Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® Announces Executive Director Retirement, Staff Promotions - New Board of Directors Officers and Appoints New Board Members
February 8, 2023
Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®, a private nonprofit corporation, has announced new leadership of its volunteer board of directors for 2023.
Judith Nakamura has been elected president, taking over for Al Tetreault, who served as president for the past year. Judith was elected to the Balloon Fiesta Board in 2011. Her interest and enthusiasm for ballooning began during the 2003 Balloon Fiesta when she attended a mass ascension while visiting friends. Soon after, Judy obtained her hot air balloon pilot license and continues to fly balloons today. Judy also served the community on the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court for 15 years, including 11 years as the Court’s Chief Judge. In December 2015, Judy was appointed to the Supreme Court of New Mexico. In 2017, Judy was elected to serve as Chief Justice, becoming the fourth woman to serve in the Court’s 108-year history. During her tenure on the court, she was named Judge of the Year by the Albuquerque Bar Association, received the University of New Mexico’s Zia Award recognizing distinguished alumni, and was the recipient of the National Mothers Against Drunk Driving President’s Award for her efforts to reduce DWI.
The board elected Neil Jackson as Vice-President, Mark Sullivan as Secretary, and Dick Rice as treasurer. Neil Jackson was elected to the Balloon Fiesta Board in 2017. His ballooning experience as both a commercial hot air balloon pilot and a spectator, provide the basis for his involvement with Balloon Fiesta. Neil is an owner of Albuquerque based Mountain States Constructors, Inc.
Two new board members were elected for 2023-2024. Peg Billson, the current Assistant Balloon Meister and Tania Armenta, President & CEO of Visit Albuquerque. Peg Billson has been volunteering for Fiesta for the past 7 years as a Launch Director, Safety Officer, Pilot and Assistant Ballonmeister. Peg’s career spanded 35 years across all aspects of the the Aviation Industry and she currently serves on the board of two publicly traded multi-national companies. Tania Armenta has been with Visit Albuquerque for 24 years and has led the organization for the last seven years. Due to her tenure with Visit Albuquerque, she has also been involved with Balloon Fiesta for the last 24 years. Tania serves on several tourism and non-profit boards both nationally and locally.
Other Balloon Fiesta board members include: JR Allison, Ray Bair, Gary D. Bennett, Jay Czar, John Davis, Barbara Fricke, Jim Garcia, Matt Guthrie, Steve Komadina, Jeff Lawrence, Rod May, Tom McConnell, Doug Schwebach, Harry T. Season, Jr., John Sena, Al Tetreault, Bill Walker, and Ty Young.
About the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual festival of hot air balloons that takes place every October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It is the largest gathering of balloons and balloonists in the world. For details on events, schedule, entertainment and photographs visit our website www.balloonfiesta.com and follow us on Twitter @BalloonFiesta and Facebook.