Kenneth C. Ricci
Kenneth Ricci is a 35 year aviation industry veteran beginning in 1980 with Corporate Wings, an aircraft charter operation providing flight services 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. 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, growing to rank as the second largest company in the industry.
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.
Today, Kenn is a Principal of Directional Aviation Capital which owns various enterprises including Flexjet, Flight Options, Sentient Jet, Sky Jet, Nextant Aerospace, N1 Engines, and Constant Aviation.
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. 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.
Kenn serves on the Board of Trustees for, the University of Notre Dame and the Smithsonian and University Hospitals He also serves on Board of Stonebriar Finance Holdings 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.