discussed business and what was going on at Kirtland. It was mentioned by Faulds/Parsons that there was a group of marketers at Los Angeles Air Force Station (SD) that met for lunch with the AF once a month. The Albuquerque folks contacted the folks in LA for a copy of their by-laws. The by-laws were modified to fit our location and another luncheon meeting was scheduled to vote on officers and our by-laws. Bob Johnson believes that the legal aspects of incorporating were handled by Bakel. PACA-NM was born! Eventually the group moved the luncheon meetings to the 0’Club.

A Historical Perspective On PACA by the late Dick Trask

PACA’s roots date back to 1984, around 13 years before the Air Force Research Laboratory was established. Back then, the Air Force laboratory system consisted of 13 different laboratories and the Rome Air Development Center, each of which reported up through two separate chains of command: a product center for personnel, and the Air Force Systems Command Director of Science & Technology for budgetary purposes. Bowing to the constraints of a reduced budget and personnel, the Air Force merged the existing research laboratories into four “super-labs” in December 1990. During this same time period, the Air Force Systems Command and Air Force Logistics Command merged to form Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) in July 1992. Figure-1 shows the Air Force Laboratory structure before and after the consolidation.

While the initial consolidation of Air Force laboratories reduced overhead and budgetary pressure, another push towards a unified laboratory structure came in the form of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, Section 277. This section instructed the Department of Defense to produce a five-year plan for consolidation and restructuring of all defense laboratories. The currently existing AFRL structure was created in October 1997 through the consolidation of Phillips Laboratory headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, Rome Laboratory (formerly Rome Air Development Center) in Rome, New York, and Armstrong Laboratory in San Antonio, Texas and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). The single laboratory concept was developed and championed by Maj Gen Richard Paul, who was Director of Science & Technology for AFMC and then became the first Commander of AFRL.

Thus at the time that PACA was conceived, the only major Air Force R&D organization at KAFB was the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, and keeping abreast of ongoing activities in the Air Force R&D arena was no easy chore for contractor business development reps in the Albuquerque area. Of course, there were other government activities at KAFB of interest to contractors, with organizations like AFTEC (now AFOTEC), DOE and Sandia National Laboratory offering considerable contracting opportunities. Generally speaking, there was no formal process for information gathering and sharing on aerospace business opportunities, and networking among contractors and government organizations. Communication between industry reps and the government (both technical and contracting) points of contact was quite informal and consisted primarily of periodic visits by contractor reps to various ongoing government activities to see where potential opportunities might lie. There were occasional technical exchanges between government project managers and interested contractors on ongoing projects, but no established basis for regular and continuing dialog.

Back in those “good old days” of the mid-80’s, there were three primary places to eat lunch at KAFB: two Officers Clubs, one at “Kirtland East” (now the Mountain View Club), and one at “Kirtland West” (now home of the Phillips Technology Institute). In addition, Sandia National Lab had its own club on Wyoming Boulevard just south of the main gate. By far, however, the West Officers Club was most popular, and it was quite usual for both government and contractor reps alike to join up there informally over lunch. Industry reps that often ate at the West Club included Bill Faulds (TRW), Ken Johnson (Hughes Aircraft Co.), Bob Johnson (Hughes Aircraft Co.), Bill Bakel (Boeing), Russ Parsons (Perkin Elmer), Roger Hoppe, Lou Bernasconi, Tom Eden, Chuck Vesely, and Dick Trask (General Research Corp). Similarly, we would often see government contracting and technical folks like Murray Hill, Wendell Gilliam, Wayne Gaede, and Bob Tolliver fairly regularly. It was quite ordinary during these informal chance encounters to discuss ongoing activities, and update one another on significant contractor and government related program activity.

At one point, it was mentioned by Bill Faulds and Russ Parsons that there was an organized effort by a group of aerospace business development folks at Los Angeles Air Force Station (SD) that met for lunch with the Air Force on a monthly basis. The Los Angeles group called itself the Southern California Aerospace Professional Representatives Association (SCAPR). SCAPR’s activities included information gathering and sharing on aerospace business opportunities, networking with other member professionals (and their invited guests) at regularly scheduled monthly meetings. The SCAPR objectives were so much in harmony with the spirit and objectives of the folks at Kirtland, that either Bill or Russ (or both) obtained a copy of their by-laws.

At a subsequent meeting of interested reps in Albuquerque, we met for lunch at a motel restaurant on East Central and agreed that New Mexico should have a similar group. The SCAPR by-laws were essentially adopted intact, modified only to accommodate our Albuquerque location. Another luncheon meeting was scheduled to vote on officers and our by-laws, and PACA of NM was born in 1984! Unfortunately, early PACA data was not archived well, and as best as our collective memories permit, PACA’s first slate of elected officers included Bill Faulds, President; Bob Johnson, Vice-President; Bill Bakel, Secretary; and Russ Parsons, Treasurer.

Bob Johnson became PACA’s second President, and I (Dick Trask) followed him. Tom Eden served as Program Chair until his death in 1991, when I assumed that function.

Figure 1. Air Force Laboratories Before and After Merger





Weapons Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NMGeophysics Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA Astronautics Laboratory, Edwards AFB, CA


Phillips Laboratory

Kirtland AFB

Avionics Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OHElectronics Technology Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OHFlight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OHMaterial Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OHAero Propulsion and Power Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OHArmament Laboratory, Eglin AFB, FL


Wright Laboratory

Wright-Patterson AFB

Rome Air Development Center, Griffiss AFB, NY


Rome Laboratory

Griffiss AFB, NY


Human Resources Laboratory, Brooks AFB, TXHarry G. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OHDrug Testing Laboratory, Brooks AFB, TXOccupational and Environmental, Health Laboratory, Brooks AFB, TX


Armstrong Laboratory

Brooks AFB, TX

Andy Anderson’s Notes: I went through my notes and remembered I had promised you insight into the creation of Phillips Lab. We created Phillips Lab by consolidating Space Technology Center, the Weapons Lab, the Astronautics Lab (formerly the Rocket Lab at Edwards), and the Geophysics Lab at Hanscom. We started the activity in the latter part of ’90 and to the best of my knowledge, stood up Phillips Lab in the early part of ’91 – just before I retired in April of ’91. Colonel Peter Marchiando was the first Commander of the Philips Laboratory.

PACA Presidents

  • 1982 – 1984 There was no president until 1984, but PACA had a committee of four members running the organization for the first two years: Bill Faulds, TRW; Bill Bakel, Boeing; Ken Johnson, Hughes; and Roger Hoppe, BDM.
  • 1984 – 1985 Bill Faulds
  • 1985 – 1986 Bob Johnson
  • 1986 – 1987 Russ Parsons
  • 1987 – 1988 Craig Colter
  • 1988 – 1989 Don Dalton
  • 1989 – 1990 Dick Trask
  • 1990 – 1991 Charles J. Vesely
  • 1991 – 1992 Bill Dettmer
  • 1992 – 1993 J. Michael Bell
  • 1993 – 1994 Larry Peckham
  • 1994 – 1995 Ray Saunders
  • 1995 – 1996 Joe Muhlberger (1/2 year)
  • 1996 – 1997 Burke Nelson (1½ years)
  • 1997 – 1998 Bob Parizek
  • 1998 – 1999 Paul (Andy) Anderson
  • 1999 – 2000 Jim Carpenter
  • 2000 – 2001 Don Nash
  • 2001 – 2002 Ron Unruh
  • 2002 – 2003 Tim Tamerler
  • 2003 – 2004 Jeff Walters
  • 2004 – 2005 John Kidd
  • 2005 – 2006 Jack Bishop
  • 2006 – 2007 Dar Johnson
  • 2007 – 2008 Fred Jonas
  • 2008 – 2009 Maran Vedamanikam
  • 2009 – 2010 Phil Vitale
  • 2010 – 2011 Ginny Buckmelter
  • 2011 – 2012 Bill Miera
  • 2012 – 2013 Patricia Knighten
  • 2013 – 2014 Eric Mechenbier
  • 2014 – 2015 Andy Dobrot
  • 2015 – 2016 Judy Ruiz
  • 2016 – 2017 Mike Emerson
  • 2017 – 2018 Mark Menicucci
  • 2018 – 2019 Malini Hoover
  • 2019 – 2021 David Rosprim
  • 2021 - 2022 Mike Robson
  • 2022 - 2023 Austin Potter
  • 2023 - 2024 Andy Benson
  • 2024 - 2025 Dena Crain