Russ Kavalhuna

Photo of Russ Kavalhuna
Russell A Kavalhuna (Russ)
Executive Director of Flight Operations
(269) 964-9336
(269) 964-4364
Mailing address: 
College of Aviation
Western Michigan University
237 Helmer Road N
Battle Creek MI 49037-7917 USA

Mr. Kavalhuna is the Executive Director of Flight Operations at Western Michigan University.  He is a former airline captain, a licensed attorney, and a former federal prosecutor.  Mr. Kavalhuna graduated from Western Michigan University's College of Aviation, cum laude, with a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Science.  He holds a Juris Doctor from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, graduating magna cum laude and valedictorian.

Mr. Kavalhuna has taught courses in criminal law and aviation law at Western Michigan University’s law school and undergraduate curriculums.  Mr. Kavalhuna serves on the University’s Critical Incident Response Team and he is the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee.  He also is the Director of Safety at the College of Aviation, administering a College-wide internet-based safety management system called the Collegiate Aviation Safety Reporting System (CASRS).  In that role, he hosts an annual safety symposium and maintains the College of Aviation’s safety website:
While flying as an airline pilot, Mr. Kavalhuna served on the negotiating committee for his collective bargaining unit, the Airline Pilots Association International. 
Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Mr. Kavalhuna to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 2009, and Governor Rick Snyder reappointed him to that commission in 2013, which has $100 million appropriations and rule-making authority for all of Michigan’s aviation infrastructure.  His fellow commission members have twice elected Mr. Kavalhuna to serve as Chairman of the Commission, which is his current title.  During his time on the Commission, Mr. Kavalhuna established and chaired sub-committees on general aviation and air-transport service.  He has authored a state-wide report on the FAA’s Essential Air Service program in Michigan.
Mr. Kavalhuna served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, after being selected as one of four national appointees under the DOJ’s prestigious Honor’s Program.  He prosecuted cases charging bank robbery, racketeering, drug offenses, firearm offenses, human trafficking, and fraud.  He organized multiple taskforces to combat violent crime in low-income urban neighborhoods.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives presented him with National Honor Award for his prosecution of 31 violent gang members.  The Holland Police Department awarded him the Outstanding Achievement Award.  In 2011, he was named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.  Mr. Kavalhuna has also served as a senior law clerk for Justice Michael F. Cavanagh on the Michigan Supreme Court.
Mr. Kavalhuna has also served as the Chairman of the Ingham County Environmental Affairs Advisory Committee.  He has participated in the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, which is a six-month leadership training partnership among the Presidential Centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson, designed for mid-career leaders from diverse backgrounds who share a commitment to helping solve society’s greatest challenges.  Participants connect with the former Presidents and the Cabinet members who served them.