FBO Director of Sales
When Anthony Banome visits children’s hospitals as part of his brother’s Humble Heroes initiative, he dresses as Tony Stark, the genius inventor better known as the superhero Iron Man. It’s an appropriate alter-ego for the analytics-minded New Yorker who is always looking to solve what he describes as the “Rubik’s Cube” of industry challenges. “I’m driven by figuring out where inefficiencies are in the system and eliminating them, because that’s how you deliver a better product,” Banome said. As his career has taken off, sending him from Teterboro, NJ, down to Miami, FL, he has embraced the full-throttle, “no two days are the same” pace of business aviation. “Time is the most valuable commodity in this industry,” he says. “It’s about executing your responsibilities in the quickest way possible with no shortcuts, and that means being prepared for anything.”
Director of Business Development
Aircraft Management Clay Lacy Aviation
There are many ways for aspiring aviation professionals to discover business aviation – through colleagues, mentors or message boards. For Barber, aviation was always a passion since childhood, but it was business aviation that lured him in. “My college campus was near Van Nuys Airport. It was like a homing beacon.” Barber used his student credentials to arrange informational interviews with a number of business leaders in Van Nuys, which ultimately paid off with an ad hoc internship. He has since established deep roots in the industry through involvement in NBAA’s Local and Regional Groups and Business Aviation Management Committees. Barber has also served as chairman as the Southern California Aviation Association, where he provides career guidance to students through outreach events. “If someone pays it forward to you, you owe to others, so I always feel that drive to help,” he said.
Lecturer, Center for Aviation Studies
The Ohio State University
Adam Beckman teaches aviation coursework, introduces students to business aviation and has been instrumental in the creation of a new, FAA-approved aircraft dispatch program that launched in the fall 2018 semester. Beckman hopes to continue bringing more aviation programs to OSU, and he recently published a book, “Man and Machine,” which tells the story of Jimmy Doolittle, the Granville Brothers and the Gee Bee R-1 Racer. Beckman has also participated in the NBAA mentorship program and is a firm believer in the importance of mentorship for the continued success and vitality of the business aviation industry. Beckman enjoys being in business aviation because of “the increasing diversity in the workforces and the ability to do whatever you want within the industry and move around within companies as new opportunities present themselves.”
WILLIAM “BILLY” BOHLKE
Owner and Chief Pilot
Bohlke International Airways
When hurricanes battered Bohlke’s native Caribbean last year, the scion of “St Croix’s First Family of Flight” didn’t just coordinate months of round-the-clock relief efforts – he also personally flew more than 320 humanitarian missions. “For 100 days straight, we averaged at least one medical airlift a day,” he remembers. Bohlke, a preternaturally energetic former collegiate track star, has led his family’s third-generation FBO to new heights, including the top ranking for Caribbean FBOs the last three years. When not overseeing operations for the 50-employee business, he also finds time to fly company missions, serve in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, provide strategic support for AeroMD Air Ambulance service and run ultramarathons such as the aptly-named Tortola Torture. “I’ve been told I have somewhat of a dynamic lifestyle,” he laughs. “What can I say? It’s neat to be involved in something so integral to our global society.”
Director of Product Marketing
When it comes to aviation workforce development, Lee Brewster knows better than most how important it is to get in front of students early. As a career advisor for a Part 147 school, she was shocked by how little presence business aviation had on campus. “Our students had no idea it existed. It was amazing to me that nobody came to talk to them about options and careers in business aviation.” Workforce development has since become a passion for Brewster, whose irrepressible personality and technical chops make her a perfect industry ambassador. From being the driver behind the creation of skillset-identifying avionics certifications to spearheading talent development programs as chair of the NBAA Maintenance Conference, she’s dedicated to identifying pathways for technicians. “Working with people who are so passionate about aviation and using their knowledge to benefit the next wave of technicians is incredibly rewarding,” she said.
NEIL EVERETT CAPANO
Capano was a self-described “airline route nerd” growing up and enjoys helping his clients conduct efficient business operations in multiple capacities. He strives to become a de facto part of each flight department he works with and is always on call. Capano is an FAA-certified aircraft dispatcher and an aviation consultant with Air Transport Business Development, Inc., assisting startup flight organizations take off. Capano actively fights airspace encroachment efforts in the Los Angeles basin, especially at Santa Monica Municipal Airport. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Capano mentors aviation students and encourages them to explore business aviation by explaining the variety of career opportunities available to them. He emphasizes the collaborative community in business aviation and works hard to increase awareness of the industry. “NBAA’s YoPro initiative is here to take the baton from the older generation and use their passion to invest in the future of private aviation,” he said.
Safety Manager/International Captain
For Catrina Capistrant, business aviation isn’t just a job – it’s a lifestyle. She’s been enamored with the industry’s problem-solving challenges and intimate teamwork since being introduced to it by a mentor. “Finding your place here really parallels your experiences in life,” she said. “When you figure out what you really value and find a team that’s a perfect fit, it’s extremely rewarding.” When she’s not flying as captain of a Gulfstream G650, Capistrant is helping pave the way for the next generation of aviators. She established a Women in Aviation chapter while working in Cleveland, OH, where she hosted student outreach programs and provided guidance to aspiring aviation professionals. “I’m lucky that when I’m faced with challenges or things to celebrate, I have people in this industry to share that with,” she said. “It’s important to me that we support each other and are there to share in those experiences.”
Contract Flight Attendant
Jennifer Ciotta is nothing if not meticulous. The former editor brings that same attention to detail to everything she does, whether it’s memorizing details about a demo aircraft or writing detailed debriefs about passengers’ flight experiences to ensure their preferences are noted for the future. When not on duty, Ciotta enjoys her involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a program she recommends to industry colleagues because of its flexibility for people who have busy schedules. She’s also published a novel and looks forward to writing again, a fitting project for someone who thrives at tackling tough tasks. “What I love about this industry is the challenge,” she said. “You’re thrown in deep waters all the time and have to figure things out. As a result, you learn something new every single trip.”
Director of Charter Sales
Jetstream Aviation, Inc.
Corcoran oversees departmental activities and marketing, manages owners’ accounts and schedules flights. After studying chemistry and pre-med in college, she was placed at an FBO in Seattle by a temp agency and never looked back. Corcoran is on the board of directors of the Pacific Northwest Business Aviation Association (PNBAA) where she manages the association’s membership renewals, marketing goals and communications efforts. She served as the president of the Pacific Rim Schedulers and Dispatchers Association for three years before it merged with PNBAA. Additionally, Corcoran planned and hosted the first NBAA YoPro networking event in Seattle, the purpose of which was to encourage young professionals in aviation to seek out mentors in the industry. “My favorite part of business aviation is making the world more accessible.”
Base Operations at Page Field
Over the past five years, Croop has helped grow operations and revenues for this FBO, which is located at Page Field (KFMY) in Fort Myers, FL. Her passion is educating the community about the economic and social benefits of general and business aviation. Croop organizes Aviation Day, a community event that draws an average of 5,000 people annually. She is also responsible for hosting STEM-focused school and camp tours at the airport throughout the year to expose youth to potential careers in aviation. Croop’s promotional strategies have helped her team earn high rankings in several industry pilot surveys. “I thrive on challenging work and finding new ways to approach things, and this industry provides me with opportunities to do so. The best thing about working in business aviation is the people. They are always willing to help and teach each other.”
Northern Jet Management
Drolema executes the financial strategy and manages its financial controls for the organization’s chapter in Grand Rapids, MI. With a focus on the customer experience, she works with clients to manage aircraft operation costs, contracts, maintenance and sales. Drolema had several mentors who helped her succeed in her career and taught her about business strategy. She recognizes these relationships as vital to her career and, as a result, helped set up formal mentorship programs in Michigan. She is a NBAA YoPro Council member and organized a NBAA YoPro meetup in Michigan. Drolema is also a member of Women in Aviation International and is working to revitalize that organization’s chapter in Great Lakes, MI. “You’re never done learning in this industry, and getting someone to see the value and time savings in investing in business aviation is rewarding to me.”
Apex Executive Jet Center
Once Kyle Eiserer got a taste of FBO management, he knew it was for him. Beyond the satisfaction of helping businesses grow, he relishes getting hands-on with so many operational components. “Every day is a little different, whether I’m visiting with prospects, following up with our base tenants, interacting with the airport, working on the line if need be,” he said. “It’s part of what excites me – the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the FBO.” Despite his many responsibilities, Eiserer got involved in the ATC privatization debate. As president of the Kansas City Business Aviation Association, he worked with NBAA and local industry representatives to lead a grassroots advocacy campaign against the proposed legislation. “Since that experience, I’ve been in awe of how our political environment is intertwined with daily lives. It showed me you really can have a positive impact on something you believe in.”
Desert Jet Center
Brad Elliott knows how important it is to mentor the next generation. The FBO general manager learned the ins and outs of business aviation working under NBAA Doswell Award winner and longtime FBO executive Bob Showalter, an experience that left a lasting impression. “Bob and Kim Showalter were really eager to help the young people grow in the industry, and I feel strongly about keeping that going,” he said. Whether taking industry up-and-comers under his wing, coordinating charitable flights or providing operational guidance as a Bahamas Flying Ambassador, Elliott has never forgotten the value in giving back to others. “My career in this industry has been such an incredible ride so far,” he said. “It’s great to be able to pay it forward.”
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, Jared Grindstaff was a floor care technician hungry to carve out a career in his dream industry. He satisfied that hunger by obtaining a commercial pilot license, CFII and type ratings for four different aircraft. “Aviation has always been a passion of mine,” he said. “I was lucky to have a flight instructor take me under his wing, and he helped me progress my career into flying.” Grindstaff has made sure to pass his good fortune on. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last year, he sprang into action to coordinate donations and delivery and distribution of supplies. He and his copilot made 23 trips to the hurricane-ravaged island. “We were able to hand deliver supplies to people whose families didn’t even know they were okay,” he recalls. “To be part of that experience is something I’ll never forget.”
Hague focuses her aviation law practice on business jet transactions, airport law, and FAA, DOT and IRS regulatory compliance. She completed the Part 141 professional pilot program at Kansas State University and continued on to law school, where she tied her two passions together. Following law school, she studied in Europe and earned an LL.M. in International and European Tax Law. Prior to joining Jetlaw, LLC, Hague worked in-house for a Part 135 charter operator and aerial mapping operation. She gained experience in airport operations and management while working for an airport authority at a major general aviation airport. Today, Hague represents Fortune 500 companies, high-net-worth individuals, and some of the largest charter operators in the world. Hague co-authors Jetlaw’s FAR/AIM Explained book series and is a frequent speaker at industry events. “What sets me apart from other attorneys is my work experience in the business aviation industry.”
Manager, Charter Management Team
Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.
Whether managing a short-notice mission as the operations manager of a 24/7 trip support services team, advocating for clearer regulations or organizing soccer camp, this 14-year industry veteran places a premium on collaboration. Hartley’s work as an intermediary between regulatory agencies and operators for programs such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme has resulted in European member states establishing streamlined reporting and compliance mechanisms. “We’re helping operators to comply and avoid penalties, and sometimes that involves telling regulators, ‘Here’s a way we can do this more efficiently.’” Hartley brings the same spirit of teamwork when participating in the Kick Diabetes Soccer Camp (kickdiabetes.org) with friends. Established in honor of a high school teammate who passed away from complications of juvenile diabetes, the program has raised more than $20,000 for the American Diabetes Association while growing from 10 campers the first year to more than 60 this past summer.
Business aviation is a family matter for Corey Hobbs. Immersed in the industry from an early age through his pilot father, Hobbs knew it was the exact right fit for his personality. “What I love most about business aviation is the family feel to your job,” he said. “You get to know everybody on a personal level, from coworkers to the passengers, and that really makes for a great working environment.” So far in his distinguished career, Hobbs has flown over 6,000 hours, earned six type ratings (including one for the Gulfstream G650ER he currently flies) and has extensive international experience, including travel to six of seven continents. He continues to challenge himself – earning his Certified Aviation Manager credential is a current goal – and seeking ways to become more involved in the industry through conferences and professional groups.
Co-Owner/Founder and Executive President
UAS International Trip Support
When Husary founded UAS International Trip Support at age 21, it was the beginning of an amazing journey. Immersed in flight from an early age due to his father Hisham, a pioneer of Middle Eastern aviation, the new company gave Husary the opportunity to become a major aviation player of his own. “It has always been a passion for me to follow the footsteps of my father,” he said. UAS now has four headquarters in Houston, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Dubai, and ground presence in an additional 23 global locations. In addition to overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations, Husary sits on the board of directors for the non-profit International Aviation Services Organization and is involved in a variety of philanthropic efforts. “The most rewarding part for me is being able to facilitate emergency flights by providing critical services on time and at the best quality possible,” he said.
Jabour began his career in the aviation insurance industry during his last semester of college. He has been an aviation insurance broker ever since. His current role as sales executive for AirSure Limited is driven by competition and includes sales, risk management and consulting. In addition, he is the broker for the State of Texas Aviation Insurance Program. Jabour participates in the NBAA YoPro program and advocates for business aviation through regional and national associations. He recently earned his private pilot’s license. Josh enjoys flying to different airports in his Cherokee 140 and continuing to learn how various aspects of aviation work for his clients. “Aviation is a strong industry. Overwhelmingly, we deal with such a great group of people in this industry. When I was starting, I got a lot of great insight from people who have been doing this for years, which has helped me to get where I am today in my career.”
Van Wall Equipment
Lambert loves bringing like-minded people together, so it’s no surprise business aviation proved to be a perfect outlet for his aviation dreams. “My favorite part about this industry is that the people using business aircraft tend to be driven and focused on achieving success,” he said. “I love being a part of that kind of hard-working environment.” Lambert is equally passionate about connecting the aviation professionals in his region. Inspired by the strained communication between two new flight departments, Lambert created a Central Iowa Pilots group on Facebook three years ago. Now up to 440 members, it provides a valuable way for members of the aviation community to network. “It’s very active and just a great way to get to know each other,” he said.
BizAv Young Talent Initiative
Business aviation has few advocates as passionate as Kate Latis. This past year, she spearheaded the BizAv Young Talent Initiative, a collaborative project with the Canadian Business Aviation Association that connects the country’s young professionals. Her passion for sharing the opportunities available within the industry comes partly from her own experience. “When I was planning my career, I didn’t even know business aviation existed,” she admits. “But once I got into the industry and saw how dynamic, fast-paced and exciting it is, I fell in love with it.” Concerned that business aviation was being overlooked in aerospace workforce discussions, Latis helped launch a division of ICAO’s Next Generation of Aviation Professionals focused solely on business aviation. She has also been a volunteer with Elevate Aviation, helping raise awareness of aviation careers available to women through the networking event, and is a co-chair of the 2019 Canadian Women in Aviation Conference.
Sales and Marketing Specialist
Fargo Jet Center
As Fargo Jet Center braced for a busy weekend of traffic heading to the Super Bowl in nearby Minneapolis, the staff of the North Dakota FBO knew they could count on Mahler to keep everything organized. Mahler is the company’s go-to person for keeping track of its many records, but her talents go far beyond administration. On any given day, she may be helping as a scheduler in the charter department, designing and launching new websites, crafting graphic designs or scheduling events across the world. Mahler manages an extensive event marketing program for the company, coordinating promotional activities at more than 25 events throughout the U.S. and Europe. When she’s not being a jack of all trades, she volunteers weekly as a dog walker at a local shelter. Mahler has also been a member of NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee, including serving as the committee’s current co-chair.
ALEX MARKS, CAM
Timing is everything, something that Alex Marks knows better than most. Back in 2008, when he graduated from Purdue University, he arrived in the job market just in time for the worst worldwide economic downturn since the Great Depression. “The uncertainty was tough,” he recalled. “There just wasn’t much out there.” After his plan to become an airline pilot fell apart, a professor put him in contact with a business aviation outfit in Atlanta. The industry turned out to be a perfect fit for Marks’ eclectic professional appetite. He embraced learning about the diverse experiences within aviation operations, such as finance and management, ultimately earning his MBA and Certified Aviation Manager credential while flying full-time as a captain. “Business aviation gives you the opportunity to broaden your professional horizons,” he said. “You can do just about anything in this industry if you work hard.”
Attorney, Office of the General Counsel
Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.
Martin came to aviation after law school and now provides legal support to several teams at Spirit, focusing on finance, facilities, logistics and supply chain management. Mentors and role models throughout her career taught her customer service skills, the importance of attention to detail, and the value of creating and maintaining a collaborative work environment. Martin is an active member of various civic organizations and is involved in the aviation community in Wichita, KS. She served as a trustee on the board of the Kansas Aviation Museum, where she helped raise money to preserve aviation history and promote aviation throughout Kansas. “I didn’t choose aviation; aviation picked me. It found me, and I’ve never looked back. I can’t imagine being in an industry other than aviation because everyone across our industry is engaged to make aviation succeed.”
Latitude 33 Aviation
Perez began his career in aviation after serving in the military for more than a decade. He utilized G.I. Bill benefits to attend flight school and was able to complete his training within two years, while also working part time to recruit veterans into aviation. Perez’s mentor in flight school set high performance standards for him, giving him a strong foundation, which helped him launch his career in aviation. He enjoys the emphasis on customer service and the cohesive, team-based professional environment that business aviation offers, as well as the opportunity to travel to new destinations around the world. “I just really enjoy aviation, and this has been a job I didn’t know I could have. This has been an incredible opportunity. I wake up every morning and love what I do, and I love being able to share that with others.”
MARY POIRIER, CAM
Corporate Pilot/Safety Manager
Jackson National Life Insurance
For Poirier, there was never any question about her career path: business aviation had everything she wanted. “I love the family atmosphere,” she said. “I get to know people on a personal level, and we fly interesting trips around the world. It’s a dream job.” Poirier has embraced the ability to take on diverse responsibilities, including developing and maintaining a safety management system that meets International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations Stage 3. She is also passionate about introducing young people to aviation’s opportunities through her work with the West Michigan Business Aircraft Association and Women in Aviation. This past year, she helped organize the inaugural Women in Aviation Careers Symposium. “It’s great to share my story with them so they can hear about a woman who has a career in aviation and loves it, that it’s possible to fly while having a family and raising kids,” she said.
Founder and CEO
Quiocho is a four-time entrepreneur in business aviation and a decorated combat veteran who served for 15 years in the U.S. Army and National Guard, where he flew UH60 Black Hawks. He is active within NBAA, serving as the YoPro Council chair and a member and co-captain of the Workforce Development Strategic Focus Team. As the leader of OFFLAND Media, Quiocho partners with businesses to grow their online authority and increase revenue. He applies best practices from other industries to business aviation, specializing in digital content and strategies that engage today’s modern consumer. Quiocho plans to take his CAM exam this year. “I truly believe that I get to work in the most incredible industry. To me, business aviation is the apex industry to be in. We constantly push the limits of what’s possible. That’s why I love bringing brands to life and sharing it with the world.”
Galley Support Innovations
When Gina Radke attended her first NBAA-BACE after starting her aircraft interior hardware company, it was instantly clear that business aviation was a good fit for her entrepreneurial mindset. “I love business,” she says, “And I love that businesses aviation saves time, saves money and allows for face-to-face business to be done without the three-day travel period,” she said. When Radke isn’t drafting contracts or traveling worldwide to meet her customers, she’s likely giving back to the community. As a trade advisor for the International Industry Trade Advisory Committee, she works to ensure that the interests of small businesses are represented in trade policy. In her home state of Arkansas, she promotes aviation around the state and advocates for young people who age out of the foster system. “I’m always trying to make sure the little guy doesn’t get trampled on,” she says.
Founder and Owner
Ramjet Aviation, Inc.
Ramsden started washing airplanes when he was 18 years old and always wanted to learn about the sales side of the aviation business. At 25, he founded Ramjet Aviation, which focuses on acquisition, sale and appraisal of business aircraft, with more than 150 transactions to date. Ramsden is an ASA Accredited Senior Aircraft Appraiser and is the president of the South Florida Business Aviation Association (SFBAA). He has also served on NBAA’s Local and Regional Group Committee and is a NBAA Silk Scarf Award recipient. Ramsden gives back to the industry through the SFBAA by creating multiple scholarships for college students who are pursuing careers in aviation. He also works with the Make a Wish Foundation and Angel Flight to serve the larger community and help people in need. “One of my big goals now is getting students involved in aviation, especially focusing on high school and college students.”
Aircraft Maintenance Technician
Working on cars and lawnmowers in her father’s garage gave Anna Romer a knack for fixing things. The question of where she would use her talents professionally was quickly answered by the business aircraft soaring near her Minnesota A&P school. “The beauty of it stuck with me,” she said. Business aviation has been a perfect fit for Romer, who was recently promoted to crew chief on a Gulfstream G280. She’s fully engaged in her craft, joining industry committees and leading her flight department on an International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling audit. While serving as scholarship chair and director for the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance, she grew the scholarship program by more than $150,000. “I appreciate how it’s such a personal industry. You know the people who are flying on the aircraft, and you really feel like you’re helping the business thrive by doing what you love.”
Rowden started out as a guest service representative in 2005 after pursuing a degree in education. She quickly rose through the ranks due to her exceptional customer service skills and enthusiasm for business aviation. Rowden wears many hats in her current role and is routinely on the front lines helping everyone on her team with projects focused mainly on aircraft, passenger and crew services. She is also heavily involved in educational outreach efforts for Women in Aviation International, has been a member of the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Committee and works with several professional organizations outside of the business aviation industry. “I love the fact that the industry is always changing, and it all boils down to people and collaboration. The relationships that we build every day are absolutely integral to everything that we do in this industry.”
FBO/CRS 145 Sales & Marketing Manager
National Jets, Inc.
Persistence paid off for Christopher Salley. Unceremoniously thrust into the workforce during the peak of the global recession, he took fate into his own hands by tirelessly networking at NBAA-BACE to break into the industry. The value of forming those professional relationships – and maintaining them – has stuck with Salley as his career has progressed. “I focused on people and connections, seeing if I could learn from others in the industry. That’s how I’ve been able to make it work,” he said. As Salley continues to make his mark in business aviation, including serving as board vice president for the South Florida Business Aviation Association, he’s taken on local political issues, such as Florida’s aircraft sales tax and the effects of temporary flight restrictions on aviation businesses. “If I can help start a dialogue on these issues, that can be a huge step toward positive action,” he said.
When Cyrus Sigari offers advice on starting a business, it’s wise to listen. Under his leadership, jetAVIVA, the company he co-founded at 23, has become a top light-jet sales organization. “Look for non-linear tailwinds,” he advises aspiring entrepreneurs. “Not just building a better mousetrap, but sensing any outside forces moving the industry in a certain direction.” It’s easy to believe someone whose resume includes selling 50 Eclipse 500s in one year, competing in grueling Ironman Triathlons, and leading development on PhostrEx, the first newly certified aircraft fire-suppression system in 60 years. Sigari isn’t the type to get nostalgic, however; there’s still so much to accomplish. “It’s a really exciting time to be in aviation,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for entrepreneurs and younger folks to get involved and have a big impact on the future of the industry.”
Dallas Area Flight Department
Simmonds has worked in Part 91 and Part 135 operations as a pilot, operational control duty manager, safety officer and internal auditor for the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). He holds an ATP certificate with multiple type ratings in jet aircraft. He has experience flying for an EMS company, instructing at FlightSafety International and working in law enforcement. Simmonds is an operations director on the North Texas Business Aviation Association’s board of directors and is the chairman of the NBAA Domestic Operations Committee’s Part 135 Subcommittee. Simmonds encourages aviation professionals to get involved in professional organizations and seek out industry mentors. “I think mentorship is important because that’s how I found out about business aviation. I love being able to give back to the industry that has given me so much. I feel like I’m a product of professional networking and people taking a chance on me.”
Marketing & Client Relations Manager
Chantilly Air, Inc.
Caleb Stitely loves never fully knowing what awaits him each day. Whether his calendar calls for meeting clients to find solutions for their flight needs, crafting national marketing campaigns, overseeing the company’s web presence or formulating business development strategies, one thing is certain – there are no dull days. “Things can change in a minute in this industry,” he said. The dynamic pace of a business aviation career has come naturally to Stitely. He effortlessly juggles his responsibilities at Chantilly Air, the Virginia-based aviation services company, with industry leadership as chairman of the Greater Washington Business Aviation Association (GWBAA) Safety Committee, where he’s organized the group’s three most recent Safety Standdown events. Stitely is also involved in planning GWBAA charitable events benefiting the Corporate Angel Network. “There are no limits to the opportunities within business aviation,” he said. “You can get involved and make a difference in so many different ways.”
Director of Aircraft Sales & Acquisitions
As chairman of legislative affairs for the Colorado Aviation Business Association, Chris Swathwood has embraced the opportunity to set the record straight about business aviation. “I had no desire to ever get into politics,” he admits, “but I’ve become passionate about the opportunity to educate lawmakers about why these aircraft are critical business tools.” After an early victory pushing for license plates celebrating Colorado’s aviation industry, Swathwood has devoted his focus to aircraft sales tax reform. Even as he launches his own consulting and brokerage company, Altivation, he can often be found in Denver advocating for the industry’s value. “One of my favorite anecdotes to tell policymakers is about a bunch of guys getting off a Citation covered in oil – they were a rapid response team for a local rig,” he recalls. “You just can’t do those kinds of missions without business aviation.”
Compressed Gas Systems
When Brian Tyminski launched Compressed Gas Systems (CGS), business aviation seemed like a logical focus for the company, which specializes in the overhaul and repair of onboard compressed-gas systems. Seven years, 25 employees and two facilities later, he’s never seen a reason to change that strategy. “I love business aviation because you’re always working with individuals,” he said. “As our competitors looked toward the commercial side, we saw an opportunity to fill a need here, and it’s been gratifying.” Tyminski has established himself as an industry expert, advising on MRO regulatory policy and actively participating in a number of professional groups. He also recently started an internship program at CGS’ Fort Lauderdale, FL, facility, recruiting A&P students to learn in a Part 145 environment while gaining valuable on-the-job experience. “It’s been a win-win,” he says. “We’re getting great candidates and the chance to create a long-term relationship with them.”
Aftermarket Sales Manager
Ungerleider sells maintenance and programs at Textron’s San Antonio service center. Reportedly, the second word he uttered was “jet,” so his passion for aviation started early in life. Ungerleider graduated from Embry-Riddle in 2014 with a degree in aviation business administration and is currently pursuing an MBA at the same university. Ungerleider emphasizes the importance of mentorship in aviation, as his mentors encouraged him to earn his A&P license and Instrument rating. Now he gives back to aviation by coaching young professionals he works with, helping to teach an 8th grade aviation class in Wichita, KS, and serving as a business mentor through the NBAA YoPro program. Ungerleider credits the support of his family and mentors, especially his wife, for his professional success and continued career growth. “I absolutely love my job and everything I do. I’m never finished learning because business aviation progresses and changes so quickly.”
Founder and President
How did you spend your 30th birthday? Shaesta Waiz celebrated hers by making history. Last year, the founder of non-profit organization Dreams Soar became the youngest woman to complete a solo flight around the world in a single-engine aircraft. During the journey, Waiz met over 3,000 kids in 22 different countries while promoting the value of STEM education and the career opportunities within aviation. “Often we find that kids’ idea of aviation is limited to pilots and maybe air traffic controllers,” she said. “We want to open their eyes to an entire industry that needs to be sustained with all sorts of positions.” Her historic journey is only one component of the Dreams Soar mission. Noticing that many foreign students have difficulty pursuing their career dreams after returning home from the United States, Waiz is focusing on programs that give young women opportunities to study in their own countries.
Lead Captain – Training
Long set on a career with the airlines, one phone call changed the course of Brandon Williams’ life. “My friend asked if I wanted to try business aviation,” he recalled. “The timing was right, so I decided to give it a shot.” Williams hasn’t looked back since, embracing the industry’s more intimate working environments and diverse ways to contribute to operational success. In addition to flight responsibilities, he’s taken on safety leadership roles and spearheaded his flight department’s transition from paper to electronic record-keeping. Williams has brought the same innovative spirit to his role as vice president of the North Texas Business Aviation Association, where he leads efforts to guide young people into the industry through outreach and mentorship programs. “We have to do a better job of communicating why business aviation is such a great career path,” he said.