Chris Abshire 300 x 300.jpg

chris abshire
analyst, toyota ai ventures

Chris Abshire is an analyst at Toyota AI Ventures, responsible for identifying startups, analyzing opportunities, and conducting due diligence.

Prior to joining Toyota AI Ventures, Chris was on the investment team at Fenox Venture Capital, where he led the U.S. due diligence process and market research activities. He also was executive director of the firm’s Startup World Cup event, a platform that created innovation opportunities for startup ecosystems around the world.

He received a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Kansas, where he received the CPE Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for graduating at the top of his class.

Jim Adler 300 x 300.jpg

jim adler
founding managing director, toyota ai ventures

Jim Adler is the founding managing director of Toyota AI Ventures, and an executive advisor at Toyota Research Institute (TRI). He also serves on the Investment Committee of JetBlue Technology Ventures and on the Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

Jim joined Toyota AI Ventures from TRI, where he served as vice president of data and business development. Prior to that, Jim was vice president of products and marketing at Metanautix, a big data analytics startup funded by Sequoia Capital and Workday that was acquired by Microsoft.

Previously, Jim was the vice president of data systems and chief privacy officer at Intelius, which was acquired by H.I.G. Capital. In addition, he founded VoteHere, a pioneer in cryptographic secure and secret online voting for public elections that was funded by Cisco and HP, among others. Jim started his career as a rocket engineer for Lockheed Martin.

He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with high honors from the University of Florida, and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, San Diego.

Sergio Aguirre 2016.jpg

sergio aguirre
president, gogo business aviation

Sergio Aguirre is president of Gogo’s Business Aviation division where he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the division. Since assuming responsibility of Gogo Business Aviation, Aguirre has led the team during the time it developed some of the company’s most significant connectivity solutions, including the Gogo AVANCE platform, which has become one of the most successful solutions in the company’s history.

Aguirre is an aviation industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience, and is well suited to lead the division after serving in a variety of positions from A&P mechanic to sales, product development and senior-level management. He joined Gogo in 2007 as an OEM account manager and was promoted to vice president of business development in April of 2014 where he led the team that developed and launched many of Gogo’s current products, including Gogo Cloud.

Prior to joining Gogo, he served as director of OEM and aftermarket sales for Securaplane, helping to pioneer the installation of exterior cameras on corporate aviation aircraft. He served in a similar capacity for Airshow in the late 1990s where he was part of the team that launched the first Ku TV system that became the industry standard across business aviation and commercial airlines.

From 1989-1996 he served as an aircraft completions mechanic and customer account manager for Gulfstream Aerospace where he was involved in the first installations of Inmarst systems on Gulfstream aircraft.

As a member of the United States Air Force, from 1984-1988, he was an aircraft structural mechanic and worked on F-111s and H1N helicopters.

Aguirre attended Orange Coast College, and completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He also holds an FAA airframe and power plant license.

wagas ali.jpg

wagas ali
ceo & co-founder, jetclass

Wagas Ali is the CEO and Co-Founder of JetClass, a ground-breaking, non-subscription travel service giving travellers the unprecedented ability to book seats on private jets, by incorporating advanced technologies ranging from big data analytics to artificial intelligence.

A tech-entrepreneur since the age of 17, with extensive experience in various technologies including M2M, IoT, big data, analytics & prediction. Wagas has been passionate about perfect and seamless user interfaces and experiences, which can clearly be seen in his work. Being a skilled designer and coder himself, he had built and exited the largest ethnic community portal in Austria, long before Facebook gained its popularity.

In 2011, Wagas established a research & innovation centre with a focus on connected mobility in Dubai, a tech-hub of the region with access to highly qualified engineers. Enterprise-level M2M telematics solutions built here have triumphed in both regional and international tenders from various governments and corporations.

The first step into transforming aviation industry was made in 2013, when he co-founded Charterscanner and, as the CTO, created the first-to-market B2C online private jet booking platform, with its own independent database of operators, aircraft, and customers from all over the world. Charterscanner to this day is a unique marketplace that empowers its users to book a private jet within 10 minutes through their smartphones.

JetClass is the result of Wagas’ long and exciting journey with his bigger vision to bring private jets to the masses.

Srinivas Ananth.png

Srini Ananth
Investment Manager, Intel Capital

Srini is an Investment Manager at Intel Capital based in Santa Clara. At Intel, he is an investor in Filament, Keyssa and NewAer. In addition, Srini supported investments in Delta ID (acquired by Fingerprint Cards) and EyeSmart.

Srini joined Intel through the Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP), a prestigious post-MBA leadership development program, in 2011. He launched a Security SaaS product in Asia for Intel Services and worked on strategic partnerships at Intel Media. Srini is an active participant in meetups as well as accelerator programs in Silicon Valley. His current areas of investment include Blockchain, Communications, Hardware, NewSpace, Next Gen Computing and Wireless.

Srini has worked on a Kickstarter campaign for a consumer electronics product and advised early stage startups. Before business school, Srini worked on several generation of mobile products at Texas Instruments that generated ~$1.5B in revenue. Srini holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State and a MBA from UCLA Anderson. In his free time Srini enjoys skiing, traveling, and spending time outdoors with his family.


Wilfried Aulbur
Senior Partner, Roland Berger

Dr. Wilfried Aulbur is a Senior Partner and Member of the Global Supervisory Board of Roland Berger Consultants. He is responsible for the firm's global Commercial Vehicle, Construction and Agricultural business. Wilfried is based in Chicago and supports the US Automotive, Industrials and Private Equity practice.

Previously, he was the Managing Partner of Roland Berger in India, a practice that he continues to support in the Automotive and Industrials space. He was the head of Roland Berger's Asia Automotive practice as well as the Chairman of Roland Berger Middle East and Africa.

Wilfried's work includes growth strategies, M&A and due diligence, operational performance improvements and technology strategies.

Wilfried has served on numerous industry associations and panels, is a regular speaker at key industry events and publishes extensively. His recent book "Riding the Tiger" is a Random House bestseller. He is a lecturer of Harvard Business Publishing and a mentor for the International Innovation Corps of the University of Chicago.

Prior to his work with Roland Berger, Dr. Aulbur was the Managing Director and CEO of a well-known german automobile manufacturer India and responsible for the passenger cars, trucks and buses. He held various positions with that company in Europe, the US and India

Katerina Barilov .png

Katerina Barilov
Managing director, shearwater aero capital

Ms. Barilov has extensive experience in aviation, structured asset-backed finance, and corporate strategy. Prior to Shearwater, Ms. Barilov was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs' Industrials Group in New York, focused on assisting top tier aviation, aerospace and defense clients. In this role, Ms. Barilov conduced analyses, created materials, and facilitated execution in all phases of the deal process, including pitching, industry research, valuation analysis, deal execution and due diligence for clients in aerospace and aviation.  Ms. Barilov has been involved in numerous successful M&A, IPO and Spin-off processes. 

Prior to Goldman Sachs, she ran the Structured Finance division for Europe Middle East and Africa at Hawker Beechcraft, a leading aerospace manufacturer based out of Wichita Kansas.  She joined Hawker Beechcraft during an unprecedented downturn in general aviation as part of a small team of structured finance professionals formed to create a new solution for sales financing support of cross-border aircraft acquisitions. The team designed and launched a Structured Finance department which developed and maintained relationships with third party financiers, structured financing support and conducted credit analysis of potential clients. In her role, Ms. Barilov sourced transactions, developed and maintained a network of 200+ financiers, and structured and arranged complex transactions, liaising between lawyers, insurers, bankers and clients, overseeing due diligence, documentation, and credit processes. 

She holds an MBA and Bachelors degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She is an avid pilot with a passion for aerobatic competition with experience in a Pitts S2C. She spends her free time focused on adventure flying in her modified Piper Colt, cycling and running. 


Kirsten Bartok
managing partner, airfinance

Kirsten Bartok has a long history as an entrepreneur and investor.  Since coming to the Silicon Valley in mid 90s to attend Stanford’s GSB, she has founded and built companies (XOJET, AirFinance and FlyFunder), worked in venture (H&Q and Chase Capital Partners) and in banking (Goldman Sachs), and run strategy and corporate development for a the aircraft global manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft where she helped lead their expansion into China. Kirsten has also served as a board member and advisor to numerous technology and service companies during her 20+ years in Silicon Valley.

In 2017, Kirsten founded I N C Ventures as a vehicle for her numerous early stage investments.  Having personally started, advised and sold multiple companies, she wanted a platform where she and others could leverage her aerospace, investing and tech background.  To date, many of her investments have been at the intersection of technology, aerospace and urban mobility, along with enabling technologies.

She is currently the founder and Managing Partner of AirFinance Leasing LLC, a firm that specializes in the financing of helicopters and business jets. AirFinance's core business is as an originator and servicer of business jet, helicopter, simulator and aerospace asset backed loans that are supported by Export Credit Agencies, predominantly the United States Export Import Bank.  Since 2012 has originated and approved more than $900M in aircraft and aerospace related financings.


ethan batraski
vice president, venrock

Ethan joined Venrock in 2017. Based in the Palo Alto office, he focuses on early stage full stack, software-defined systems in robotics, aviation, space, autonomy, intelligent agents, and farming. Ethan joins us after 15 years as a product/design executive, entrepreneur, and angel investor.

Prior to Venrock, Ethan was a Partner at ProFounder, a pre-seed angel syndicate focused on deep technology breakthroughs, and was a Product Leader at Facebook, leading a $15B revenue business. Prior to Facebook, Ethan was the VP Products and Design at Box, leading new products and growth through their IPO and $400M ARR. Prior to that he was the VP Product & Design at Adchemy and led their acquisition by @WalmartLabs, was the founding product & design leader at RiseSmart (acquired by Randstad), and Headcase labs (acquired). He spent time earlier in his career leading Products & Experience at Yahoo! Search, and Consumer Products at Symantec. Ethan has 16 patents issued or pending across semantic search, predictive systems, and intelligent systems.

Ethan spends time outside the office with his kids building new science experiments and seeking out adrenaline rushing sports. He is an ex-competitive Muy Thai boxer and aspiring fixed-wing pilot.

Andrew Beebe.jpg

andrew beebe
managing director, obvious ventures

Andrew brings to Obvious Ventures a lifelong passion for building companies around sustainable systems and people power.

For over a decade, Andrew has focused on clean technology and clean energy solutions. He started down the clean tech path with Energy Innovations in 2003, which he grew from a business plan to a major solar developer serving customers like Google, Disney, Sony Pictures, and British Telecom.

After selling the company to Suntech in 2008, Andrew served as Chief Commercial Officer at Suntech as well as Vice President of Global Product Strategy. During his tenure, Suntech became the largest solar company in the world.

After leaving Suntech, Andrew spent two years as Vice President of Distributed Generation for Nextera Energy, the largest clean energy developer in the US.

Before his clean tech career, Andrew spent a decade building companies in the early days of “Web 1.0.” In 1998 Andrew co-founded, an e-commerce platform designed to serve the needs of small businesses entering the Internet age. He has been supporting the enterprising ideas of people power ever since.

Andrew serves on the Board of Directors for Sighten and Plant Prefab and as a Board Observer for Enbala, Lilium, and Proterra. He is also a member of the NREL Investor Advisory Board, as well serving on the Board of Managers at Energy Accelerator.

Joe Blair.jpg

joe blair
vice president, obvious ventures

Joe brings over 10 years of experience as an engineer, entrepreneur, and investor in mission-driven organizations.

Prior to joining Obvious Ventures, Joe managed venture investments for four years at Chrysalix Venture Capital, an early stage VC firm focused on industrial innovation.

Joe was the founder and CEO of Chillbaby, a sustainable retail tech company serving the baby clothing market. Joe bootstrapped the company while pursuing his MBA at Harvard Business School.

Prior to Harvard, Joe worked in Business Development at FlexEnergy, a venture-backed cleantech startup. Joe was also a participant in a 3-year Engineering Leadership Development Program with Ingersoll Rand, a Fortune 500 industrial technology conglomerate.

Joe holds both a BS & MS in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He’s an avid triathlete, aspiring yogi, and father of two.


neil book
president & ceo, jet support services, inc. (jssi)

As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Book provides leadership and direction to the entire organization. 

Prior to joining JSSI, Mr. Book served as Vice President of Mobility for Juniper Networks, directing its mobile security business unit. His role at Juniper began in 2010, in connection with their acquisition of SMobile Systems, where he had served as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Book began his career at AT&T where he held various management positions. Mr. Book is a graduate of the University of Delaware, class of 1999.

steve burns.jpg

Stephen Burns
Founder & CEO, Workhorse

Mr. Burns has founded several companies, most recently, a leading mobile photo and video-sharing technology company, MobileVoiceControl, Inc. sold to Nuance Communications, Inc. in 2006, AskMeNow [OTCC:AKMN] a mobile search and information delivery system sold to Ocean West Holdings in 2005, PocketScript sold to ZixCorp [NASDAQ:ZIXI] in 2002, Over The Line/AdLink, sold to Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE:GCI) in 1994 and the design and development of Suspension Parameter Measurement Machines.

Antonio Campello.jpg

Antonio Campello
ceo, embraerx

Antonio Campello is the President & CEO of Embraer X, an Embraer company dedicated to disrupt the transportation business. He leads innovation teams based in Silicon Valley and Boston, seeking new business models and exponential technologies.

With a career spanning more than 30 years at Embraer, Mr. Campello has held key leadership roles in Corporate Strategy, Corporate Excellence, New Business Development, Technology Development, Program Management, Industrial Integration and Engineering. 

Antonio Campello has a PhD in Product Development Management from Loughborough University – UK, a MBA from Fundação Getulio Vargas in Sao Paulo and Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the Polytechnic School of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In April 2017, Embraer announced a preliminary agreement with Uber to explore the concept of the Uber Elevate Network ecosystem, which will allow the potential development and deployment of small electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs) for short-haul urban commutes.

Neil Cloughley.jpg

Neil Cloughley
managing director & founder, faradair aerospace

Neil Cloughley is Managing Director of Faradair® Aerospace Limited, a double award winning hybrid aviation start-up manufacturer based in the UK. He is an Aviation and IT industry entrepreneur that has spent over 15 years within the commercial aviation sector working with some of the largest aviation brands and financial institutions. Faradair® has achieved global coverage, created world class partnerships and won awards and international aerospace start-up competitions.

In 2017, Neil was asked by the Department of Transport to help advise on ‘Future Flight’ policy for the UK Government, highlighting the rapid ascension of Faradair® among its larger aerospace peers.


joe cohen
ceo, victor

Joe is an experienced consumer-tech leader. Previously founder-CEO of Seatwave, he established a popular, mainstream model for the buying and selling of tickets to sports, music and cultural events prior to acquisition by Ticketmaster in 2014. As Global COO of, he led the successful operation and expansion of several online dating businesses across 43 countries and 18 languages. He has also held senior roles for Ticketmaster, Virgin and Disney.

 Joe’s deep experience of building major customer-focused tech and online brands will more than inform his remit at dynamic, rapidly-growing charter marketplace Victor, whom he joined at the start of 2018. He is already elevating product development and developing a dynamic, values-led culture across the team that will, ultimately, allow Victor to serve the highly fragmented jet charter market with its most seamless, innovative and pivotal customer proposition ever.

Gerhard Dieters.png

gerhard deiters
attorney at Law, Partner, bho legal

Gerhard Deiters studied law at the University of Cologne. After having passed his First State Exam, he worked at the University of Bonn and Oppenhoff & Partner, a Cologne law firm. During his legal clerkship, Gerhard Deiters worked at the German Embassy in Jakarta, Oppenhoff & Partner and eBay Germany. After having passed his Second State Exam, he worked as Attorney-at-law for the German law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek in the area of IT, Telecoms and Data Protection law.

nicolas deville_headshot_300x300 (002).jpg

Nicolas Deville
Co-founder & COO, Convolus

Nicolas Deville, COO, is the resident business technologist in the company. He has a wealth of experience in technology start-ups, having built the European businesses of multiple Silicon Valley and Sydney-based software companies in the last 20 years. Nicolas’ expertise lies in building and scaling businesses, leveraging technology, and he deeply believes that software and connected systems are the future of business. As such, he is very keen to transfer this knowledge and expertise to the aviation industry. Coupled with Irena’s complementary set of skills and knowledge of the industry, they are both now looking to help the business aviation industry move into the future.


kenny dichter
founder & ceo, wheels up

Kenny Dichter is Founder and CEO of Wheels Up, the revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that minimizes the upfront investment needed to fly privately. the company provides members with unmatched accessibility and flexibility through its innovative business model and diverse fleet. Wheels Up offers the only scalable total private aviation solution in the marketplace, ranging from the King Air 350i to the Global 6000, through partnerships with industry leaders such as Beechcraft, Cessna, Heliflite, JetSuite, Jet Aviation and VistaJet.

Previously, Dichter founded Marquis Jet in 2001 and introduced the first ever fractional jet card program, which revitalized and democratized and private aviation industry. Led by Dichter, Marquis Jet generated over $4 billion in revenue, culminating in its sale to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets in 2010. At that time, Dichter was named Vice Chairman of NetJets.

An entrepreneur at heart, with a sociology major from the University of Wisconsin, Dichter is a self-proclaimed “man of the people”. Since his youth, he has been known for being a trend spotter and a trendsetter, and has always had an innate knack for branding, marketing, public relations and advertising. Dichter’s successes prove the he can apply these skills to a variety of industries. As always, Dichter has his eye on early-stage businesses where he sees potential for hype growth. He has an active role and has invested in Juice Press, a Manhattan-based, multi-location, grab-and-go organic, raw food and juice company; SportsYapper, a global communications platform for talking sports; CYC, which offers an exhilarating, beat-based, 45 minute ride that activates the whole body, the whole time; and Cirrus, a fitness company that customizes premium exercise equipment.

Dean Donovan.jpg

Dean Donovan
Managing director, diAmondstream partners

Diamond Stream Partners has made a number of aviation investments including launching Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris in 2004. As well as a Director at Volaris, Dean is also a Director in SearchForce and Prophet. He is also Chairman of Stellar Labs.

Dean previously worked at Bain & Company for 13 years where he was a Director and Managing Partner (Africa), and has advised senior executives and company boards on merger, acquisition, divestiture, business strategy, and other issues in a variety of industries, primarily to Fortune 1000 companies. Dean has worked extensively in Mexico, Spain, various parts of the US and South Africa.

Dean graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California Berkeley where he studied Economics and Rhetoric. He received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. Dean sits on various company boards of directors.

Ronald Epstein.jpg

ronald epstein
senior equity analyst, bank of america merrill lynch international

Ronald J. Epstein is a managing director in Equity Research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch covering Aerospace/Defense and Multi-Industrials with large aerospace components. He actively covers companies listed in the United States, Canada and Brazil.  He joined Merrill Lynch in 2001.

In the Institutional Investor All-America Research poll, he has ranked as a top three analyst in Aerospace & Defense Electronics for the last nine years and number one for the last three years. Previously, he worked as a research scientist in applied aerodynamics technology at Boeing Phantom Works. He was also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, teaching fluid dynamics and control systems.

Epstein has a BA with highest honors from Skidmore College, an MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University.

Ron, his wife Catherine and their three children, Henry, Catherine and Oliver, reside in Chatham, NJ.

Van Espahbodi.jpg

Van Espahbodi
Managing Partner, Co-founder, starburst accelerator

Van is Co-Founder and COO of Starburst Accelerator, an innovation catalyst in the aerospace industry. It is the first and only global aerospace accelerator, connecting startups with corporates, investors and government, providing growth and investment opportunities for all. With offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Montreal, San Francisco and Singapore, the team has built an ecosystem of key players with thousands of startups in its network.

Helping startups scale their business in aerospace, aviation and defense with access to the largest group of corporate stakeholders to help startups win their first $1M+ contract.


david fox
co-founder, president & coo, stellar labs

Profile coming soon. 

Roei Ganzarski.jpg

Roei Ganzarski
ceo, magnix

Roei Ganzarski is CEO of magniX, an electric propulsion technology company. magniX is poised to disrupt the aerospace & defense industry with its advanced electric engines that will enable transportation capabilities and services never possible before.

Prior to magniX, Roei was CEO of BoldIQ for six years. BoldIQ is a global provider of dynamic real-time scheduling optimization software. Under Roei’s leadership, BoldIQ grew from a seed software startup to a profitable multi-million dollar SaaS company with customers worldwide and across industries.  

Before BoldIQ, Roei was with the Boeing family of companies for thirteen years in continuously increasing roles of responsibility. His last role at Boeing was Chief Customer Officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division where he led all worldwide customer and market facing organizations and was responsible for revenue growth and customer service.

 Other experiences prior to Boeing include private investment banking, corporate finance, advertising, and the military.

 He is a graduate of Wharton’s Advanced Management Program, earned an MBA from the University of Washington, and a BA in Economics from The University of Haifa.

Roei sits on the Washington Technology Industry Association board.

 Roei lives with his wife and three children in Redmond, WA.

Starr Ginn.jpg

starr ginn
deputy aeronautics director, nasa

Starr Ginn has a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from California State University Northridge and a Master’s of Aerospace Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles. Starr has been interning at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center since she was 17 years old. Starr has been involved in supporting flight research for many different classes of Aircraft; SR-71, F-15B, F-18 Active Aeroelastic Wing, X-45, B-52/X-37, Pad Abort 1, Global Observer, Phantom Eye, X-56 and X-57.

Starr has been the Deputy Aeronautics Research Director for 3 years at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, helping to shape the strategic formulation of aeronautics research goals. Since 2012, Starr has the portfolio developer for Electric Aircraft Research at AFRC, including AirVolt, HEIST, X-57 and the NASA Convergent Aeronautics Solutions Project incubation.

Nikhil Goel.jpg

Nikhil Goel
Head of product - aviation, uber

Nikhil is the Head of Product for Aviation Programs at Uber. Over the last several years at Uber, Nikhil has held product management roles leading efforts across Emerging Markets and the Rider App before jointly founding the company's aviation department and authoring the Uber Elevate whitepaper in 2016 with Uber’s former Chief Product Officer, Jeff Holden. Aviation Programs focuses on Elevate, Uber’s initiative to fast-forward to the future of aerial ridesharing through the deployment of partner-built electric air taxis across uberAIR cities globally, as well as the company’s more nascent drone delivery program for Uber Eats.

Before Uber, Nikhil served as a management consultant for consumer technology companies at McKinsey & Company, and he held Product roles at YouTube, Xbox, and Microsoft Office before building two online marketplace startups. Nikhil graduated from Vanderbilt University and grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, “Rocket City”, where his first job was at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.


Gregor Grandl
Senior Partner, Porsche Consulting

Gregor leads Porsche Consulting’s global competence center for digitization & innovation, which focuses on digital transformation, industry 4.0, applied AI, innovation, and new mobility.

He has more than eighteen years of management consulting experience. In addition to his consulting experience, Gregor held executive roles in Europe and Asia.

Gregor is the responsible author of the study “The Future of Vertical Mobility – sizing the market for passenger, inspection, and goods services until 2035” sponsored by Porsche SE and Volkswagen AG and the key partner the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR).

eddie gross.jpg

edward gross
shareholder, vedder price

Edward Gross has 30 years of experience representing bank-affiliated and large, independent equipment financing companies in all aspects of equipment finance transactions, including documenting, structuring, negotiating, syndicating and enforcing these transactions.

Edward is considered an industry leader in business aircraft and helicopter finance. These transactions vary in structure and include tax and non-tax lease, operating lease and secured loan financing of managed and /or chartered aircraft, fleet aircraft and helicopters operated in various service capacities and engine pools, aircraft operated under fractional and “pay card” arrangements and progress payment, completion and other multi-funding structures. Clients include market-leading aircraft and helicopter financing providers, investors or operating lessors, as well as large publicly or privately held businesses, governmental entities or high-net-worth individual users. Many of these transactions involve foreign registered aircraft.

Patrick Hansen.jpg

patrick hansen
ceo, luxaviation

Patrick Hansen was born in Luxembourg. He holds a Commercial Engineering degree from ICHEC, Brussels and an MBA Finance degree from McGill University, Montreal. He started his career in finance and banking in London and Moscow and successfully created several companies, one of which was sold to Nasdaq-quoted Company (MMW) and another one to a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (REA).

In 2007, he co-founded Edison Capital Partners S.A., an asset management company specializing in shipping, aviation and industrial participations. He founded Luxaviation Luxembourg in 2008 and became its Chief Executive Officer

Gillian Hayes.jpg

gillian  hayes
ceo, aviaa

In her role as CEO at AVIAÂ, Gillian Hayes is leading the company’s efforts to build a community around general aviation procurement; bringing with her a PhD in Computer Science and almost twenty years of experience in technology and innovation. With her deep knowledge of data management, she’s uniquely suited to delivering the company’s mission to improve cost and efficiency for business jet owners, operators, and suppliers through the combination of proprietary algorithms and human expertise.

In 2017, Gillian decided to take a sabbatical from teaching and research to bring her expertise to AVIAÂ. “I like to go back and forth between academia and industry,” she explained. “I bring current, cutting-edge academic research into industry. AVIAA and our clients can save a lot of time and money just by reviewing what academics have already found in their research—whether it is user experience, financial modeling, or supply chain.” AVIAÂ has incorporated this expertise-first approach into their mission, using knowledge and feedback from employees, clients, advisory boards, and existing research as the foundation of the community.

A lifelong learner, Dr. Hayes maintains her tenured endowed position as the Kleist Professor of Informatics at UC Irvine while growing her passion for aviation.  Gillian’s experience in industry and academia, and her expertise in design, data analysis, and 21st century technologies make her an invaluable leader of the AVIAÂ team.

David Hernandez.jpg

david hernandez
shareholder, vedder price

David M. Hernandez is a Shareholder at Vedder Price and a member of the firm's Global Transportation Finance team, whose performance led Vedder Price to be named Aviation 100 Law Firm of the Year 2015. In 2016, David was ranked Band 1 in Private Aircraft (Global-wide) in Chambers High Net Worth, which recognizes the world’s leading high net worth advisers.

David has considerable experience assisting clients with aircraft transactions, complex government investigations, aircraft, air carrier and part certifications, and enforcement matters (FAA and DOT violations, export controls, hazardous materials and drug/alcohol testing). He frequently advises clients on aircraft purchase/sale agreements, leases, fractional program documents, aircraft management agreements, aircraft use policies, cross-border transactions, personal use of company aircraft and regulatory (FAA, SEC and IRS) compliance. Mr. Hernandez represents a wide variety of clients, including public and private corporations, aerospace manufacturers and suppliers, airlines, defense contractors, airports, corporate flight departments, charter operators and high-net-worth individuals. Mr. Hernandez is also an active member of the National Business Aviation Association Tax Committee and Regulatory Issues Advisory Group.

Prior to joining Vedder Price, David was a prosecutor at the FAA as well as an honors attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He also served in the Office of the Counsel to the President during the Clinton administration and was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Reneta Johnson1.jpg

reneta johnson
founder & ceo, inttradia Inc.

Reneta Johnson, an expert in global commerce development, founded the trade technology company lnttradia Inc. to support organizations embarking on an international trade journey. Using her own unique business methodology, Instant Trade Program™, an industry leading executive network and personal experience, she unlocks business potential by helping clients to create and implement strategic vision to more cost-effectively and time-efficiently realize international business success.

Reneta is a global citizen having worked and studied around the world in countries as diverse as the USA, Canada, Russia, Bulgaria and Japan. She holds a Master’s degree with Honors in Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Business/Logistics from Samara State Aerospace University (Russia) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (USA).

Reneta works across a variety of industry sectors and specializes in the aerospace and high-tech industry. Leading organizations such as Export Development Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada (UTC), Bombardier, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (Volga-Dnepr Group), Capital One, BMO Bank of Montreal, Nestle and Danone have all benefited from her expertise.

Reneta actively promotes diversity in business, the professional development of women and mentors young professionals to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Richard Koe.jpg

Richard Koe
Managing Director, wingx advance

Richard Koe is Managing Director of WINGX Advance GmbH. WINGX, based in Germany and founded in 2011, provides Business Intelligence for the global private jet market. WINGX researches and tracks market data, from which we build analytics to assist our customers in their decision making. Our customers span the entire industry supply chain, from airports, operators and manufacturers to industry investors and financial analysts. Richard has a background in sales, business development and strategy, in the business aviation sector and previously in telecom and manufacturing industries. He has a Batchelor degree from Oxford University and a Masters from Johns Hopkins University.

Parimal Kopardekar.jpg

parimal kopardekar
Acting Director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute

Parimal Kopardekar (PK) serves as the Acting Director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI).  In that capacity, he is responsible for exploring new trends and needs related to aviation in the areas of autonomy, aeronautics manufacturing, and advanced air mobility.  He also serves as NASA's senior technologist for Air Transportation Systems and principal investigator for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) project. He was formerly manager of the NASA’s Safe Autonomous System Operations Project, which developed autonomy related concepts, technologies and architectures that will increase efficiency, safety, and capacity of airspace operations. Prior to that, he managed Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen) Concepts and Technology Development Project.

He enjoys initiating new concepts and technology ideas that increase airspace capacity and throughput, reduce delays, and reduce the total cost of air transportation. At NASA, he has initiated many innovative research projects including reduced crew operations, net-enabled air traffic management, autonomy for airspace operations, Shadow-Mode Assessment using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System (SMART NAS), and low-altitude airspace management system focused on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations. In 2017, he was named among the 25 most influential people in commercial drone industry.

He is also finalist for Service to America Medals (known as Oscar of Federal Workforce) in Promising Innovation Category (awardee to be announced in October 2018). He has published over 50 conference and journal papers with three best paper awards, delivered more than 15 keynote talks at national and international conferences, and participates as an expert with media on topics related to unmanned aircraft systems, urban air mobility, and autonomy.  He is a Fellow of the American Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and recipient of numerous NASA awards including Outstanding Leadership Medal and Engineer of the Year.

Ashish Kumar.jpg

Ashish kumar
CEO, zunum aero

Ashish Kumar is Founder and CEO of Zunum Aero. Inspired by the disruptive power of electric aircraft, he founded Zunum Aero following a long record of commercial leadership across Microsoft, Google, Dell, and McKinsey. His startup experience includes helping launch Aeroxchange, now the largest electronic marketplace for the aviation industry. Ashish has a B.Tech. from IIT Delhi, and a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University, and spent his early career as Professor of Engineering at Brown University, and as research fellow at Sandia National Laboratories. Whether hiking or sailing, he is excited to combine his love for the outdoors with his work on sustainable flight.

bob labelle1.jpg

Bob labelle
CEO, XTI Aircraft

On February 1, 2017, Robert LaBelle assumed the role of CEO, XTI Aircraft Corp. He is responsible for development of the TriFan 600 Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft and all matters related to development of the product and the company. He has helped transform the aircraft to hybrid-electric propulsion and made other significant changes in order to better position the aircraft for its future market.

He was previously CEO, AgustaWestland North America. In that role he was responsible for AgustaWestland’s business with the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies. Prior to that he was President of Texas-based AgustaWestland Tiltrotor Company, Inc., a company he established to support the development of the AW 609 Tiltrotor and other programs. He has held executive level positions within AgustaWestland since joining the company in 2005, including vice president, general manager, and president of other U.S. subsidiaries.

Robert joined AgustaWestland after a career in the U.S. Navy. His last assignment was in Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD where he was a Major Program Manager (PMA-231) for the E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft.

Gwen Lighter.jpg

gwen lighter
ceo, gofly

As the CEO of GoFly, Gwen Lighter's mission is to make it possible for people to do just that: go fly. In her role as head of the company that's poised to make the dream of personal flight a reality, she leads a team of dreamers, experts and engineers, and is the driving force behind The GoFly Prize.

Before launching GoFly, Gwen built and helped grow several companies, including an instant messaging platform and a fashion company with multiple brands now licensed to G-iii Apparel Group. She graduated summa cum laude from Brown University and cum laude from Harvard Law


ben marcus
chairman & co-founder, airmap

Ben Marcus is an aviation expert and executive. Prior to AirMap, he co-founded and was CEO of jetAVIVA, the world’s largest light business jet sales company. He started his career as a flight instructor and later became a flight test engineer. Ben currently serves on the board of Angel Flight West. He is an FAA-certified Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor with over 4,500 hours of flight experience and ratings in airplanes, helicopters, seaplanes, gliders, and six types of jets.

per marthinsson new.jpg

Per Marthinsson
Founder & Managing director, avinode

Per Marthinsson co-founded Avinode in 2001, alongside Niklas Berg and Niclas Wennerholm. They had the youthfully grand ambition to pull the printed directory-bound charter industry into the digital world, with the vision of making it as easy to book a private jet as it is to book a commercial flight. Fifteen years later, the trio are now universally accepted as responsible for revolutionizing the way the business aviation industry operates.

The Avinode Group now also streamlines how flights are managed, sold and operated through its sister company SchedAero - a modern, web-based flight scheduling system, currently used by 400 companies worldwide. And in November 2016, the Group launched their answer to the final pain-point in the industry: PayNode – the world’s first payment platform created specifically for the business aviation market. Through these three complementary offerings, the Avinode Group presents an unrivalled, end-to-end solution for the charter space.

Nick Methven.jpg

nick methven
Senior Vice President, Underwriting Executive, global aerospace

Nick Methven joined Global Aerospace in 2002 as an executive underwriter in the Northeast Regional office. In 2009, he was promoted to Senior Vice President heading up the Atlanta office and later became responsible for the Chicago and Dallas offices as well. In July 2013, Nick was appointed to the role of Senior Vice President, Underwriting Executive and is currently responsible for leading Global's Manufacturers Product Liability underwriting department and developing underwriting strategy for other product lines.

Nick received his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Science from Dowling College in Oakdale, NY and later earned his MBA in Finance from the University of Delaware. Nick holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Certified Aviation Insurance Professional (CAIP) designations. He is also an instrument rated private pilot.

Damineh Mycroft.jpg

Damineh Mycroft
Investing Principal, Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Damineh Mycroft is an investing principal for Boeing HorizonX Ventures. Based in San Francisco, she works across Silicon Valley to manage Boeing’s existing venture programs and discover new partnerships in the Bay Area.

Mycroft joined Boeing in 2003 and spent seven years with the Space and Intelligence Systems program in El Segundo, California. She held positions in a variety of functions from financial planning to business operations on government and commercial satellites. In 2010, Mycroft transitioned to Boeing Defense and Intelligence Systems headquarters in St. Louis, where she managed and led the relationship with Defense Contract Audit and Management agencies.

In 2012, Mycroft was selected for the Boeing Leadership Rotation Program, transitioning to Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle. She began as the 787 Supplier Management Financial Operations manager before moving to the 737 MAX Financial Planning and Integration team. After graduating from the program, Mycroft was named the 737 Financial Planning and Analysis manager, a position she held for two years before transitioning to Boeing HorizonX Ventures.

Mycroft earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Southern California and went on to receive a Master of Business Administration and doctorate in organizational leadership, both from Pepperdine University.

Jonny Nicol.JPG

Jonny Nicol
CEO, stratajet

Ranked as one of Aviation Week’s Top 10 Leaders of European Business Aviation (at EBACE 2016), Jonny Nicol has undoubtedly risen to be one of the most prominent and influential figures in the private aviation industry.

A military man through and through, Jonny is adamant that preparation is the key to success. This is why his vision to revolutionise the private jet industry took five years to develop.

Having trained as a fighter pilot and served as an officer and pilot for a decade with the British Army, Jonny Nicol left the British Armed Forces to pursue a career as a an entrepreneur. A self-taught computer scientist, Jonny developed a passion for using technology to disrupt typically traditional industries, his first two businesses doing precisely that in the recruitment and military sectors.

After selling the second business to Hewlett Packard’s EDS Defence, Nicol spent time as a freelance commercial pilot, during which time he was struck by the archaic and inefficient nature of private aviation. Noting that old-fashioned systems, such as the means of booking a private jet over the phone via a broker, were holding back the industry from advancing in line with other travel innovations, Jonny set about building a system that could bring private jets into the modern age.

Reinventing the industry was no mean feat, involving five years of highly advanced computer programming and overcoming major hurdles, but Stratajet, dubbed ‘the world’s most sophisticated price comparison site,’ is the result.

The first of its kind, Stratajet is the world’s fastest private jet booking service. With a technology sophisticated enough to filter through all the necessary variables that go into calculating the cost of flights, it’s the only platform that gives customers direct access to the private jet market. It returns accurate costs of a large range of aircraft in seconds, all of which can be booked instantly.

Streamlining an old-fashioned and time-consuming booking process, Stratajet is solving the major problems hampering private aviation; inefficiency and wastage. By cutting costs for aircraft operators and in turn driving down prices for the passenger, Stratajet is making private jet travel more widely accessible to the mainstream traveller.

David Norton.jpg

david norton
partner, shackelford, bowen, mckinley & norton, llp

David T. Norton is head of the firm’s aviation law practice and a member of the firm’s management committee. He has a nationally recognized aviation law practice that encompasses a broad range of regulatory, transactional and commercial issues, including various transactional matters such as whole and fractional aircraft sale and purchase; management, leasing, hangaring and refurbishment arrangements; and commercial civil litigation and arbitration disputes involving the ownership, operation and manufacture of aircraft and aircraft parts. He also handles disputes involving other aviation-related businesses and overall aviation-related risk management planning.

Mr. Norton served as the Industry Co-Chair of the joint FAA/Industry RVSM LOA Process Enhancement Team of the Performance based Advisory Rule Marketing Committee, as well as on the Applicability Working Group of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 135/125 Advisory Rulemaking Committee, the FAA’s effort to review and potentially rewrite the regulations that govern all on-demand commercial aviation transportation activity in the United States.

Mr. Norton was an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1984 to 1993, serving primarily as a KC-10A pilot and aircraft commander. He received several military decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Aerial Achievement Medal for his contributions in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Restore Hope. Mr. Norton holds many civil certificates and ratings issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. He is an airline transport pilot (multi-engine land) with a DC-10 type rating, and a commercial pilot (single engine land). He also maintains his certification as a flight instructor, instrument and multi-engine, as well as an advanced ground and instrument instructor.

Jason Oliver.jpg

jason oliver
ceo, ge additive

Profile coming soon.

David Paddock.jpg

david paddock
senior vice president regional operations
jet aviation

Jet Aviation is a global leader in business aviation services with over 30 locations throughout Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Dave is responsible for Jet Aviation’s US regional operations including the US aircraft management, charter, FBO, MRO and staffing businesses. Before his current role Dave was responsible for Jet Aviation’s global business development and strategic planning activity.

Dave has 20+ years of aviation experience and is a private pilot. He is active with many industry organizations, including GAMA, NBAA, NATA and The Wings Club, and is a passionate supporter of aerospace workforce and technology development.

Mark Page.jpg

mark page
chief scientist & founding member, dzyne technologies

Mark Page is a co-founder of DZYNE Technologies Incorporated, an Aerospace Engineering company specializing in the creation of innovative, intelligent, autonomous aircraft.   Mr. Page is DZYNE’s Chief Scientist and Vice President.

DZYNE Technologies has developed the ROTORwing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, numerous unmanned aerial system (UAS) programs for both commercial and government clients, and concepts for Blended Wing Body (BWB) business jet and super regional jets. Mr. Page worked at McDonnell Douglas/Boeing for 18 years on projects ranging from the Propfan to the HSCT supersonic transport and became their youngest Technical Research Fellow.  He served as the head of the Aerodynamics Department for the Boeing MD-90 now in service throughout the world. His most rewarding project was the NASA-sponsored BWB.

Mr. Page co-invented the BWB and served as the Technical Program Manager. Since then, Mr. Page has designed five BWB UAS that have flown, including the eventual Northrop Grumman Bat™. 

Mark Page hold patents for the Blended-Wing-Body, trapped-vortex-cavity high lift device, UAV Launch and recovery systems, ROTORwing, and a road-able submarine named DrySub. Mr. Page is published in the areas of BWB design, Propfan Integration, Pilot-in-the-loop Fault-Tree-Analysis, Racecar Aerodynamics, and UAS design.  Mr. Page graduated from the University of Illinois.

Sergey Petrossov2.jpg

sergey petrossov
founder & ceo, jetsmarter

Awarded Forbes 30 Under 30 in Consumer Technology and South Florida’s Top Working Professional by the Sun Sentinel Sergey Petrossov is always seeking ways to innovate industries.

Prior to JetSmarter, he co-founded two IT projects: an online chat system for website customer service and a distance-learning platform for Russian-speaking educational institutions. He also served as a board advisor to a South Florida-based private jet operator that, at the time, had the world’s largest on-demand Gulfstream charter fleet.

When Petrossov flew private for the first time he immediately identified challenges with the antiquated, brick-and-mortar approach to booking charter flights. Mobile marketplaces were on the rise, and he felt certain that the cumbersome private aviation booking process could be solved with technology – thus, the idea for JetSmarter was born.

After gathering his development team from previous projects and investing his own capital, Petrossov began the planning phase for an app that could connect flyers with top-rated private jet operators. The beta-version of JetSmarter launched in August 2012 as a proof of concept for select users. After raising additional funding and collaborating with hundreds of vendors and partners, Petrossov officially launched the JetSmarter app to the public in March 2013.

JetSmarter’s skillful technology, management, and advisory teams – many of whom are credited with successful project execution for NASA, Nokia, Microsoft, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Uber – bring a combined experience of more than 100 years in technology, private air travel and logistics to the table. It is their unceasing hard work combined with Petrossov’s vision that gave birth to the groundbreaking app JetSmarter is today.

jon raviv.jpg

jonathan raviv
equity analyst, vice president, citigroup

Jon Raviv covers US Aerospace & Defense for Citigroup. He was recognized in 2016 and 2017 as a Rising Star by Institutional Investor magazine. Before joining Citi in 2010, Jon worked at The Cohen Group, a DC-based consultancy headed by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen where he helped corporate clients with domestic and international market entry strategies. Prior to that, he was at the investment banking division of Lehman Brothers/Barclays Capital where he worked on structured product origination. Jon holds an MA in Strategic Studies and Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a BA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University.

Doug Reniart.jpg

Doug Reinart
partner, porsche consulting

Doug leads Porsche Consulting’s Silicon Valley office, which focuses on technology-driven innovation, digital transformation, and new mobility services. He has more than sixteen years of management consulting experience, and has worked for ten years in executive management roles at leading digital media and entertainment companies like Vision Media, ContentBridge Systems, Technicolor, and Paramount Pictures.

Doug’s early career included roles as an intelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, and systems engineer for Hughes Aircraft Company. At Hughes, he developed software that controlled NASA’s Magellan Venus probe, and was a member of the spacecraft team at Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Doug received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in physics from the University of Akron, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.

Stephen Rice.png

Stephen Rice
Professor, embry-riddle aeronautical university worldwide

Dr. Stephen Rice is an Associate Professor of Aviation Human Factors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). He received his PhD in Aviation Human Factors from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2006. He taught for seven years at New Mexico State University, and three years at the Florida Institute of Technology, before moving to ERAU in 2016. His research interests include trust in automation for both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, with a focus on consumer perceptions of autopilots in transportation. He has published 115 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at over 140 international conferences. Much of his work in aviation has been funded by the FAA, the US Air Force, NATO, and the US Army, among others.

Dean Roberts 300 x 300.png

Dean Roberts
Market Analysis Executive – Business Aviation, Rolls-Royce North America

Dr Dean Roberts is a civil aircraft industry expert, academic and author with thirty-five years of experience at Rolls-Royce. His career spans roles within marketing, sales, corporate development and engineering departments.

Today, his expertise is used to support the strategy development of business aviation at Rolls-Royce. He provides twenty-year forecasts for new engine programs, analytics support, market studies and recommendations on the current market scene. He also advises the CorporateCare® aftermarket sales team on industry trends and developments.

Prior to his current role in the US he worked in the company’ HQ Corporate Development department in the UK. While there he was involved in strategic analyses, competitor analysis, and prepared presentations for the Board.

Dean had his book entitled Entering the Civil Aircraft Industry: Business realities at the Technological Frontier published in February 2017. He is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia where he presents a course on the global aerospace industry. Dean is General Aviation committee member of the Transport Research Board which is part of The National Academies.

Craig  Ross.jpg

craig ross
founder & ceo, aviation portfolio

Profile coming soon.


Eymeric Segard
ceo & founder, Lunajets

Eymeric, 48, is half French, half Colombian. He spent his childhood in France, the UK, Colombia and Brazil. He studied at Brown University in the US, and worked in NYC, London and Mexico, starting his career at Merrill Lynch, before joining WPP’s Ogilvy. He speaks fluently 5 languages. In 2008, he founded LunaJets and moved to Geneva, Switzerland with his Brazilian wife and their 2 ski-­‐addicted kids. Expanding and managing LunaJets is his passion, but he is also an active « Ironman » triathlete.

Joseph Segura-Conn 300 x 300.jpg

Joseph Segura-Conn
coo, hoversurf Inc

Joseph Segura-Conn is the COO of Hoversurf, a company whose work is leading in the future of manned transportation. Hoversurf is known for creating the world famous Hoversurf Hoverbike!  The Hoverbike has done flights all over the world and is presently being utilized by the Dubai Police Department. Joseph’s role at Hoversurf is to help oversee the development of the Hoverbike and in the prototyping of their 2 person eVTOL air taxi, scheduled to be debuted later this year.  

Joseph secured contract work at a young age, working with some of the top Fortune 500 companies, such as Tesla, Facebook and Mercedes. At the age of 23, Joseph started his own company – Prevail Prototypes – an accelerator focused on providing support at the early stage for entrepreneurs, taking them from an idea all the way to production. Even with helping 50+ companies grow their business, Joseph began a STEAM education school that helped teach people of all ages in the Silicon Valley. His courses focused on educating the public in the necessary steps when creating a product and in turn starting their own business.

Martin Seif.jpg

martin seif
co-founder. anxiety and depression association of america

Martin N. Seif, PhD, co founded the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and was a member of its board of directors from 1977 through 1991. Dr. Seif is, a faculty member of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, board certified in cognitive behavioral psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology, and served as associate director of The Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center at White Plains Hospital from 1990 through 2016. He was creator and director of Freedom to Fly, the nation's premier airport based fear of flying program, from 2000 through 2016. He maintains a private practice in New York, NY, and Greenwich, CT, and is coauthor of What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Anxiety Disorders (Rutledge, 2014), Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts (New harbinger, 2017), and The Reassurance Trap (New Harbinger, in press). 

Naresh Shah.jpg

Naresh Shah
COO, A^3 by airbus

Naresh Shah is A3 by Airbus’ acting Chief Operating Officer.  In addition to ensuring the smooth internal operations of this outpost of Airbus focused on disruptive innovation, he is responsible for enabling a cycle of project formulation, execution, and transition for a portfolio of projects spanning autonomy, electric flight, digital manufacturing, blockchain, machine learning, and more. At his prior position, Naresh helped create the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute from scratch as the VP of Operations at UI LABS in Chicago. With a background in aerospace engineering and organizational management, Naresh has also helped manage several DARPA programs focused on space and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, he is a combat veteran of the US Air Force with over 2,300 hours flight time primarily in the KC-135R.  


peter shannon
managing director, levitate capital

Peter Shannon is Managing Director of Levitate Capital, and joined Firelake Capital Management as Managing Director in 2010. He is focused on early stage investments in renewable energy, technologies improving use and delivery of natural resources, and other innovations on mature industries.

From 2005 until joining Firelake, Peter was a Principal at Atlas Venture, where he focused on solar, grid-scale energy storage, industrial energy efficiency, solid state data storage, and related software investments. Over his time at Atlas, he served as an observer on the boards of Advanced Electron Beams, Simple Tuition, MiaSolè, Songbird, Active Endpoints, Pixtronix, and Lilliputian Systems.

Before joining Atlas Venture, Peter was an MBA student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and prior to that was Vice President of Technology at Browz Group, a company he invested in and advised throughout start-up. Browz Group provides large customers in power generation, chemical, mining, and other heavy industries with on-line supply chain verification services, to help them and their suppliers exchange compliance-related information.

Peter’s experience in software design and management in startups began while an undergraduate, when he co-founded Eye Response, Inc., a company that pioneered computer eye tracking systems. He authored a U.S. Patent and drove commercialization of the technology for applications in healthcare as communication aid for quadriplegics, as well as broader consumer applications as an augmentation to the computer mouse. Eye Response was acquired by DynaVox in 2009.


cyrus sigari
co-founder, jetaviva

Cyrus Sigari soloed at age 16, earned private pilot certification at age 17, commercial pilot and flight instructor certification at age 18, and airline transport pilot certification at age 23. He holds multiple single-pilot jet type ratings and are rated in the Boeing 747-400. Cyrus graduated from Purdue University where he studied Aeronautical Engineering. He has turned his passion of flight into a business that has helped hundreds of individuals and companies with the world of jet ownership.

Prior to co-founding jetAVIVA, Cyrus served as a principal engineer for Eclipse Aviation during the initial development of the Eclipse 500. After fulfilling his engineering commitments, Cyrus transitioned to sales and sold 50 Eclipse 500s in a one-year period. Outside of his direct efforts at jetAVIVA, Cyrus holds the position of Very Light Jet Editor for Plane & Pilot and Pilot Journal magazines, has been published in Twin & Turbine magazine, and authors Light Jet Pre-Owned market report for Aviation International News. Cyrus is a founding member of the Citation Jet Pilots Owners group and Eclipse 500 Owners Club. He is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Farsi.

Raj Singh.jpg

raj singh
managing director, jetblue technology ventures

With over 25 years of experience in the innovation and information technology sectors, Raj has worked as a strategist, leader, VC and advisor. Prior to joining JetBlue Technology Ventures, Raj was a mentor at Founder Institute in Palo Alto. Raj was CEO of several companies, including London-based Sooqini, an on-demand task delegator for small businesses; the UK Sharing Coalition, an on-demand economy trade association; and D&L Partners SA, where he set up and ran a consulting firm working with European and Middle East governments to foster increased entrepreneurship. As General Partner and co-founder of Pervasive Technology Ventures and a Principal for the New York-based VC arm of Investcorp, Raj sourced, negotiated and closed new investments in technology-led startups. Raj holds an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and a B.Sc. (Honors) in Computing Science from Imperial College London.

Paolo Sommariva.jpg

Paolo Sommariva

Paolo is co-founder of FL3XX, an innovative solution for business charter and brokers that delivers complete, automated workflows for all team members and managers.

With over 25 years of experience in technology as well as several in private aviation, Paolo has a vision to open the market to the wider world of travel by leveraging technology. He strives to live in a word filled with innovation, where great talents turn disruptive ideas into realities and people collaborate and focus to get things done.

Prior to FL3XX, Paolo founded the first seaplane airline service in the southern Italian islands and later a regional airline in northern Italy. He has extensive operations, finance and technology experience, gained in large corporations such as General Electric, startups such as, and Venture Capital firms such as Syntek. Paolo also actively advises companies in the fields of greentech, fintech and avtech.

John Stack.jpg

john stack
managing director, the mclean group

John Stack is currently Managing Director and leader of the aerospace investment banking practice at The McLean Group.  He has more than 25 years’ global strategy, business development and M&A experience focused on public and private companies. 

He is well positioned to assist companies with growth, liquidity events and the sale of non-core businesses given his strong industry knowledge, strategic and operational perspectives, vast global network of executives, business owners and investors, and extensive transaction experience. He has worked across the aerospace value chain. 

John was previously, VP, Strategy & Business Development and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Cessna Aircraft Company, where he led the Columbia Aircraft acquisition.  Prior to that, he was Director, Strategy Development & International at Textron, where he helped reshape the company’s business portfolio and worked with company presidents on strategic plans, operational challenges and growth. During his career, he has led project and joint venture teams in more than 15 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and he lived in Switzerland for more than four years. 

John holds a degree in Business Administration from Bryant University and an MBA from Fordham University. He is a commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He is also a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and proficient in French.


Tobias Strobl
strategy designer, business models inc.

Tobi, an aviation buff, joined BMI in the fall in 2017. Tobi is strategy designer specializing in strategy development and business model innovation. Tobi is also author of a blogpost series that looks into tech and innovation trends impacting and changing the near future.

Before joining BMI, Tobi gained experience in organizational development, process and technology consulting for international organizations in Europe, Asia and the US. Tobi is also an Airbus veteran with more than 4 years of work experience in product development for the future of flight and innovative aircraft technologies including strategic technology assessment and innovation management. He holds a PhD in aerospace engineering and has filed a number of patents on behalf of the Airbus Group in the field of aviation technologies that enable fully electric flight operations.

Uma Subramanian (1).jpg

uma subramanian
CEo, voom flights

Uma is the CEO of Voom. Uma is an aerospace enthusiast, who is particularly passionate about urban air mobility and the promise of using the skies to relieve urban congestion and traffic - today. Uma is a firm believer that urban air mobility should be affordable and accessible to commuters in the world’s most congested cities and is dedicated to realizing Voom’s vision of enriching people’s daily lives by elevating their daily commute.

Prior to launching Voom, Uma worked in London for 7 years, first as a consultant with Bain & Company. Later, she ran M&A and partnerships for Rolls-Royce’s Defence business. Most recently, Uma led European Operations for TaskRabbit, a VC-backed marketplace for home services.

Uma graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. 

Paul Touw.jpg

Paul Touw
Entrepreneur and Investor

Paul Touw is an entrepreneur spanning 25 years in both technology and aviation startups. Mr. Touw is a co-founder of Stellar Labs, Inc., which builds and delivers innovative flight operations management, commercial management, and global distribution systems for business aviation.

Mr. Touw began his career as an aerospace engineer and would later found or join six startups in Silicon Valley, three of which he served as CEO and two having public exists. He founded Ariba in 1996, the first B2B e-commerce marketplace serving Fortune 500 companies. He then founded XOJET in 2005, which today is the largest floating fleet charter operator in the U.S.

His most recent venture, Stellar Labs, capitalizes on both his backgrounds in marketplace technology and aviation charter. Mr. Touw is married with three children and lives in Saint Helena, California. He is also a private pilot.

Adam Twidell.jpg

adam twidell
CEO, privatefly

Adam is CEO and co-founder of private jet booking platform, PrivateFly. He began his career as a pilot – first for 10 years with the British Royal Air Force, then moving into private aviation with NetJets – before launching PrivateFly in 2008.

PrivateFly is a fast-growing, global marketplace for private jet charter. Via its European head office in St Albans, UK and US office in Fort Lauderdale, it offers an expert 24-hour Flight Team, combined with significantly enhanced efficiency via technology. This gives transparent, better and faster pricing for the customer; and an improved marketing channel for aircraft operators.

PrivateFly was one of the first companies to receive the industry's best practice accreditation, Argus Certified Broker status, in May 2016 and Adam and his team continue to strive for greater efficiencies and innovations at every stage of the private charter booking process.

Adam is a high-profile and passionate spokesperson for the business aviation industry, a council member of industry body BACA and the chair of the EBAA (European Business Aviation Association) broker sub-committee. He remains an active pilot, flying the Citation XLS+.

Ed Underwood.jpg

Ed underwood
president, avsurance

Ed Underwood, president of Avsurance Corporation, and vice president and risk manager of Avfuel Corporation, has been in the aviation insurance industry since 1980. He holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation conferred in 1984 and the Certified Insurance Counselor designation conferred in 1995. Underwood received a bachelor’s degree from Colby College. 
Prior to his appointment as president of Avsurance Corporation in 1991, Underwood was vice president of the Rockwood Company in Chicago, Illinois.
Avsurance Corporation is a specialty Aviation Insurance Broker and a wholly owned subsidiary of Avfuel Corporation. Avsurance is licensed in all 50 states and places coverage for more than 300 aviation accounts throughout the world. The agency practice includes Part 121 cargo operators, Part 135 fleets, fixed based operators, maintenance facilities, component part manufacturers and more than 200 turbine Part 91 aircraft. Specializing in US registered foreign-owned aircraft.

Renato Vaghi.jpg

renato vaghi
ceo, Piaggio aerospace

Renato Vaghi was appointed Chief Executive Officer in August 2016.

Renato has a significant background in the aerospace industry, which he joined in 1991 as structural analyst at Alenia Aeronautica (Leonardo Aircraft Division). With the exception of a two-year experience as Product Manager with Kone Elevators, he developed most of his career within Finmeccanica-Leonardo, where he covered several assignments with growing responsibility at subsidiaries Alenia Aeronautica and Aermacchi. Among others, he was Chief Project Engineer
on a Propulsion System Integration with General Electric Aviation and Embraer, Head of Production of the military trainer aircraft SF260, Head of Program Management for Commercial Aerostructure and Nacelle Programs, Program Manager for the US Air Force T-X Integrated Training Systems. Renato joined Piaggio Aerospace in June 2014 as Chief Program Officer, in charge of the development of the P.1HH, MPA and Avanti EVO. In April 2015 he was appointed Head of the Aircraft Business Unit and in January 2016 Chief Operating Officer.

Renato holds a MSc in Aeronautical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano and an Executive MBA at SDA Bocconi Business School. He is also a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP©) from Project Management Institute (PMI). A native Italian speaker, Renato is also fluent in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.


Tom Vice
president & cEo, Aerion corporation

Mr. Vice is responsible for all aspects of Aerion’s AS2 design, development, certification, and customer delivery.

Vice joined Aerion from Northrop Grumman, where he served as president of its Aerospace Systems sector overseeing an $11 billion global advanced technology business with 23,000 employees. Aerospace Systems is a pioneer in space-based observatories, satellites, fully-autonomous intelligent systems, combat aircraft, high-powered lasers, and microelectronics.

Previously, Vice was president of Northrop Grumman’s Technical Services sector, a leader in integrated logistics and modernization, defense and government services, and training solutions, with more than 19,500 employees in 300 locations in all 50 states and 29 countries.

Vice joined Northrop Grumman in 1986 as an engineer on the B-2 stealth bomber. Over the span of 30 years at the company, he led nearly every aspect of the business: engineering, program management, advanced programs and technology, manufacturing and operations, supply chain management, business development, and information technology.

Vice earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He serves on the board of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, the board of trustees of the Florida Institute of Technology, the board of councilors for USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, the board of advisors for Purdue University’s School of Astronautics and Aeronautics, and previously served on the board of governors for the USO.

James Wang.jpg

james wang
vertical flight support

Dr. James Wang has held several executive leadership positions, and has more than 30 years of experience in aerospace, helicopters, defense and high-tech industries.  Most recently, he was the VP of R&D and the Senior VP of Marketing at Leonardo Helicopters based in Italy.  Prior to that he was in Advanced Design and also lead Strategic Sales campaigns at Sikorsky Aircraft.  He currently offers private consulting services in aerospace technology strategy, marketing & business strategy, and engineering advising.  He is also a technical expert in helicopter and eVTOL aircraft design.  In 2018, he taught Multidiscipline Design at Stanford University. He is a volunteer Mentor and Master of the Boeing sponsored GoFly Competition.

He received his bachelor degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., a Masters from M.I.T. Sloan Business School, and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.

In 2013, WIRED Magazine named Dr. Wang “the Steve Jobs of Rotorcraft” for his ability to think “outside the box” and pushing the transportation technology boundaries by inventing and designing the AgustaWestland Project Zero, the world’s first all-electric VTOL technology demonstrator aircraft.


ford von weise
Global Head of Aircraft Finance
Citi Private Bank

Ford von Weise is currently a Director and Global Head of the Aircraft Finance Group at Citi Private Bank. The group provides private aircraft financing solutions to individual ultra high net worth clients and their companies throughout the world. Ford's responsibilities and roles while at Citi have included loan origination, product program management, reporting and workouts. The group focuses on transactions typically in the range of $10 to $50 million.

Ford has over fourteen years of business aviation experience most recently serving as Vice President of Business Aviation Finance for Merrill Lynch Capital. Prior to Merrill Lynch, he worked for GMAC Commercial Finance in the same capacity. His expertise covers a wide range of corporate and personal aircraft both domestically and internationally. Prior to joining GMAC, Mr. von Weise was Vice President of Capital Transactions at Lend Lease Real Estate investments, where he was responsible for the recapitalization and workout of large multi-family properties throughout the U.S.

Mr. von Weise is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Aircraft Finance Association and was appointed by the Boards of Selectmen from the Massachusetts towns of Concord, Lincoln, Bedford and Lexington as a commission member of the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission. He is also a past board member of the Massachusetts Business Aviation Association and a local volunteer representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also an instrument rated pilot, aircraft owner, and a pilot for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Mr. von Weise has also appeared on the Discovery Channel as an aviation expert in the Celebrity Crash Files, J.F.K., Jr, documentary series. He is also currently a member of the Board of Advisors for Brown Aviation Lease.

Ford holds an undergraduate degree, cum laude, in Environmental Studies and History from the University of Vermont.

Al Whyte.jpg

Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair is editor and co-founder of Corporate Jet Investor which provides insight and organises events for the global business jet market.

More than 100,000 people read Corporate Jet Investor each month - both online and through its One Minute Week email. It also organises events in London, Dubai, Geneva, Singapore and Miami.

He became a financial journalist in 1998 and has specialised in aviation for most of this time. He is also responsible for the content of Helicopter Investor and Superyacht Investor.

Alasdair lives outside London and is married to Louisa (Corporate Jet Investor’s other co-founder). His main hobby has become driving his two children between their hobbies.

Rob Wiesenthal.jpg

Rob Wiesenthal
Founder and CEO, BLADE

Until June 2012, Wiesenthal was Executive Vice president and Chief Financial Officer of Sony Corporation of America, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, Sony Entertainment Inc., and Group Executive, Sony Corporation, leading corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions. From 2012 to June 2015, he was Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music Group. Wiesenthal now heads Blade, an aviation start-up. He incubated Blade in early 2014 as the first digitally powered short-distance aviation company. Since its inception, the company has remained asset light and utilizes a business model that crowdsources flights enabling fliers to set the departure point, time, destination and type of aircraft, and selling remaining seats to the Blade user community. Today Blade services 22 core routes in 7 states and maintains seven flier lounges in four states. Key routes include the New York City area, Eastern Long Island, the New Jersey Coast, Connecticut, the Cape (Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard), Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Orange County.

Alex Wilcox.jpg

Alex wilcox
CEO, jetsuite

With over two decades of experience in creating highly innovative air carriers in ways that have improved air travel for millions, Alex Wilcox now serves as CEO of JetSuite – a private jet airline which launched operations in 2009. In co-founding JetSuite in 2008, Alex brought new technology and unprecedented value to an industry in dire need of it. JetSuite is a launch customer for the Embraer Phenom 100, an airplane twice as efficient and more comfortable than other jets performing its missions. Also a founder of JetBlue, Alex was a driving force behind many airline industry changing innovations, including the implementation of LiveTV on board and all leather coach seating. Alex was also named a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute and is a member of the Southern California chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

Paul Willard.png

paul willard
investor, storm ventures

Paul enjoys teaming up with founders on enterprise software primarily in SaaS, Health Tech, and Robotics-as-a-Service. 

He has also invested in several companies with aircraft including Zipline, Boom, and XTI Aircraft. 

For 14 years, he was a product, design, marketing and analytics executive at tech startups including, Practice Fusion, Atlassian and NextCard.  Before there were interwebs, he was an aerodynamics engineer at Boeing.  He spends his free time with his family and fixing up old houses.

Bilal Zuberi.jpg

Bilal Zuberi
partner, lux capital

Bilal is attracted to startups that solve real, practical problems with technically ambitious solutions. They are often the first of their kind. They might address challenges around physical security by inventing advanced sensors, improve air traffic management for drones, transform manufacturing and automate our world, or build connected devices that reshape consumers’ lives.

Bilal leads Lux’s investments in SailDrone, autonomous ocean data collection; AirMap, airspace traffic management; Desktop Metal, metal 3D printing; Nozomi Networks, industrial cyber security; Evolv, physical security screening; CyPhyWorks, commercial drones; NoonHome, intelligent lighting; Orbital Insight, AI for satellite imagery; HappiestBaby, connected nursery for babies; Veo Robotics, collaborative industrial robotics; Hangar Technology, global aerial data capture; Lightform, Projection AR; Deep Sentinel, home security, and StrangeWorks, quantum computing.

Prior to joining Lux, Bilal was an investor at General Catalyst Partners.

Before he became an investor, Bilal was an entrepreneur. He cofounded GEO2 Technologies, an advanced materials company that also spun out Bio2 Technologies, company that makes bone-graft materials, among other things. Earlier in his career, Bilal was a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and a visiting scientist at PNNL/DOE Labs.

Bilal served as an advisor to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and the founding team of the School of Science and Engineering at LUMS University. He co-founded several initiatives to promote university entrepreneurship, including,, and University Research and Entrepreneurship Symposium. Bilal currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Lemelson Foundation for invention and entrepreneurship. He frequently speaks at universities and conferences on technology, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystems.

He earned a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (under Prof. Mario Molina, Nobel laureate, 1995), and his technical work has been published in peer-reviewed journals. He holds 30+ patents and patent applications.