Team Members

Management

Jeffrey Sutton
Jeffrey Sutton
President/Underwriter

Jeff graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. in Aeronautical Science in 1988. He also has his J.D. from Seattle University School of Law and is a Commercial pilot with his MEI ratings. Upon graduation from ERAU, Jeff started out on the direct writer side with Avemco. He has also held positions at Fidelity & Deposit Company and Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc. Jeff joined LAU in 2005 and quickly proceeded through the ranks to become a Vice President and Claims Manager in 2006 and then finally the President of LAU in 2008. Jeff’s favorite part about his job is working as a team to come up with the vision for LAU’s future and imparting it to the employees. He enjoys spending his spare time with his friends and family, reading, exercising, and playing sports.


Dale Bennett
Dale Bennett
Senior Vice President/Underwriter

Dale is a 1970 graduate of Normandale Junior College and a 1972 graduate of Pacific Lutheran University. He is a Commercial pilot with his CFI, MEI, Seaplane, and Glider ratings. Dale was an Air Traffic Controller at the very congested Minneapolis and Seattle centers before becoming a LAU underwriter in 1982. He was the previous claims manager for LAU and became a Senior Vice President in 1992. Dale’s favorite part about his job is creating the terms and conditions on transition pilots and difficult risks. In his free time, he enjoys playing as much golf as he possibly can.


Mary Palmer
Mary Palmer
Vice President

Mary has over 20 years’ aviation insurance experience in both the broker andunderwriter environments. She has a B.S. in Human Resource Management from WGU Washington as well as the Certified Aviation Insurance Professional(CAIP) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations. Mary endeavors to ensure compliance in many areas at LAU. She also supervises administrative employees including the Service Underwriting team. Mary enjoys cooking, watching movies, and practicing yoga in her free time.


Melissa Pelham
Melissa Pelham
Vice President

Melissa has a B.A. in Finance from Washington State University. She started in policy issuance at LAU in 2004 and learned the aviation insurance industry while working as a Service Underwriter. Melissa is now a LAU Underwriter. She had a brief stint on the broker side but realized quickly that LAU is the place to be. Melissa’s favorite part about her job is that everyday brings something new and different as there is just something unique about each risk. In her spare time she enjoys doing yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.


Brian McGinty
Brian McGinty
Assistant Vice President

Brian began his aviation underwriting path at AVEMCO in 1990 before joining LAU in 1998. He wears many important hats at LAU other than underwriting. Brian submits and follows up with states regarding company rates and forms. Without Brian, LAU would not be able to write aviation insurance in 49 states. Brian’s favorite part about his job is being able to reflect on his mentorship from the founder of LAU, Michael Charlesworth, and using that knowledge to make sure the insureds have the coverages they need. In his spare time, the Washington native enjoys spending quality time with his wife and is very involved with his church.


Underwriters

 
Kathleen Vogel
Kathleen Vogel
Underwriter

Kathleen has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. Following graduation, she worked as a Communications Officer and 911 Dispatcher for the Washington State Patrol. After getting her fill of crashes and emergency situations, for the next 5 years she then was fortunate to work in risk management at Expeditors International Inc. handling claims and becoming a leading member of their cargo insurance brokerage team. In January 2018 she joined our LAU team as one of our Underwriters. From being a fast paced 911 dispatcher, to production driven broker, and then to a conscientious underwriter - Kathleen is surely capable of handling complex situations with a "roll up your sleeves" sort of attitude and a determination to get things done. Kathleen's favorite part of her job is working with one of the most knowledgeable underwriting teams in the Aviation industry to best serve our agents. In her free time she enjoys playing softball, soccer, tennis, gardening, and spending time with her family.


Mike McGinty
Mike McGinty
Underwriter

Michael gained an interest in aviation at a very young age and has pursued a career within aviation ever since. He took specialty aviation classes throughout high school, and then attended Green River College where he studied Aviation Physics and their Professional Pilot Program. Mike was hired on at LAU in 2018 and has stepped up as the youngest underwriter at LAU. Mike enjoys all the challenges that come with underwriting and strives to do his best to help out in any way he can. In his spare time he enjoys spending time outdoors, camping, golfing, or spending time with his friends and family, especially around the fire pit.


Service Underwriters

 
Amanda Hillquist
Amanda Hillquist
Service Underwriter

Amanda started as an intern with LAU in 2001 and the following year she became a full-time part of LAU. Amanda has worked in many departments of the comany including running the front desk and pre-quoting the numerous submissions LAU receives for the underwriters. She now works in policy issuance producing our product for the insureds. In Amanda’s free time she enjoys decorating cakes, completing arts and crafts projects, and being a supportive sports mom to her kids.


Zena Contrades
Zena Contrades
Service Underwriter

Zena began handling personal lines with an insurance company in Hawaii. She moved to Seattle and joined LAU in 2005. Zena started out at the front desk and in policy issuance. She is now a Service Underwriter handling all aspects of each policy including pre-quote, binding, and endorsements. Zena’s favorite part about her job is the unique challenges that can pop up every once in a while that she needs to solve. In her free time, she enjoys taking trips with her husband, playing with her dog, and trying out new recipes to cook.


Assistant Service Underwriters

 
Janet Carpenter
Janet Carpenter
Assistant Service Underwriter

Janet graduated from Brigham Young University Provo with a B.S. in Travel & Tourism and an M.A. in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). She worked in Personal Lines insurance for 15 years in Spokane as an agent. After moving to Western Washington she began working for LAU in 2018 with front desk duties. Her favorite part about her job is the challenge of making sure the moving pieces in her job are done correctly and timely so everyone else can do their jobs. In her free time she enjoys traveling, sewing, crafts, jewelry making, genealogy, and reading.


Claims Administration

 
Anna Jacobs
Anna Jacobs
Claims Administrator

Anna has made it her career to be able to successfully manage the stressful situations that insureds go through during the claim process. She started out at Travelers in 1978 and was also a member at USF&G, Hartford, and Fireman’s Fund handling auto and general liability claims before switching to aviation claims with LAU in 2006. Anna is involved with every aspect of each claim at LAU from start to finish. Her favorite part about working at LAU is working together as a team to achieve a common goal of giving the client excellent service and closing the claim file in a timely manner. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.


Accounting

Sonja Ng
Sonja Ng
Senior Accounting Manager

Sonja graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. degree in business. She worked for over 10 years in the financial/banking industry and began as an intern at LAU while in college. She was hired full time as an Assistant Accounting Administrator after completing her college degree. Sonja is now the Senior Accounting Manager handling all day-to-day operations of the accounting department. She also manages the agency license compliance. In her spare time she enjoys travelling/sightseeing, reading books and magazines, and watching scary movies.


Natalie Sutton
Natalie Galindo
Accounting Administrator

Natalie is a graduate of Green River Community College with two accounting certificates and also received a B.S. from Brigham Young University – Idaho. She started working as a summer intern when she was in high school and college and started full time with LAU in 2012. Natalie began working at the front desk and is currently an Accounting Administrator. She handles our accounts payable and accounts receivable. Her favorite part about her job is getting to dig into the books if something is not adding up and solve the problem. In her free time she enjoys hiking, doing community service, and traveling.


Information Technology

 
Todd Etulain
Todd Etulain
Lead Developer

Growing up in Sitka, Alaska instilled in Todd a deep love of nature. Before graduating from Western Washington University with a degree in Computer Science, he was at times a commercial fisherman, television producer, and drove a truck for Budweiser. 2019 marks his 20th year of designing and building high-end, highly visible websites and applications. He now lives happily with his son and mutant dog Charlie. In addition to solving challenging problems, Todd also enjoys music, all forms of media, studying history, and gardening.


Thomas Breuler
Thomas Breuler
IT Manager

Thomas takes great joy in providing the right hardware, software and security solutions for his London Aviation Underwriter associates. He started at LAU in 2015 and has inhabited a variety of IT roles which involve providing his compatriots with top notch solutions and the least amount of downtime. In his free time, he is a voracious soccer fan, enjoys video games, and considers himself to be the undisputed champion of trivia.