Kenneth C. Ricci
Kenneth Ricci is a 35 year aviation industry veteran who today is a Principal of Directional Aviation Capital which owns various aviation enterprises including Flexjet, Flight Options, Sentient Jet, SkyJet, Nextant Aerospace, N1 Engines, and Constant Aviation.
Kenn began his aviation career as an Air Force ROTC cadet at the University of Notre Dame and started his first company, Corporate Wings, in 1980. His love of aviation had him founding, acquiring or financing a broad range of aviation companies and ideas over his career. He has assembled one of the largest private aviation flight companies which include Flexjet, Flight Options, Sentient Jet and SkyJet. Together these companies have over $1.5billion in Revenue and operate over 150 aircraft. He founded Nextant Aerospace, the innovator of Aircraft Remanufacturing. And, in 2005, Kenn led the restructuring of 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.
In 2016, Kenn received the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Distinguished Alumni Award honoring him as a global leader in the aviation industry. In that same year, Kenn then received the “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award” from the Living Legends of Aviation. The “Living Legends of Aviation” are admirable people of remarkable accomplishment in aviation including: Entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record breakers, astronauts and pilots.
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 graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the Cleveland Marshall School of Law where he was named as their distinguished alumni of the year in 2016.
Kenn serves on the Board of Trustees for, the University of Notre Dame, the Smithsonian and University Hospitals. He also serves on several Corporate Boards including of Stonebriar Commercial Finance and is an aviation advisor to the Guggenheim Aero Opportunity Fund.
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 he is the Author of “Management by Trust”, a book featuring practical management techniques for building employee trust and success.