Kenneth C. Ricci

Kenneth C. RicciKenneth Ricci has spent over 30 years developing innovative services in the aviation industry. In 1980 Kenn founded Corporate Wings, an aircraft management and charter operation providing charter flight service to corporate clients. In 1990, Kenn founded a highly successful maintenance service organization, Inertial Airline Services, providing service and repair of electronic and avionics systems. Inertial Airline Services became an industry leader in the overhaul and modernization of long-range navigation systems. When the company was sold to Heico Corp (HEI), it had a customer list of the world’s major airlines, U.S. and foreign militaries, and corporate aircraft operators.

In 1998, Kenn revolutionized the fractional aircraft ownership industry by founding Flight Options. His marketing and strategic leadership took the company from inception to annual sales of more than $600M in a period of 4 years. A pioneer in the field, Flight Options outperformed over 50 other start-ups in this industry. Flight Options merged with Raytheon Travel Air in 2002, and with a fleet of over 200 aircraft, 1,500 employees and almost 1,000 pilots, Kenn had grown Flight Options to rank as the second largest company in the industry.

Today, Kenn is the principal of Directional Aviation Capital which owns various aviation enterprises including Flight Options, Sentient Jet, Nextant Aerospace, and Constant Aviation, and recently purchased Flexjet for $185mil. In 2005, Directional restructured the Mercury Air Centers, a $200mil company operating aircraft support facilities at 24 different airports, and sold the Company to Macquarie Infrastructure Trust (MIC) in 2007 in a deal valued at $615mil.

Kenn was honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year in 2000 and has been named one the most influential people in aviation by Aviation International News. In 2010 Kenn received the Harvard Business School’s Dively Entrepreneurship Award. And, in 2012 was the youngest recipient of the prestigious William Ong Award for extraordinary achievement and extended meritorious service to the general aviation industry. In 2015, Kenn received the Aviation Week Laureate Award, a benchmark of industry excellence, recognizing his innovation in aircraft remanufacturing through Nextant Aerospace.

Kenn graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the Cleveland Marshall School of Law. He is an airline transport pilot with extensive international experience and was Governor William Clinton’s pilot when he ran for President in 1992. Kenn serves on several Corporate Boards and is the aviation advisor to the Guggenheim Aero Opportunity Fund. Kenn also serves on the Advisory Council of the University of Notre Dame, and the Board of Trustees of University Hospitals, and the Board of Trustees of Gilmour Academy. In 2014, Kenn was honored by the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for championing research and treatment of the disease, which effects 30,000 children and adults in the United States.

Kenn’s management strategies have been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Inc. Magazine. He is the Author of “Management by Trust”, a book featuring practical management technique for building employee trust and success.

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