People in Aviation

 - September 1, 2021, 9:11 AM

The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Jennifer Homendy as chairman of the NTSB. Homendy succeeds Robert Sumwalt, who stepped down at the end of June after serving as chairman since 2017 and on the board for 15 years. Homendy, who joined the board in August 2018, has more than 25 years of transportation safety experience, including spending 14 years as the Democratic staff director for the House railroads, pipelines, and hazardous materials subcommittee.

Global Jet Capital appointed Vivek Kaushal as CEO, replacing Shawn Vick, who will now serve as executive chairman. Kaushal, who has 30 years of business financing experience, was most recently Global Jet’s COO, a position he was appointed to in 2019 after joining the company in 2015 following its acquisition of GE Capital’s business aircraft portfolio.

The Air Charter Safety Foundation board of governors elected Jessica Naor and Tom Huff to its executive board. Naor is COO of the Maryland-based GrandView Aviation and a member of FAA’s Duty & Rest Aviation Rulemaking Committee, as well as vice-chair of the National Air Transportation Association Part 135 Committee. Huff, the aviation safety officer for Gulfstream Aerospace, recently chaired both the Flight Test Safety and NBAA Safety Committees and is now the chair of the Flight Safety Foundation Business Advisory Committee.

Passur named Kurt Ekert non-executive vice-chairman. Ekert has served as a director of the company since September 2009 and also has served as president and CEO of CWT and chief commercial officer of Travelport.

Lindsey Oliver was named director-general for the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA). Previously operations and development manager, Oliver has worked alongside CEO Marc Bailey since 2009 and before that served with the National Farmers Union and Buckinghamshire Agricultural Association.

Acorn Growth Companies named Greg Agnew head of its mergers and acquisition group. He succeeds Bob Hinaman, who is retiring but will serve as an advisory through this month. Agnew joined Acorn in 2018 with a two-decade background in banking, advisory, and equity research, including establishing the Washington, D.C. office and U.S. Aerospace & Defense investment banking practice for Canaccord Genuity.

Mente Group named David Hayes as managing director for the Southeast, based in Orlando, Florida. Hayes, who has served with FlightSafety International and was a corporate and airline pilot, joins Mente Group from Textron, where he held national sales leadership posts Textron Specialized Vehicles, TRU Simulation + Training, and Textron Aviation.  Mente also named Cole White managing director for the U.S. South. A former U.S. Army armor officer, White most recently was v-p of transactions for Mente.

Duncan Aviation added Kramer Lyons to its senior management team as director and associate general counsel. Lyons previously was an attorney with the Lincoln, Nebraska-based law firm O’Neil Heinrich, where he focused on general corporate law, business and commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and construction law.

GGT WORLDWISE appointed Tracie Carwile v-p of global sales and inclusion. Carwile brings more than 15 years of business aviation experience to the company, including with Universal Weather and Aviation.

Heather Sermo joined Pentastar Aviation as v-p of human resources. She previously was human resource director for RoboVent.

Kulr Technology Group named Greg Provenzano v-p of sales and marketing. Provenzano joins the thermal management specialist with more than 35 years of leadership and worldwide sales experience in electronic components, design services, and systems, most recently serving as senior v-p for Advanced Energy.

JetHQ appointed David Coppock as v-p of sales, based in the U.S. A U.S. Air Force combat veteran, Coppock, most recently was managing director for the Mente Group and has worked with Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft, and Bombardier.

ACC Aviation appointed Viktor Berta as v-p of its newly created Aviation Finance Practice. Berta has a background in working with lessors, airlines, and MROs and previously worked with ACC Aviation’s consulting team on an aircraft financing deal.

Partners In Aviation hired Perry Bridges as v-p of operations. Bridges previously spent 20 years with Cessna Aircraft, including 11 at Cessna Finance Corp., and also has served as v-p of aviation for Bank OZK in Chicago.

Raisbeck Engineering brought Tim Morgan on board as v-p of engineering. Morgan brings more than 35 years of aerospace engineering, product development, and certification experience to his new role, including spending 20 years with TTF Aerospace and serving with AIM Aerospace.

Pentastar Aviation named Mark Schenkel v-p of finance.  Schenkel, who joined Pentastar in 2015 as controller, is now responsible for all strategic financial initiatives and financial operations and information technology activities of Pentastar Aviation and Pentastar Aviation Charter.

The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority appointed Liam Byrne as director of business development. Byrne formerly was senior manager for international development with the UK CAA and has held aviation consultancy and airline roles over his career spanning more than 25 years.

Maria Willis joined Blackhawk Aerospace’s group in Alabama as capture manager. Willis brings eight years of experience as a program manager of equipment and information technology at Contractor Service & Fabrication.

Western Aircraft hired Patrick “Brody” McKenna to serve as avionics manager. McKenna, a former avionics specialist with the U.S. Marine Corps, has more than 15 years of aviation experience, also including with Gulfstream Aerospace in Long Beach, California.

Lancaster Airport in Pennsylvania named Ed Foster airport director. Foster has nearly 40 years of aviation industry experience, most recently as airport associate director for University Park Airport at Penn State University.

Summit Aviation hired Bradley Card to serve as director of program management. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Card has 30 years of aviation experience, most recently as program manager for Aloft AeroArchitects.

Phillip Cantu was promoted to line services manager for Air 7. Cantu will be responsible for coordinating Air 7’s aircraft fuel, refueling services, aircraft operator communications, ramp facilities, fuel testing, aircraft hangar facilities ground support equipment, and line service team.

Nicole O’Connor was appointed commercial director for Weston Aviation. O’Connor, who brings 20 years of travel and tourism sales and business development experience to her new role, joined Weston last year and has supported local awareness of the company and its services at Gloucestershire Airport in the UK.

ACASS hired Andrew Pethen to serve as client services director for its Ireland branch office. Pethen has more than 27 years of aviation experience, previously holding roles with Air France, UK NATS, Flexjet Europe, and TAG Aviation (UK). 

Gustavo Botura was promoted to the newly created position of director of client services for Elite Jet Charters. Botura was part of the Elite Jets launch team in 2015 and previously served as executive charter consultant.

Jeffery Potter joined King Aerospace as director of interiors. Potter has a 30-year career that has included management roles with Aeria Luxury Interiors, Gore Design Completions, and Associated Air Center.

Air Charter Service (ACS) appointed Ben Stevenson to lead the company’s Travel & Concierge team, primarily working with the company’s Private Jets division. Stevenson previously spent 15 years with Flight Centre Travel Group, where he was head of specialist retail.

West Star Aviation promoted Scott Debrie to interior senior team lead at its Grand Junction, Colorado location. Debrie joined West Star in 2002 and previously worked with Pfizer in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Elliott Aviation hired Rafael Garcia to serve as international parts sales representative. Garcia has more than 20 years of aviation experience, including with Southeast Aerospace, Aero-Marine Technologies, Global Parts, and Newco Aviation.

Fernando Alonso joined ITPS as a visiting instructor as well to provide business development services. Alonso previously has served as head of flight and integration testing at Airbus Commercial Aircraft and head of Military Aircraft for Airbus.

Vince Kellestine returned to Mid-Canada Mod Center to lead the company’s service department. Kellestine, who has 30 years of experience supporting aircraft, previously managed the company’s service department from 1997 to 2011 and subsequently held positions at Air Georgian and Onex Partners Group.

Western Aircraft’s aircraft sales and charter management division named Ronald Smith to regional director of Pilatus jet sales and Pat Belokas regional director of Pilatus turboprop sales. Smith has served with the Western Aircraft sales team for the past 13 years and previously was Pilatus regional sales director. Belokas had served as the Piper regional sales director since 2016.

Tim Lowther joined Get Heli as sales and marketing manager. Lowther has work in the aviation and leisure travel industries for the past 30 years, including the last 15 years with Emirates in Dubai as a global head of sales.

Duncan Aviation named Dustin Johnson component shop supervisor. Johnson joined Duncan in 2003, initially as a bench tech assistant, and since has held positions of increasing responsibility, holding team leader roles since 2010.

Summit Aviation promoted Dennis Hurst to regional sales manager. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Hurst initially began working with Summit Aviation in 2011 as a contract flight test mechanic for Strom Aviation and came on board full time in 2013, holding the roles of flight-test team lead and program lead.

Awards and Honors

Two of AIN’s editors recently received industry accolades. Editor-in-chief Matt Thurber received the coveted Bill Gunston Technology Writer of the Year Award at the 2021 Aerospace Media Awards, which were presented online once again due to the cancellation of this year’s edition of the Paris Air Show as a result of the continuing Covid pandemic. Thurber’s winning entry was "Keeping the Pilot in the Loop on Flight to Autonomy." Senior editor Curt Epstein was presented with a Sapphire Pegasus Business Aviation Award for outstanding journalism at this year’s Caribavia conference held on St. Maarten in June. Epstein, who has handled the airport and FBO beat at AIN for more than a dozen years, was honored for his consistent achievements and his dedication to professional aviation journalism.