We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Cranfield Aerospace and Aviation Alumni Awards.

In partnership with Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, these awards recognise the exceptional achievements of our aerospace and aviation alumni while showcasing the global impact of Cranfield University.

Meet your 2023 Distinguished Aerospace Alumni Award winner

Dwayne Lucas RCAF BGen (retd), PEng, OMM, CD2 (MSc Aircraft Design 1980)

Vice President - Special Projects at the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada (AIAC) 

Dwayne Lucas

BGen (retd) Dwayne Lucas is a highly influential and experienced aerospace leader. He has had an illustrious career in both the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Canadian civil aerospace industry.

Dwayne culminated his 35-year RCAF career, which included operational tours and headquarters roles, as the COS Personnel, Training and Support and the DG Aerospace Equipment which included the RCAF technical airworthiness authority. He was the VP of Americas for the Conseil International Sport Militaire (CISM) during this time.

Following his military career, Dwayne joined Cascade Aerospace as the EVP/COO where he helped transform the company into an accomplished engineering and maintenance operation. He then went on to focus on R&D in his role as the Western Director for the Consortium of Aerospace Research and Innovation Canada (CARIC) helping develop projects with industry. In 2019 he assumed his current role as Vice President – Special Projects for AIAC where he is focused on advancing Canada’s Aerospace Vision for the future. He also privately consults with several aerospace companies on strategy and business development.

Dwayne is a proud supporter and advocate of Cranfield University. In 2022, he supported a week-long visit of the PVC SATM and DoT Aerospace to Canada, opening doors to both academia and business organisations, demonstrating his influence and reinforcing his deep knowledge and strategic vision for the aerospace sector in Canada.


Meet the 2023 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates winner

Edward Anastassacos (MSc Astronautics and Space Engineering 2014)

CEO and Co-founder at HeroTech8

Edward Anastassacos

Edward Anastassacos is a passionate and well-respected engineer who has worked on guidance, navigation and control systems for spacecraft and unmanned vehicles. He is at the forefront of drone technology.

As CEO and Co-founder, Edward leads business strategy and partnership development and fundraising activities for HeroTech8. HeroTech8 now have offices in UK, France and US and their drones are used all over the globe by border control, airport security, construction, police and emergency services. They have also conducted a trial over two days with Milton Keynes University Hospital transporting medical supplies across the hospital site from the Pathology Unit and Saxon Clinic. 

Edward has a diverse work experience across multiple industries. His career highlights include Airbus Defence and Space, where he worked as a Guidance, Navigation, and Control specialist, Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd working as a Systems Engineer, and at Transport Systems Catapult as a Senior Systems Engineer. 

His career achievements have also included leading a number of UK Government’s UAS programmes, managing the UK Drone Pathfinder and the Open UAS Traffic Management initiatives. 

Meet the 2023 Distinguished Aviation Alumni Award winner

Dr Peter Kearney (MSc Human Factors and Safety Assessment 2012, PhD in Transport Systems 2021)

Chief Executive Officer at AirNav Ireland

Peter KearneyDr Peter Kearney is a strategically focused aviation, safety and transportation executive who has an outstanding record of delivering top-line results while driving down cost and operational risks.

Prior to his current role, Peter was CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) where he was responsible for ensuring that the IAA delivers a best-in-class service to its customers and stakeholders. 

As Director of ATM Operations and Strategy of the IAA between 2012 and 2018, Peter was responsible for all aspects of the IAA’s commercial Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP) business. In this role, he ensured that the IAA continued to deliver a safe, high-quality service whilst also growing the IAA’s commercial revenue in a sustainable manner.

Peter places innovation at the core of his leadership, he was a key advocate of the IAA’s successful Remote Towers Project (which won the Single European Sky Award in 2017) and was heavily involved in Aireon, the IAA’s investment in the world’s first satellite-based air traffic surveillance system.

Peter’s work and academic background were acknowledged by EASA when he was asked to chair the European Union Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA’s) Air Traffic Controllers (ATCO) Plan Steering Group. The Steering Group is tasked with inputting into EASA’s deliberation on its ATCO Licensing Action Plan which has strategic objectives to improve flexibility on ATCO qualifications and licencing schemes, review operational needs, and the evolution of ATCO licencing. He has also been a panellist at the annual EASA Safety Conference. 



Meet the 2023 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aviation Graduates winner

Emilia Apostu (MSc Air Transport Management 2019)

Regulations and Standards Specialist at TUI Airline Ground Operations

Emilia ApostuEmilia Apostu is a proactive safety professional cited for her unwavering passion and enthusiasm, as well as her dedication to getting the work done in the best possible way.

Emilia worked as an intern within a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation in her home country of Romania and in the highly prestigious role of Strategy and Safety Management graduate trainee for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne prior to studying at Cranfield University.

After leaving Cranfield, Emilia joined Virgin Atlantic as a Corporate Safety Analyst and was subsequently promoted to Specialist – Safety Data and Management Systems Development. In September 2021, she was appointed as the Aviation and Corporate Safety Risk Manager for
Volocopter GmbH – a German aircraft manufacturer which specialises in the design of electric multirotor helicopters in the form of personal air vehicles, designed for air taxi use before joining TUI as a Ground Operations Regulations and Standards Specialist.

Emilia continues to support Cranfield through the delivery of inspirational guest lectures and is active in volunteering – she has been Programme Director for the Bucharest branch of Soroptimist International of Europe, an organisation devoted to eliminating violence against women and girls and ensuring women’s participation in conflict resolution.