2013 Distinguished International Alumni Award Recipient — Col. Paulo Guerra
UCM President Chuck Ambrose, left, and UCM Alumni Association Board President Jennifer Maijala '01 present the 2013 UCM Distinguished International Alumnus Award to Paulo Guerra.
Paulo Guerra '89, the vice major of Caucaia, Brazil, was honored Oct. 25, 2013, when he received the University of Central Missouri Alumni Association's 2013 International Alumnus Award.
The 1989 UCM alumnus has been dedicated to the Brazilian Air Force for more than 30 years, fulfilling leadership positions directed towards the greater interest of his country. While in the Air Force he held a wide range of positions: post graduate professor at the University of Brazilian Air Force, instructor pilot at the Brazilian Air Force Academy and representative of the Flight safety Foundation.
Guerra received his Master of Science in Aviation Safety from UCM in 1989, and then put his experience directly to work. Returning to Brazil, he was appointed vice director of CENIPA, an organization equivalent to the US National Transportation Safety Board. Under his new title, Guerra hoped to apply the knowledge he obtained at UCM and direct it towards the revitalization and improvement of Brazil’s operating systems, more importantly, the prevention of aircraft accidents. With the help from his team of Brazilian Air Force officers, Guerra created the most efficient prevention system of dangerous aircraft situations in Latin America. The creation of this system resulted in the reduction of aircraft accidents by 20% in the first year of execution. “He made the system consistent with the philosophy of prevention of aircraft accidents recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization,” said Lieutenant Brigadier Macedo, who endorsed Guerra for this award. Since then, Brazil has become one of the leaders in aviation safety.
Out of the 12 Medals of Honor Guerra has earned, the Brazilian Air Force presented him the “Medalha do Merito Aeronautico,” a medal referring to his outstanding effort, innovative spirit, professionalism and academic performance at UCM during his 30 years of service. Guerra credits UCM for the valuable curriculum that helped shape him into a successful public speaker. “I speak at national and international conferences held in Chile, Switzerland, England, Argentina and the United States. Without my education at UCM, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Today, Guerra is the vice mayor for the city of Caucaia, Brazil. Guerra’s son, Leandro, was the second generation to attend UCM; he majored in business administration, completed his bachelor degree in 1997 and now works with his father.
“UCM has contributed in a remarkable way for Brazilian aviation to reach safety levels comparable to the levels found in more developed countries."