People in Aviation: May 2018

 - May 3, 2018, 2:37 AM

Jean-François Delepau was appointed chairman of Sofradir Group, the high-performance imaging specialist jointly owned by Thales and Safran. Delepau previously was managing director of Sofradir’s ULIS operation and has held roles with various companies specializing in electronics and components.

John Owen, who has served as interim president of Executive AirShare for the past two months, was formally named president and CEO. Owen takes over for Keith Plumb, who announced in February that he was stepping down after co-founding and steering the company since 2000. Owen had joined Executive AirShare in 2016 as CFO after serving as vice president for national search firm EFL Associates and as CFO for OrTran, a supply-chain management company and also working for Capitus Group, Street, Accenture, and KPMG.

XoJet promoted James Henderson to president of commercial operations and Gregg Slow to chief client officer. Henderson previously was chief commercial officer. Slow formerly was executive vice president of sales and client services.

Jet Linx appointed John Daut base president of the Northeast region. Daut has more than 25 years of industry experience, holding positions as Northeast regional vice president at Nextant, executive v-p at Marquis Jet, and vice president of sales at NetJets.

Sandel Avionics named Larry Riddle vice president of sales and marketing. Riddle has 23 years of avionics experience, including serving as vice president of sales and marketing for L3 Technologies Aviation Products.

Duncan Aviation appointed Chad Doehring v-p of operations for its Provo, Utah location. Doehring joined Duncan in 1994 as a mechanic and since has held positions of increasing responsibility, including airframe assistant manager, airframe services manager, and customer service manager. In addition, Mike Dunham joined Duncan Aviation turbine engine service sales team, covering the Great Lakes region with a focus on the MRO provider’s Pratt & Whitney Canada services in Battle Creek, Michigan. Dunham has 31 years of aviation experience, previously holding sales positions for Vector Aerospace and Cessna Citation.

Jason Kielau was named vice president of sales and marketing for Eagle Copters. Kielau joins Eagle Copters from ATCO Structures & Logistics, where he led several business units across North America, South America and Europe.

FlightSafety International promoted Suren Meras to senior director, operations. Meras, who has 35 years of aviation experience, joined FlightSafety in 2007 at its Toronto learning center as assistant center manager and most recently was director, training operations. In addition, the company named Jeff Rose manager of the company’s learning center in Columbus, Ohio. Rose joined FlightSafety in 2001 as an instructor for the Cessna Citation 500 series in Toledo, Ohio, later became assistant manager of the Savannah, Georgia center, and most recently was manager of the Atlanta facility. Succeeding Rose in Atlanta is Jamie Hopkins. Hopkins joined FlightSafety in 2014 at the Wichita Cessna Center as an instructor in the Cessna Caravan program, later became assistant manager of the Savannah center. Brian McNelly was promoted to assistant manager of the company’s maintenance learning center in Wichita, Kansas. McNelly, who has 32 years of aviation maintenance experience, joined FlightSafety in 2006 as an instructor and since served in a number of roles including his most recent position of regional director of regulatory affairs, maintenance.

Asian Sky Group named Alan Hung director of business development, responsible for Greater China and APAC. Hung, who has 10 years of aviation experience, previously was director of business development for Jet Support Services, Inc.

Guardian Jet appointed Matt Rosanvallon sales director. Rosanvallon previously served as a commercial and real estate consultant and broker for his own consultancy and also has served as director of sales and marketing for the New York-based high-end commercial real estate firm Coalition.

Diane Terrill was selected as deputy executive director for the Naples Airport Authority (NAA). Terrill has 27 years of aviation management experience, most recently as senior director of strategy and communication for NAA.

The Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) named Michael Wilson director of operations. Wilson joined USI with nearly 40 years of commercial and defense experience, most recently as strategic business operations manager for Columbia Helicopters.

Jet Support Services, Inc. appointed Jeff Soderberg director of business development for the Southwest U.S., including Southern California. Soderberg, who previously served as global sales director for StandardAero, brings 32 years of experience working with turbine engines to his new role.

Dan Larsen was promoted to general manager of Aerospace & Defense for Donaldson. Larsen is an 18-year company veteran, serving in OEM sales, engine aftermarket and most recently, engine business for greater China.

Fire Boss added Stephen Johnson as global sales director. Johnson, a certified flight instructor and commercial pilot in rotorcraft, has more than 20 years of aviation experience, including with Timberline Helicopters.

Western Aircraft promoted Don West to avionics account manager and Jeff Watson to turboprop service manager. In addition, Paul Harrington joined the company as an avionics team lead. West joined Western Aircraft in 2000 as an avionics technician and most recently was avionics lead. Watson has served with the company for more than 11 years, most recently as jet team lead. Harrington previously spent 20 years with Jet Aviation in St. Louis, most recently as Challenger team avionics lead. added four account managers: Craig Miracle, Austin Texas; Guy Shaginaw, Orlando; Jacob Kingsley, Tecumseh, Michigan; and Richard Hatfield, San Diego, California. Miracle, who holds an A&P, served in the U.S. Army as a UH-60 mechanic and earned a bachelor's of business administration from Texas State University. Shaginaw has more than 20 years of business experience, holds a degree in risk management and is completing his private pilot license. Kingsley is stepping into the aviation industry after growing up around the aviation industry. Hatfield has worked in FBO and MRO environments, providing service to commercial, private, and military customers.

Andy Brookins joined DFW Instrument as a shop manager. Brookings has 30 years of commercial and military instrument and avionics repair experience, including with Pacific Southwest Instruments, Western Avionics, Otto Instruments, and most recently Global Tech.

Ryan Robertson was appointed sales manager for component repair for C&L Aviation Group. Robertson has more than 15 years of experience with regional aircraft and component repairs, previously serving with Worthington Aviation and INAir Aviation Services.

Dallas Airmotive named Keith Moreland rotorcraft regional engine manager. Moreland has more than 18 years of rotorcraft industry experience, including as director of maintenance for both Rotorcraft Services Group and Uniflight, as well as completions lead technician for Airbus Helicopters.

TAG Aviation Europe appointed Karl Mills charter manager for the UK. Mills, who previously held financial services and aviation sales roles, joined TAG Aviation Europe in 2014 as charter sales executive and most recently was commercial manager.

Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) added Darren Knight as parts manufacturer approval manager and named Austin Barrett engineering change order program manager. Knight, who will help customers with compliance, has worked with ASU in various capacities while serving with other organizations before joining ASU. Barrett had served with ASU for four years, sas a night vision imaging system technician and working with technical drawings.

Mesut Yikilmaz has taken the role of Gulfstream G550 flight operations manager for Ciner Aviation. Yikilmaz brings nearly three decades of military and civil aviation experience to Ciner, previously holding captain, manager of safety, and compliance and crew training roles.

Awards and Honors

The National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) Business Aviation Scholarship program awarded $36,000 to 12 college students seeking business aviation careers. The program, which is providing $3,000 individual scholarships, was founded to assist full-time graduate and undergraduate students majoring in corporate aviation management, aerodynamics, aircraft systems, aviation safety, finance, business marketing, economics, and other studies that relate to aviation business and management.

This year’s winners are Matthew Aniello, senior at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Tech; Tanya Baham, junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU); Patrick Ekhlas, senior at Auburn University; Robin Frey, master's student at ERAU; John Girouard, master's student at ERAU; Justin Guth, master's student at ERAU; Faisal Khalifa, master's student at ERAU; Ivan Kut, senior at ERAU; Dennis Mugenyi, senior at the University of North Texas; Hemant Saria, senior at ERAU; Sheppard Stutts, senior at Louisiana Tech University; and Benjamin Uribe, junior at ERAU.

Final Flights

Gary Briggs, founder and president of Ascend Development in Hayward, California, died October 29 after a short illness. He was 64. Briggs’s aviation career spanned more than four decades beginning with fueling jets at Spokane International Airport (GEG) while attending Eastern Washington University. After earning a business degree in 1975, he was promoted to a management position with the Flightcraft FBO at GEG. He moved over to Flightcraft’s location at King County International Airport (Boeing Field, BFI) in 1983, and subsequently took a position with Raisbeck Engineering in Seattle. Over the next 15 years, he held various management roles with companies including Aero Services, Van Dusen, and ultimately returned to Flightcraft in Oakland and Hayward.

During his time with the aviation businesses, Briggs began to see a growing need for hangar space for a rapidly expanding business aircraft fleet in the San Francisco area. This led him to form Ascend Development in 2001 to provide real-estate development services for the aviation community. His son and business partner, Scott Briggs, is continuing to steer the firm.

Along with his son Scott, Briggs is survived by his wife, Patricia; son, Justin, a jet-charter broker in Silicon Valley; his daughter, Liberty Charpentier, also formerly of Ascend; and six grandchildren.