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
Assistant Vice President

Mary started in the aviation insurance business in 1998 on the broker side with Caledonian. She spent a few years with LAU starting in 2002 as a Policy Issuance Supervisor before testing the broker side one more time. However, she found her way back and rejoined the LAU team in 2012 as a Service Underwriter handling all aspects of each policy including pre-quote, binding, and endorsements. She was promoted to Assistant Vice President in 2014. Mary has both her CAIP and CIC designations. Her favorite part about her job is being a liaison between the underwriters and the agents to make the working partnerships better. Mary enjoys cooking, watching movies, and running in her free time.


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.


Melissa Pelham
Melissa Pelham
Assistant 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.


Underwriters

Cody McCormick
Cody McCormick
Underwriter

Cody has always had a true passion for aviation. He was in the US Army working as a helicopter repairman and crew chief. He also worked as an air traffic control supervisor and FAA helicopter repair station parts manager before making the leap into underwriting. Cody gained much experience during his time at COMAV, AIG, and Britt/Paulk before joining LAU in 2014. In his spare time, he enjoys going for rides on his motorcycle, participating in military classic and black powder shooting sports, and continuing his passion for aviation with radio control aircraft.


Robert Lombardo
Robert Lombardo
Underwriter

Robert is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with his B.S. in Professional Aeronautics and a double minor in Aviation Management and Aviation Safety. He started with AIG in 2001 holding several roles and finished up as a LAD Underwriter. In 2007, Robert joined Travelers Aviation handling industrial aid accounts, and in 2008 he changed over to BrittPaulk/Safehold Special Risk as a Senior Underwriter and Assistant Program Manager. Robert became a part of the LAU team in 2014 as an Underwriter. His favorite part about his job is working in the aviation field. In his free time he enjoys camping, off-road trips, and watching planes at the airport.


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.


Michael Junko
Michael Junko
Service Underwriter

Michael started with LAU in 2011. He works in the pre-quote department to help manage the submissions for the underwriters. He also works in policy issuance confirming all aspects needed for the policy have been included. Michael’s favorite part about his job is the supportive environment that LAU fosters for its employees. In his free time he enjoys singing with the Seattle Men’s Chorus, volunteering for the Lambert House, and cycling.


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.


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

 
Thomas Breuler
Thomas Breuler
Information Technology Systems

Thomas enjoyed time as a professional chef before making the switch to IT as an independent contractor providing technical support for office machines. He started at LAU in 2015 as a Software Developer and enjoys updating his set of skills by identifying the variety of issues that can occur and discovering the multiple ways of resolving them. He has his CompTIA A+, Security+ and Network+ certifications. In his free time, he is a soccer fan, enjoys video games, and considers himself a cinephile.