JetNet appointed Derek Swaim as president. Swaim has more than 20 years of experience executing corporate acquisitions, mergers, and growth equity investments for market-leading software, business information, and industrial technology companies. He most recently served as an executive-in-residence at Silversmith Capital Partners and previously was executive v-p of corporate development at Validity, a Silversmith portfolio company. He has also held investment banking roles at Harris Williams and Goldman Sachs.

Tara DiJulio was named chief communications officer for GE Aerospace. DiJulio has served in a number of roles at GE, including head of external communications and as a senior director of global public affairs. Before joining GE in 2016, she spent nearly a decade in the U.S. Senate where she was a chief media strategist and national spokesperson for five U.S. senators, including serving as the communications director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

Signature Aviation appointed Mike Eshoo as its new chief financial officer. Eshoo joins Signature from General Electric, where he most recently served as senior v-p and CFO for GE Gas Power. During his more than 20-year tenure with GE, Eshoo held several financial leadership roles across multiple business segments, including GE Power and GE Aviation. Eshoo will be responsible for directing and overseeing the financial activities of Signature Aviation and all related business units.

FlyExclusive added Brent Smith to its executive team, naming him as the company’s next chief financial officer. Smith has nearly 25 years of industry expertise, previously serving in CFO roles with Air Methods, Crossmark, and NetJets. 

Will Dent was named to the new position of chief marketing officer by aircraft management company Elevate Holdings. After serving as a helicopter crew chief in the U.S. Army for seven years, Dent spent 13 years at Gulfstream Aerospace before leading his own company, Dently, which created customized software solutions and offered technology consulting. He most recently served as president and chief technology officer for AeroParts Now.

The Aviation Suppliers Association (ASA) elected Leandra Cain, president of Hurricane Aerospace Solutions, and Jennifer Russell, director of supply chain quality at Boeing Global Services, as members of ASA’s board of directors. Adam Chiamulon, president of Global Airtech, and Jason Reed, president of Flight Solutions Group and GA Telesis, were also reelected to the association’s board.

Laura Heltebran, chief legal officer at Wheels Up Experience, has been appointed to the advisory board of Women Leading Travel & Hospitality. Heltebran has more than 30 years of experience in the technology, travel, and aviation industries. She will participate in quarterly advisory board meetings for the organization, along with attending and promoting various events.

GPMS—a provider of helicopter health and usage monitoring system Foresight MX—appointed Tom Benson to its board of directors. Benson has more than 25 years of experience developing and directing high-tech hardware and software projects, and leading companies focused on monitoring, collecting data, and developing and delivering maintenance management solutions to the business aviation industry. He was most recently the chief strategy officer at Camp Systems and before that served as executive v-p and general manager at Amstat. GPMS also hired rotorcraft industry veteran John Byus to serve as director of sales for the Americas. Byus has more than 40 years of rotorcraft and aviation industry experience, having held positions including mechanic, pilot, inspector, instructor, and multiple director of maintenance roles. He most recently served for 15 years as sales/key account manager with Airbus Helicopters.

Air charter broker Zela Aviation has hired Eleni Charitou as a charter and marketing executive and Markos Kallias as business developer and ACMI executive. Charitou has more than 20 years in the aviation industry having worked for international airlines and VIP private carriers, including Air France for 13 consecutive years, Falcon Aviation Services, HH Private Office Abu Dhabi, and Etihad Airways. Kallias has previously worked in customer service for Jet2, flight operations for Flightworx, and also as a project coordinator for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, focusing on Eurocontrol projects and airspace modernization initiatives.

Will Fulton was appointed by Skyryse as v-p of product and marketing. Fulton joins the company from Airbus Helicopters, where he served as head of marketing for North America. In his new role, he will lead the strategy, execution, and growth of Skyryse’s FlightOS product.

JetHQ appointed Mauro Rosso to serve as v-p of sales—Europe. Rosso has decades of aviation industry knowledge having previously worked for major airlines including Alitalia and Swiss International Air Lines. He has also held sales management positions at Jet Aviation and most recently served as sales manager for Textron Aviation in Zurich, Switzerland.

Shane Ellis was promoted by Summit Aviation to the role of executive v-p of aircraft sales. Ellis joined the Summit team in May and prior to that had served as v-p of sales for Hawker Beechcraft/Textron Aviation and had worked with Piaggio Aero. Ellis has completed more than 300 aircraft transactions in his career, worth nearly $1 billion, and has led startups and turnarounds for aircraft dealers and a large aviation jet fuel provider. 

Jet Linx hired Colby Creger and Matthew St. Clair to serve as vice presidents of regional aircraft management sales. Creger will have a primary focus on the Midwest region, and St. Clair will focus on western base locations such as Denver, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Creger has more than six years of experience in the industry, having previously served as a regional sales director for Textron Aviation. St. Clair previously worked at Textron and Clay Lacy Aviation and has experience in service sales, technical marketing, aircraft maintenance, and business operations.

Fredrik Bergman was appointed by Savback Helicopters to serve as commercial director. Bergman has more than 35 years of service in the Swedish air force, having previously served in roles including squadron commander, head of air force staff training and development, commanding officer, and chief of staff and deputy head of the communications department. His final assignment was as head of test and evaluation at Swedish Defence Material Administration prior to his retirement from military service in September.

West Star appointed Vince Ruscitti as its new program manager for government affairs. He will be responsible for building and leading the company’s government project aircraft maintenance program at its Cahokia, Illinois location. Ruscitti has more than 38 years of experience in the aviation industry and also has active U.S. government secret clearance. Additionally, West Star has promoted Dan Milholland to senior project manager at its Grand Junction, Colorado facility. Milholland has worked for West Star for more than 24 years, starting as a technician for Learjet, then moving to Citation, and eventually to a senior team lead position in aircraft services.

Bill Thompson was promoted by Avidyne to director of business aviation. Thompson joined Avidyne in 2020 with more than 25 years of experience in avionics integration and certification, including with Textron Aviation and Signature TechnicAir. He also holds an A&P certification and inspection authorization, with a focus on avionics.

Damping Technologies expanded its presence to Europe and hired Laurent Vacher as business development manager. Vacher has a background in aviation and specializes in marketing high-value products to the aerospace industry. He will be based in Toulouse, France.

FlyExclusive has named Byron Silkett-Irvine as senior director of safety. Silkett-Irvine brings more than 15 years of experience in aviation having previously served as senior manager of regulatory standards for Spirit Airlines and as a director of maintenance for the U.S. Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Laurie Zahniser was hired by JetHQ as manager of market research in a bid to expand its market research and intelligence team. Zahniser joins JetHQ after 25 years with JetNet, where she was a research manager for the business aviation market information provider.

Metro Aviation hired Roxanne Fawson in a newly created role as customer communication center compliance manager. Fawson will visit communication centers annually, in conjunction with operational needs, and share feedback and best practices to help each center improve its operations and workflows. Her previous experience includes serving as a 911 dispatcher for 15 years and for 14 years with the University of Utah’s AirMed program, where she worked as a flight coordinator, flight center supervisor, and the program’s communications center safety committee representative.

Spirit Aeronautics hired Greg Diognard as its new regional sales manager for the Southern U.S. Diognard previously served in the U.S. Air Force as a crew chief on the F-111E and earned degrees in industrial technology and aircraft maintenance. He has previously held roles with ATP/Flightdocs as a director of sales, StandardAero as technical sales manager, and Landmark Aviation as Northeast MRO sales manager.

Awards and Honors

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) will present its annual Industry Excellence Awards at this year’s Aviation Business Conference on November 3rd in Miami, Florida. The Airport Executive Partnership Award will be presented to John Black, Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority executive director. The Excellence in Pilot Training Award will be presented to Jeffrey Wolf, chief flight instructor at paragon flight training in Fort Myers, Florida. David Hernandez, line service manager with Mayo Aviation in Centennial, Colorado, will receive the NATA Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award; Carla Keeney, customer service manager at Jet Access Indianapolis, will receive the NATA FBO Customer Service Representative Award, and Shae Helling, director of FBO operations and marketing at Bismarck Aero Center, will receive the NATA Future Leader Award.

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has awarded the 2022 Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman and Stateswoman of Aviation Award to Peter Bunce, Anthony Mazzolini, Captain Houston Mills, William Shea, Hazel Sig-Hester, and Cheryl Stearns. NAA recognizes these individuals “who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.”


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