People In Aviation: March 2017

 - March 5, 2017, 5:58 PM

Quest Aircraft has selected Robert Wells to take the helm as CEO. Wells succeeds Sam Hill, who retired from the role after a 50-year career in the aviation industry. Hill will remain as an advisor to the company and member of the board of directors. Wells, who brings 40 years of aviation experience to Quest, most recently spent 15 years with TAG Aviation, where he had been CEO of the holding company.

Dart Aerospace promoted Alain Madore to president and CEO. Most recently v-p of commercial operations and aftermarket services, Madore succeeds Bill Beckett, who is retiring. In addition Steve Ghaleb, formerly director of sales, was promoted to v-p of commercial operations; Ryan Williamson, formerly general manager of the Eugene facility, has been appointed v-p and general manager of the Hawkesbury, Eugene and Calgary facilities; Gordon Hill, formerly v-p and general manager of the San Diego facility, has added the Broussard facility to his responsibilities; and Emmanuel Paillier has joined the firm as v-p of product strategy and business development.

Alex Overstrom was named to head PNC Aviation Finance. He succeeds Wayne Starling, who is retiring after a 40-year career in business aircraft financing. Formerly COO of PNC Corporate Banking, Overstrom joined PNC from Goldman Sachs eight years ago.

Jon Taylor was promoted to president of JB&A Aviation. He succeeds Jerry Smith, who becomes chairman emeritus after serving as president since 1997. Most recently vice president, Taylor joined JB&A in 1983 after serving with CVT Machine Tool in Dallas.

Stu Willcuts returned to the position of president and CEO of Air Serv International. Willcuts stepped in for Dave Carlstrom, who held the role from 2009-2016 and helped steer the organization through financial difficulties and expand its humanitarian reach. Willcuts has 30 years of humanitarian experience, and previously was president and CEO of Air Serv from 2000-2006.

Jon Cobin was promoted to executive v-p and chief commercial officer for Gogo. Cobin most recently was senior v-p of project and operations management for Gogo.

Piper Aircraft named Drew McEwen v-p of international and direct sales. McEwen, a 30-year industry veteran, joined Piper in 2010 as director of sales for the Americas and later held the roles of head of global sales and business development and v-p of sales and marketing. In addition, Ron Gunnarson joined the company as v-p of sales, marketing and customer support. Gunnarson has 28 years of aviation experience, most recently as v-p of marketing at Textron Aviation.

Eagle Cap Software hired Gary Minard to serve as v-p of business development. Previously Minard was director of sales and service at Jeppesen.

Mente Group appointed Vincent Restivo as vice president. Restivo spent 25 years with Gulfstream Aerospace and also has served with Hawker Beechcraft and his own firm, Addo Virtus Advisors.

Traxxall Technologies named Rich Anzalone v-p of customer experience. Anzalone joins Traxxall from Camp Systems, where he spent 34 years and most recently was v-p of customer support and sales.

Chris DeGuise joined Simhawk as chief technology officer. DeGuise was a co-founder of Pragmatic Technologies, an IT consulting company located in Burlington, Vt., and has held leadership roles at and Dealertrack after they acquired Pragmatic Technologies.

Gulfstream Aerospace appointed Bin Zhang general manager of the service center in Beijing. Zhang has previously served as director of business development and general manager for Morgan Advanced Materials in China and general manager of the Goodrich Aerostructures (now United Technologies) facility for nacelles and thrust reversers in Tianjin, China, in addition to holding roles with DuPont Fluorochemicals in Wilmington, Del., China North Chemical Industries Group in Beijing and China Wanbao Engineering in Tehran, Iran.

Scott Macpherson, founder and president of, was appointed chairman of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) governing board. A pilot and manager in corporate aviation for 25 years, Macpherson has been the Canadian Business Aviation Association representative to IBAC since 2012 and vice chairman of the IBAC board since 2014.. In addition, Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, founding chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), was elected to a three-year term as vice chairman of the IBAC governing board. Alnaqbi was previously treasurer of the governing board.

SkyQuest International has named Eugene Prenzler director of sales and Steve Zinda aircraft sales consultant. Prenzler formerly served with SkyQuest as a Quest Kodiak sales subagent and pilot in Africa. Zinda has a 35-year aviation background with the U.S. Air Force, Raytheon Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft, Honda and most recently with Quest Aircraft.

The Walsh Group named Thomas Haag national director of aviation. Haag has 17 years of aviation experience, previously as v-p of global aviation at Parsons.

Stan Younger has joined the senior leadership team of Constant Aviation. Younger has 25 years of experience in strategic planning, aircraft maintenance, commercial aviation, flight safety and customer service, and most recently was v-p of service centers for Bombardier.

Global Jet Capital appointed Ben Murray senior managing director of asset management. Murray, who has 17 years of industry experience, previously spent four years as president of aircraft management and charter for Landmark Aviation and has held senior positions at XoJet, NetJets and General Aviation Services.

Monroe Aerospace hired John Ratcliffe to be general manager, responsible for the company’s facilities in Melbourne, Fla., and Las Vegas. Ratcliffe has a background in aerospace component manufacturing and distribution, serving with Rexnord/Fairchild Specialty Fasteners Division, as well as with Wesco Aircraft and KLX Aerospace Solutions.

Robert Aliaga has joined Simcom Training Aviation as manager of the Orlando Parksouth training center. Aliaga, who has 27 years of flying experience, has held roles as chief pilot and director of training for a Part 121 air carrier and most recently was an instructor, examiner and program manager for FlightSafety.

TAG Aviation appointed Vladimir Velebit manager of the charter department in Geneva. Velebit, who began his business aviation career in 2007 working within TAG Aviation’s charter sales department, returns to the company after serving as director of business development and aircraft management sales for ExecuJet Europe.

Juraj Pikna has joined C&L Aerospace as regional sales manager for Europe, Russia and Africa. Pikna brings to his new role a 10-year background in ATC, MRO, sales and support for aircraft parts.

Summit Aviation hired Matt Tarczynski as a regional sales representative. Tarczynski previously spent 26 years with the Pennsylvania State Police, serving in various positions within the aviation section.

Biggin Hill-based private jet operator Interflight appointed Trevor Jones accountable manager. Jones brings 35 years business jet management and air charter experience to his new role.

Elliott Aviation added three people to its staff: Kerry Olson was named project manager; Casey Ritz, regional sales manager; and Cindy Stepanski, airframe parts sales specialist. Olson, who joins Elliott with 20 years of aviation experience, most recently was vice president of production operations and sales at Compass Strategic Services. Stepanski also has two decades of aviation experience, most recently as purchasing manager at Wing Aviation Service. Ritz, formerly special mission proposal manager for Textron Aviation, has 10 years of experience ranging from a lead technician to proposal manager.

GrandView Aviation has named Rebecca Sipes charter sales coordinator. Sipes has experience with customer service and logistics, most recently at Sterling Global Logistics, where she was responsible for coordinating the logistics for the international department.

Metro Aviation hired Holly Weber as director of customer revenue cycle support. Weber has served as vice president of business development and transformation at Syncordia Technologies and Healthcare Solutions and has experience with flight communications, dispatching and revenue cycle management.

Professional Aircraft Accessories appointed Jody Bullock director of strategy and sales performance and Fernando Ramos regional sales director for Latin America. Bullock previously served as a consultant to Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine and before that was manager of MRO strategy and business development for Delta Air Lines. Ramos has 19 years of aviation experience, previously as customer service manager for Aero Precision Repair and Overhaul and before that as a regional sales manager for AeroTurbine in Dallas, Texas. 

Final Flight

James Welsch, Jr., former president and partner of aircraft broker Welsch Aviation, died January 20 after a short illness. He was 81. Welsch began his 54-year career in aviation in 1960, joining the firm that his father, also James Welsch, founded a decade earlier. Together, they were among the pioneers in the corporate aircraft brokerage business, selling DC-3s, Convairs, JetStars and eventually Gulfstreams. Over time Welsch Aviation expanded to four offices across the U.S.

Welsch was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Oct. 12, 1935, and got his first airplane ride three months later when his father took him up in an open-cockpit, single-engine biplane. After graduating from Hofstra University, he served in the U.S. Army. He joined his father’s firm at the end of his active duty, and retired from the business in 2014.

Welsch is survived by Gail, his wife of 58 years; daughters Kristin and Leslie; and two grandchildren.