Flight Options Leadership Team
Kenneth 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. He expanded Corporate Wings’ operations to include other aviation support services including aircraft maintenance, fueling and storage.
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 private jet 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, Nextant Aerospace, and Constant Aviation. In addition, Directional restructured the Mercury Air Centers, a $200mil company operating aircraft support facilities at 24 different airports. Acquiring a stake in 2005, Kenn, as CEO of the company, realigned its operating divisions, deployed $245mil of invested capital 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 recently was the youngest recipient of the prestigious William Ong Award for extraordinary achievement and extended meritorious service to the general aviation industry. 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 techniques for building employee trust and success which was praised by the New York Times Book Review as a "landmark success manual for corporate America."
Kenn graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the Cleveland Marshall School of Law. He holds an airline transport pilot license 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 adviser to the Guggenheim Aero Opportunity Fund. Kenn also serves on the Business Advisory Council of the University of Notre Dame, the Board of Trustees of University Hospitals, The National Board of Childhelp, and Gilmour Academy.
Michael J. Silvestro
Chief Executive Officer
Mike Silvestro has held senior sales and marketing positions at premier fractional companies since entering the aviation industry. He began his aviation career at Flight Options and served as Vice-President of Sales and Marketing from 2000 to 2005. In that role, Silvestro helped build Flight Options into the second largest fractional company with over 200 aircraft and several thousand fractional and jet card customers. Mike returned to Flight Options in 2008 as CEO.
Prior to his aviation career, Silvestro spent eighteen years in the footwear and sporting goods industry. He founded several companies where products ranged from high tech polymer technology for athletic footwear to celebrity endorsed personal products. Mike’s companies earned distribution in thousands of retail outlets and achieved exponential commercial success for stakeholders.
Silvestro is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he earned a BBA in Marketing. He holds a private pilot’s license, and sits on the Board of Trustees for Ursuline College. Mike is very active in local church and school leadership roles.
J. Chris Herzberg
Chief Operating Officer
Chris Herzberg is responsible for leading Flight Options’ Operations Control, Owner Services, Operations Planning, Enterprise Procurement, and Information Technology teams. He has over 30 years of general aviation experience with emphasis in Fractional Management, FBO leadership, customer relations and brand standardization.
After studying Business Administration at Kent State University, Chris joined Corporate Wings, an industry leading fixed-base operation, located in Cleveland and Columbus Ohio, Rochester New York and South Bend Indiana. By the mid-1990s he became Vice President of FBO Facilities. His area of responsibility quickly expanded to include property management, lease administration, airport relations and acquisition analysis.
In 1998, Chris became Executive Vice President of Operations for Flight Options, where he was instrumental in its rapid growth to over $800M in revenue and the company’s position as the number two provider of fractional aircraft services. In this role Chris oversaw flight, owner services, aircraft scheduling, logistics and crew scheduling for an aircraft fleet of over 200 aircraft.
Chris left Flight Options in late 2004 to become President of Corporate Wings, and then COO in 2006 where he served as one of the instrumental key leaders in the rapid growth and eventual sale of Mercury Air Centers to Macquarie® Infrastructure in a deal valued at $615M. Chris returned to Flight Options as the company’s Chief Operating Officer in 2008.
Chief Financial Officer
Mike Rossi began with Corporate Wings in 1984 and has spent the last 25 years developing innovative business strategies in the Aviation Industry. Mike has managed all facets of general aviation: fixed based operations, maintenance facilities, management of aircraft and the buying and selling of corporate aircraft. He has also been involved in the purchasing of and divesting of all the facets of general aviation mentioned above. Corporate Wings Management Company at the height of its operations in 1998 was the 10th largest in the United States.
In 1990 as the President of Inertial Airline Services through 2001 managed this successful commercial aviation maintenance service organization. This successful maintenance service organization became the largest overhaul provider of long-range navigation systems. This company was sold in 2001 to further enhance the revolutionary fractional Jet ownership company Flight Options.
Mike managed Flight Options from its inception in 1998 to its current stature as the second largest jet fractional ownership company in the industry. The company has grown to 1600 employees and 800 million in sales. As the Chief Financial Officer Mike raised capital and established financing vehicles to assist the initial growth of the business. As President and Chief Operating Officer, he implemented strategic plans in the financial, operations and administration of the company.
Starting in 2005 Mike was the CFO of the restructured Mercury Air Centers. As CFO, he was instrumental in increasing EBITDA by over 200%. This was accomplished through acquisitions and operating efficiencies. Mercury Air Centers 24 FBO’s were ultimately sold to Macquarie Infrastructure Trust in 2007 in a deal valued at $615 million.
Today Mr. Rossi is a principal in Directional Capital which invests in and operates various segments of General Aviation: Charter, Management, Fractional, Aircraft Maintenance and FBO’s.
Mr. Rossi’s other business interests include involvement with the accounting firm Rossi, Schlotter & Co., CPA which has assisted many businesses in the areas of planning and growth.
A graduate of John Carroll University, Mr. Rossi is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Series 7 License.
David H. Davies
Chief Information Officer
David Davies began with Corporate Wings in 1997 as Director of IT and was responsible for the implementation of information technology and telecommunications for the fractional start-up Flight Options in 1998.
As the CIO for Flight Options, David was responsible for the sourcing, implementation and design of all systems including operations, maintenance, accounting and business management. These decisions were critical in ensuring that all systems could fulfill the requirements of the rapidly growing fractional provider.
Driving the design and implementation of the Owners Only Web Site, Davies ensured Flight Options was the first fractional provider to allow owner’s to schedule and manage all aspects of their trips online.
In 2004 David was awarded the NorTech Innovation Award for the integration of wireless and operations systems allowing for real time dispatching and communication with Flight Options flight crews across the country. This software design and technology implementation allowed for immediate and dramatic cost savings as well as operational efficiencies.
David was appointed CIO of the restructured Mercury Air Centers in 2005. As CIO, he was responsible for updating and streamlining all systems and business processes. Ensuring accurate reporting and accountability and streamlining procedures to allow for rapid growth through acquisitions culminating in the sale of Mercury Air Centers to Macquarie Infrastructure in a deal valued at $615M.
David returned to Flight Options in 2009. He holds a private pilots license, and is a board member of the GLG Memorial.
Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Matt Doyle joined Flight Options in 2010 as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. With nearly 18 years of experience in the aviation industry, including 10 years in aircraft sales, Matt is responsible for leading the sales force and executing the sales and marketing strategies. In 2002, he joined a startup aircraft fractional provider as Vice President of Sales where he most recently served as the Senior Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Matt began flying at the age of 16 and holds an Airline Transport Pilot license with more than 4,000 hours of accumulated flight time in a variety of aircraft. Early in his aviation career, Matt served as a flight and ground instructor; later taking positions as director of sales and training, regional airline captain, director of flight standards, and area sales manager for the Cessna Aircraft Company.
Matt graduated from Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH with a BS in Organizational Leadership and is a professional member of Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Vice President, Maintenance
A leading aviation maintenance and safety professional, Kent most recently lead in development and initiative efforts as the Director of Maintenance Development. Kent holds several accreditations including an Associates of Aviation Science, an FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license, an FAA Private Pilot’s License and a Certificate of Aviation Safety and Security from The University of Southern California. After beginning in general aviation, Kent came to Flight Options in 2001 as an aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) and has held several other positions including Maintenance Planning, Lead Maintenance Controller, Maintenance and Ground Safety Manager and General Manager of the Las Vegas and Sacramento Service centers.
In addition to aircraft maintenance and management, Kent has a broad background in aviation and ground safety, maintenance human factors, fatigue and risk management and is a trained Aircraft Accident / Incident Investigator (AAI). Kent speaks and participates as an active member of the FAA Safety Action Team (FAAST) as well as within other industry-leading industry work groups including, NATA, RAA and the FAA / Civil Aeronautical Medical Institute (CAMI) Maintenance Fatigue Work Group.
Vice President, Human Resources
Robert Sullivan returned to Flight Options in 2008, where he previously served as Director of Human Resources from 2002 to 2005. He has over 15 years of Human Resources leadership experience and has held the position of Vice President of Human Resources for both Mercury Air Centers and Corporate Wings, two industry-leading fixed based operations.
Bob is a certified Human Resource Professional and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Campbell University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Human Resources Management course. Bob is an active member in both the national and local chapters of the Society of Human Resource Management.
Vice President, Flight Operations
Joe Salata returned to Flight Options in 2008, where he previously served as Vice President of Flight Operations from 2000 to 2005. He has over 32 years of aviation leadership experience and is retired officer from the US Air Force after a 20 year career as a fighter pilot.
Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Joe is an Airline Transport Pilot and has type ratings in four different aircraft.