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.

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 Touw is the founder and Managing Partner of AirFinance Leasing LLC, a firm that specializes in the financing of helicopters and business jets globally.

AirFinance's core business is as an originator and servicer of business jet and helicopter loans that are backed by the United States Export Import Bank. AirFinance also works with Canada's Export Development Bank and since 2012 has originated and approved more than $750M in general aviation financings.

In 2015, AirFinance won Corporate Jet Investors’ award for the Most Innovative Financier Europe Middle East and Africa for a G450 financing into Nigeria to a first time buyer. In 2014, the firm won the over award for the Most Innovative Financier globally with the US Export Import Bank for their creation of the Qualified Advisor Program and in 2013, AirFinance won Deal of the Year for developing and structuring Flight Options' Phenom 300 financing by BNDES, Brazil's ECA.

Before AirFinance, Kirsten was a co-founder, board member and CFO of XOJET, a US based next generation fleet operator sold to TPG Capital in the fall of 2007. As CFO, she oversaw financial and strategic initiatives including aircraft purchasing and financing for XOJET’s 50 plus aircraft. At XOJET, Kirsten structured and raised more than $3 billion of equity and debt financing which included the first export credit agency pre-delivery payments financing in the business jet space, the first commercial style business jet leasing transaction by a major investment bank, and the first sovereign government financed equity and debt facility.


steve burns.jpg

Stephen Burns
Founder, CEO & Director, Workhouse

Mr. Burns has founded several companies, most recently iTookThisOnMyPhone.com, 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.

Francois Chopard.jpg

Francois chopard
founder & ceo, starburst accelerator

Francois has over 20 years of experience in strategy consulting, entrepreneurship and business development. He has founded Starburst Accelerator, the 1st incubator/accelerator dedicated to aerospace start-ups. Mr. Chopard specializes in the Aviation Aerospace and Defense industries featuring high stakes technology and has developed a wide experience of innovation-related issues. This has led him to speak about innovation at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He works now on topics like future trends, product strategy, open innovation for companies mainly from the aerospace industry as well as investment funds. Previously to joining Starburst, Mr. Chopard was a Paris-based partner at Oliver Wyman. He was also founder and CEO of Arendi Consulting. Mr. Chopard received his MS in Electrical Engineering from the Ecole Supérieur d’Electricité (Supélec) in Paris, France. He has started his career as an Airbus Engineer and spent two years in a US Airforce research lab.

Neil Cloughley.jpg

Neil Cloughley
managing director & founder, faradair aerospace

Profile coming soon.


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 Match.com, 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.

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

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.

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.

Richard Koe.jpg

Richard Koe
Managing Director, wingx advance

Richard Koe is joint Managing Director of WINGX, taking the lead on strategy, business development and sales initiatives. Together with Christoph Kohler, Richard has grown WINGX to be the leading provider of market intelligence to the global business aviation industry. As well as managing WINGX, Richard is a regular speaker, panellist and moderator at industry conferences worldwide, writes on a wide range of business aviation issues, and works closely with regional regulators and industry associations. 

Richard has spent a decade in the business aviation sector, initially as a board member of PrivatAir, subsequently managing the group´s private jet charter and management division. Richard has also advised several airline and business aviation ventures prior to starting WINGX. 

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 as 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.


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.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.

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 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.

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, citi private bank

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.

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.

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). 


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.


Naresh Shah
COO, A3 by airbus

Naresh is the acting COO. Naresh has many years of schooling in aerospace engineering, math, and management in the Air Force Academy, at MIT, and at George Washington University, most of which was little used while he flew around the world as a KC-135 pilot in the US Air Force for the first 11 years of his career. Eventually he saw the light and started putting his education to some practical use, first at DARPA, helping manage several space and advanced manufacturing programs, and then by co-founding and managing operations for a digital manufacturing innovation institute.


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.

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.

Uma Subramanian (1).jpg

Uma Subramanian
CEO, voom

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, stellar labs

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.


Tom Vice
president & coo, 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.


ford von weise
Director - Head, Global 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
co-founder, revolution.aero

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).