Ms. Andi Mitchell

Executive Director

Andi Mitchell currently serves as the Executive Director of the Mercer Engineering Research Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA, both from Mercer University.  She serves on the Executive Committee of the 21st Century Partnership; served on the Executive Committee of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce as Vice Chairman of Government and Military Affairs, and also served as Chairman of the Middle Georgia Military Affairs Committee (MGMAC).  She is a 2000 graduate of Leadership Warner Robins.

Andi was part of the inaugural team that helped stand up the Central Georgia Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and served as treasurer. She is a member of the Dixie Crow Chapter of the Association of Old Crows; the National Contract Management Association, serving as an officer in several capacities, and has served on the Macon-Bibb County and Robins Regional Military Affairs Committees. She was a member of the Aerospace Industry Committee (AIC), where she served as chairperson in 2002, and served as finance chair for over 5 years.

Mr. Jim Hundley

Sr. Director of Engineering and Programs

Mr. Jim Hundley serves as Senior Director of Engineering and Programs for MERC. He joined MERC after a 33-year Air Force career. His various assignments throughout his Air Force career were either directly involved in EW or in management that delivered the infrastructure necessary for the EW mission to succeed.

Jim as served as lead engineer/unit Chief APR-38 Advanced Wild Weasel, Deputy Chief Systems Division Inter-Command EW Mgt Directorate at Wright Patterson AFB, Chief Information Systems Management and Support Division 1926th Communications Squadron Robins AFB, and multiple assignments in logistics, communications, and information resource management at USAF Headquarters. Jim retired as the Headquarters Air Force Chief Information Officer in March 2008.

Mr. Chuck Pollard

Director of Acquisition Strategy

Chuck serves as the Director of Acquisition Strategy and brings nearly 35 years of program management and analysis experience in many different areas at Robins AFB. Chuck started his career in the Directorate of Distribution, where he was the lead Management Analyst performing industrial engineering studies to implement designs for increased efficiency and effectiveness with materials, machines, and personnel to improve workflow. Chuck’s also served in the C-141 System Program Office (SPO), C-17 Partnership Office, C-17 System Support Management (SSM), and the Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) Contracting Office. During his career in the C-141 SPO, Chuck served as program manager for several weapon system modification programs including the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS). Throughout his tenure in the C-17 Partnership Office and the C-17 SSM, Chuck served as program manager for Depot Activation of C-17 workload. While in AFSC contracting, Chuck served as program manager for Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracts (IDIQ) which provide essential engineering support plus weapon system support. Chuck’s expertise assisted Robins AFB in acquiring critically needed engineering support at Robins AFB. In addition to assisting Robins AFB in obtaining engineering support, Chuck supported DoD gain weapon system, system and sub-system modification, and repair support. The total values of the contracts were in excess of $7 billion. Chuck has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Georgia College & State University.

Edwards headshot

Mr. Daniel Edwards

Technical Director

Daniel serves as the Technical Director for the Fixed Wing and the Software and Cybersecurity product areas at MERC. He supervises a team of 50+ engineers, software developers, and scientists in supporting the Department of Defense and commercial customers. He serves on the board of the Central Georgia Chapter of NDIA, supports the Air Force and industry digital airworthiness transformation efforts, and volunteers with local schools advocating for STEM education.

Daniel graduated from Mercer University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2019. He began his engineering career at MERC in 2002 as an engineering intern before taking a full-time engineering role in 2003. Daniel has spent the majority of his career supporting aircraft structural and mechanical system development and weapon systems integrity programs (MIL-STD-1530D and 1798C), airworthiness and system safety programs (MIL-HDBK-516C and MIL-STD-882E), and flight instrumentation development. His experience covers a variety of aircraft, including the KC-135, C-130 (including SOF variants), F-15, H-60, UH-1, P-8A, and C-5 aircraft. Daniel has authored or co-authored several presentations and articles for the Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) Conference and Aircraft Airworthiness and Sustainment Conference.

Harper headshot

Mr. Brian Harper

Technical Director

In 1997, Brian began his engineering career at EMS Technologies working on satellite components for the XM and Sirius satellite systems. Before joining the MERC team in 2002, Brian worked at a startup fiber optic component company. He now serves a Technical Director over Rotary Wing and Reliability / Logistics programs.

Brian completed a dual degree program in 1995, earning a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Furman University and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.  Brian earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1997. He has 25 years of engineering experience in the areas of structural analysis, mechanical design, and testing of aerospace structures and equipment. He has led the development of several global aircraft finite element models, Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS), and quick-turn analyses to support engineering disposition of in-service airframe issues. His aircraft experience includes H-60 and H-1 variants, C-130, CV-22, and F-15 aircraft. He has co-authored papers and made presentations at various technical conferences including the Vertical Flight Society, Aircraft Structural Integrity Program conference, and Aircraft Airworthiness and Sustainment Conference.

Mr. Gerry Ringe

Technical Director

Gerry serves as the Technical Director for both the Electronic Warfare/Avionics and Mechanical product areas. He supervises a team of engineers, scientists, and analysts in supporting the Department of Defense and commercial customers.

Gerry graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1996 and from Clemson University with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1998, after completing his thesis within the motorsports program.

Prior to joining MERC in 2003, Gerry spent 5 years as an automotive test engineer working for Delphi Automotive Systems and then INA USA. From 2003 to 2018, Gerry supported a variety of MERC efforts including ground support, fixed and rotary wing aircraft maintenance, nondestructive inspection development, corrosion studies, mechanical and aerospace design, industrial engineering, structural testing, reliability engineering, and ergonomics. His experience includes working with the C-130, HH-60, UH-1N, TH-1H, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS), F-15, ground support equipment, WR-ALC maintenance operations, and various commercial aerospace companies.

In 2018, Gerry accepted an automotive engineering opportunity with the Blue Bird Corporation as the Director of Government Specifications and Testing. He supported a team of engineers and technical specialists responsible for state and federal regulation compliance, recall administration, litigation investigations, prototype fabrication, and certification testing. He rejoined MERC in 2021 as a Technical Director.

Mr. Chad deMontfort

Chief Engineer – Rotary Wing

Chad serves as Chief Engineer of the Rotary Wing Product Area, which is comprised of mechanical and aerospace engineers focused on applying advanced methods to solve structural and mechanical system challenges on rotary wing and other systems for Air Force, Navy, and Army customers.

Chad has 15 years of engineering experience in the aerospace and defense sector. He joined MERC in 2011 after positions supporting fleet sustainment for a commercial OEM and with the Armament Branch at Robins Air Force Base. Chad started at MERC in the Mechanical Engineering Division and has supported numerous fixed wing, rotary wing, and ground support equipment platforms. He joined the Rotary Wing Product Area in 2016 and was promoted to Chief Engineer in 2022.

Chad earned his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida in 2007 and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Mr. Steve Fairfield

Chief Engineer - Software and Cybersecurity

Steve serves as the Chief Engineer for the Software and Cybersecurity product area. Steve supervises a team of computer scientists, software engineers, computer engineers, and cybersecurity engineers in the execution of complex software system design, development, certification, and sustainment. His team’s experience includes USAF best-practices in digital engineering categories such as aircraft tracking and business process automation, as well as artificial intelligence/machine learning approaches to aircraft sustainment and process optimization.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Steve has more than 36 years of technical, logistics, program management, and Foreign Military Sales experience in both the military and civilian workforce. Steve joined MERC after serving as a Flight Chief, Section Chief, Branch Chief, and Sustainment System Manager for several U.S. Air Force program offices. As the Information System Owner (ISO) for the F-15C/D/E/EX, Steve led the fleet in efforts to develop and obtain an Authority to Operate (ATO) at the platform level.

Steve has an undergraduate degree in Information Technology from Middle Georgia State University; an MBA specializing in Information Security from DeVry University, and a master of science in Information Technology and a master of science in Cybersecurity from Georgia Tech.

Strunk headshot

Mr. Jonathan Strunk

Chief Engineer - Mechanical

Since 2018, Jonathan has been the Chief Engineer of Mechanical Programs at MERC. He began his career as an intern at MERC in 2003. In 2004, Jonathan earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Mercer University and accepted a full-time engineering role at MERC. In 2010, Jonathan earned a master’s degree in engineering and technical management from Mercer University as well.  In his time at MERC, he has served multiple roles from engineering intern through Senior Engineer and Program Manager.  In his current role of Chief Engineer of the Mechanical product area, he oversees contracts largely involving reverse engineering, tooling development, technical drawings and TOs, prototyping, and testing.

He has been involved in projects ranging from finite element analysis to tooling design, instrumentation, maneuverability testing, structural testing, and reverse engineering. In his 19 years at MERC, Jonathan has gained hands-on experience in composite layup, strain gage installation, data acquisition, and material testing. His project experience has led him to work with bomb loaders and trailers, robotic work cells, many of the U.S. Air Force’s fixed and rotary wing aircraft, aircraft support equipment, and maintenance tooling. He also has experience working with multiple FMS countries, E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS), C-130 (including SOF variants), F-15, A-10, H-60, H-1, KC-135, C-5, and various ground support equipment and vehicles.