Michael Childers

Board Member & Technology Committee Chair, APEX
Chief Consultant Content & Media Strategy, Lufthansa Systems

With more than 40 years’ experience in inflight entertainment & connectivity, and non-theatrical distribution, Michael has combined 12 years as COO of the first and largest independent content provider in IFE with more than 20 years’ experience in content management and delivery. His current focus is the integration and automation of the IFE content delivery supply chain, content security protocols, and content acquisition and licensing. His specialties include content acquisition and licensing, content management, supply chain integration & automation, and IFEC business modeling and planning.

He has served on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) PED ARC and was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ACCESS Advisory Committee. Michael has been active in WAEA since 1979, and was COO of the first independent content provider in IFE. In 2006 he became CEO of LightStream Communications Group focusing on automation and integration of the content delivery supply chain. He became an independent IFEC consultant in 2000, was Managing Director, Content & Media Strategy, for The IMS Company from 2006 through 2009, and has been Chief Consultant, Content & Media Strategy, for Lufthansa Systems since 2011. During this time he has also been an industry journalist, including two years as Managing Editor of the APEX Newsletter, and as a contributor to EXPERIENCE Magazine, Aircraft Interiors, and others.

In September 2013 he was honored by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) with its Outstanding Contribution Award. He was the seventh recipient of the award since the Association was founded; Sir Richard Branson was the first. Michael is a member of the APEX Board of Directors and chair of its Technology Committee .

Joe Leader

Chief Executive Officer, APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and IFSA (International Flight Services Association)

As CEO of APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) and IFSA (International Flight Services Association) Joe Leader has initiated strategic collaborations for the associations with key industry organizations to advance the interests of participating groups, their members, their customers and their passengers. Partnerships include Aircraft Interiors EXPO, Future Travel Experience, SKIFT, and Global Connected Aircraft Summit. Leader continues to work with members and working groups to improve universal standards, key industry research, and regulatory advocacy.

As passenger experience becomes a growing profit center for airlines, Leader works with senior executives at all of the world’s leading airlines, top industry suppliers, government organizations, and major media groups, to expand APEX’s global industry leadership. A forerunner in aviation and technology, Leader has been a leading executive for more than two decades across technology and aviation companies. Leader holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Emory University, MBA in technology management, and conducted his business Ph.D. research on accelerating technology adoption in aviation.


Jeffrey Goh

Chief Executive Officer, Star Alliance 

As the world’s first global airline alliance, Star Alliance provides smooth transfers across an extensive global network, together with rewards and recognition for high value international travellers.
Previously, Jeffrey Goh held the position as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at the Alliance, with responsibilities spanning human resources, sourcing and fuel-related projects, legal, finance and project management. Before moving to Frankfurt, he had lived in Singapore and Melbourne and held positions at the International Air Transport Association in Montreal and at Beaumont and Son, a leading aviation law firm in London.
He has a doctorate in the principles and policies of regulating airline competition and has published widely in the field of aviation law and regulation.

Stephan Schulte

Strategy Manager, Lufthansa Group / Lufthansa Technik 

Stephan has almost 12 years of experience in the aviation industry, with a focus on inflight entertainment and connectivity, plus several years in other industries. Previously, he served as an engineer for rail vehicles for Siemens’ North American market and was a researcher in the automotive industry at the Institute of Electrical Machines, Aachen University of Technology. Stephan has also served as a Professor for Electrical Engineering at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

He served as Co-Chairman of EUROCAE/RTCA WG99/SC234 on “new guidelines for PEDs on board commercial airplanes” for the Lufthansa Group. Now he co-chairs the APEX Connectivity Working Group (CWG).

Call for Contributions

The APEX Technology Committee is issuing a Call for Contributions to the following sessions at the APEX TECH conference, 29-30 January 2019 at the Los Angeles Marriott LAX:

  • Cloud Processing: The APEX Technology Committee is reviewing content delivery solutions in the Cloud, and is looking for panelists and speakers who can speak to their experience in the implementation or development of such solutions. The Committee has received a Case Study involving encoding/transcoding in the Cloud, and is open to further case studies, or implementation involving Content Integration in the Cloud, and Content Delivery to the Aircraft in the Cloud.
  • Advertising Delivery: The Advertising Delivery Working Group (ADWG) is developing specifications for a new approach to advertising sales and delivery, including solutions for programmatic buying/selling. APEX’s ARC will discuss the business models around the new methodologies and ADWG is dealing with the supply chain and technological implementations.
  • MPEG-DASH Panel: MPEG-DASH has become the codec of choice for video streaming, and numerous IFE suppliers are using it in their solutions. A panel will discuss whether the time has come to codify an IFE profile for this codec.
  • New Security Requirements for HD & HDR Content/Versatile Video Codec in IFE: The APEX 0415 Part 2 Working Group is developing new security guidelines to enable the IFE community to comply with studio requirements for securing High Definition and High Dynamic Range content. The WG will also discuss whether it is time to bypass HEVC and AV1 and move directly into the new VVC codec in IFE. Expertise in these areas will be welcomed.
  • Connectivity Working Group (CWG): The CWG will discuss issues related to its objective to develop the means by which airlines can measure connectivity solutions from a passenger perspective. CWG is working with the Seamless Air Alliance in this effort. WG participants and session contributions will be gratefully considered.
  • Emerging Technologies: Blockchain and Biometrics: The APEX Technology Committee is working to advance the use of biometrics in the passenger experience, and to identify various areas in which blockchain technology can be used in this industry. Ideas for session content, and volunteers for speaking and panel positions will be considered.

Both airline and supplier perspectives on these issues and topics are welcome. Speakers, panelists and Case Studies will be considered by the Technology Committee Leadership Team. Contributions must be focused on the technologies involved, with some perspective on business models, but sales and marketing presentations are not permitted. Many of these topics will be considered again in the Spring APEX TECH. If interested, please reach out to: nblackshear@apex.aero.