Jim Rice – Founder and CEO
With over 40 Years of aviation, entrepreneurial, start-up and management experience in such diverse industries as, furniture manufacturing, cable manufacturing, management consulting, marketing and aviation, Jim explored and identified a market void for an entry-level, affordable business jet. His entrepreneurial mindset, team-building mentality, drive toward creating the right processes and systems, effective communication of a vision and his inspiring attitude all result and getting the right people in place to market, produce and deliver innovative solutions to satisfied customers. Approaching aviation from the user side, Jim began to see a void developing in the aviation field and that void still exists today. Jim has utilized aircraft for building businesses in a number of fields and has a passion for showing how the appropriate use of business aircraft can provide a strategic advantage in building a business.
Marc Bailey – President and COO
With over 25 Years of Entrepreneurial and Start-up experience combined with a strong Entrepreneurial Spirit and Mindset, as well as over 20 Years of Aviation Experience, Marc brings all of the elements and understanding necessary to take the VisionAire Jets program through the FAA certification, ramp-up, and into production. Marc’s extensive involvement with the Financial Projections and Management Control elements of the program along with his ability to focus and effectively negotiate to keep the overall program within established parameters and goals is critical to providing the results that are in the best interest of all parties involved. Since joining VisionAire Jets back in 2012, Marc and his dedicated team have made many sacrifices and positioned this program for success. Marc has a realistic understanding of the level of commitment that it takes to drive a team through the challenges to insure success and is confident that the current team and future team members will be strongly motivated and engaged by this unique opportunity as we enhance the future of Business Aviation.
Dennis Olcott – Chief Engineer
Dr. Dennis Olcott has been retained to lead FAA Certification and design for manufacturing and production in Catawba County (NC). He recently served as Vice President of Engineering and Senior Director of New Product Development at Piper Aircraft responsible for aircraft certification, flight testing, and production support engineering. Prior to working with Piper, Dennis worked on FAA Certification and final design for Adam Aircraft in Denver, Colorado. In addition, he has worked extensively with Burt Rutan, builder of the VisionAire Vantage flying prototype, and was previously contracted to do follow up assignments to build the production wing and empennage for the Vantage at Scaled Technology Works in Montrose, Colorado.
During Dr. Olcott’s two decades of aerospace experience, he has been an integral component in helping take three composite aircraft through the entire FAA Certification process at Adam Aircraft Industries, Lancair International, and Cirrus Aircraft Corporation. At each of these positions Dennis has developed an exceptional background in aeronautical composite structures. His extensive participation and knowledge of certifying aircraft from concept to production will prove invaluable to VisionAire Jets moving forward with Type Certification of the Vantage.
Dr. Olcott obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1992 completing a dissertation involving the development of a new vibration damping concept for advanced composite structures. He received a Bachelor of Science from the same institution in 1990. Dennis is an avid flight enthusiast and has had his private pilot license for twenty-five years.
Bob Bresette – Executive Vice President of Manufacturing Operations
Bob Bresette is a thirty year veteran of the aviation industry functioning as a senior level executive for aerospace manufacturing and operations. During this time, Mr. Bresette has helped start-up programs for industry giants like McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, and NASA, helping them complete extensive projects in a timely and efficient manner. Having experience leading large teams of up to 1,600 people with budgets in excess of $600 million, Bob is a great asset to have leading VisionAire Jets’ manufacturing and operations programs.
Joining VisionAire Corporation from 1997-2000 in the role of General Manager, Mr. Bresette helped establish pre-production operations and composite tooling for a 120,000 sq. ft. facility in Ames, Iowa. With a thorough knowledge of the Company and the processes for effective production of the Vantage, Bob will be instrumental in helping VisionAire Jets reach its operational goals.
Pete Edwards – Director of Operations and Quality Assurance
With twenty-nine years of experience in aerospace reliability, maintainability, quality systems, and support, Peter Edwards brings VisionAire Jets an established professional in the field of aviation quality control. Retiring from the United States Air Force in 1989 after twenty years of service, Mr. Edwards has worked extensively with government and private sector companies developing and implementing quality management systems that help meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders while complying with statutory and regulatory requirements related to particular aeronautical products.
With his background working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) it will provide a strong advantage to VisionAire Jets in helping ensure the Company complies with the stringent demands necessary to bring a jet to market. Mr. Edwards was a key figure in VisionAire Corporation from 1996-1999 and helped develop the Company’s extensive quality control procedures. This prior involvement is beneficial to VisionAire Jets by having a seasoned veteran of the Company leading its quality management methods.
Peter received his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics/Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL) and is a Certified Quality Auditor with the American Society for Quality. Additionally, he is an expert in Six Sigma quality control systems and has helped companies save tens of millions of dollars through implementation of specialized manufacturing and business processes.
Chuck Trendley – Director of Supply Chain Management and Purchasing
Chuck Trendley served four years as Vice President of Materials Management at VisionAire Corporation starting in 1997 where he had total procurement responsibility for the production line supporting all necessary components to assemble, fly, and deliver all-composite business jets. He served as lead negotiator and strategist for the establishment of long term business relationships with suppliers and had responsibility for all aspects of inventory management including requirement determination, logistics, transportation, and receiving and distributing stock to the production line. Chuck was tasked with development and implementation of all internal procedures related to inventory management and procurement.
Mr. Trendley worked for over twenty years at the United States Army Aviation Systems Command in St. Louis, MO, as Contracts Manager, Negotiator, and Program Manager helping to manage an organization of over 1,200 people with a budget in excess of $ 500 million. He also functioned as Site Leader for the Boeing Company for over six years in both St. Louis and Mesa, Arizona. Chuck has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where he graduated Cum Laude in the fields of Political Science and Contract Management.
Steven Fennell – Director of Sales Flight Demonstrations
Steven Fennell has over two decades of experience in a variety of operations. Immediately prior to joining VisionAire Jets he served as General Manager of a furniture components manufacturing company where he was responsible for both sales and manufacturing. He also served as Marketing Manager for a plastic bag recycling company which implemented school recycling programs. He has worked on the production floor of both the surfboard and racing boat industries gaining significant experience in the laying up of composite materials.
An alumnus of Lees McRae College and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he also graduated from Comair Aviation Academy. He has held several flying positions and is a single and multi-engine instrument rated Commercial Pilot with over 2,200 hours flight time in aircraft ranging from Piper Super Cub to DC-3, Beechcraft King Air 200, Beechcraft 1900 and LearJet 45.
David Sexton – FAA Certification Liaison
David Sexton has over thirty years of involvement with aircraft operations. Serving for twenty years with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Mr. Sexton has been engaged by VisionAire Jets to work exclusively with FAA planning and implementation over the next several years.
His former experience with the FAA will serve the Company well as he provides a valuable connection between the Atlanta Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) of the FAA and VisionAire Jets. FAA Certification is an ambitious and costly undertaking and having an effective liaison to advance the process smoothly will save precious time and resources.
Along with his extensive involvement with the FAA, David holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and is a Commercial Instrument rated Airline Transport Pilot (ATP). He is also a certified Airplane and Powerplant Technician.
Gary Pluth – Financial Advisor and Co-Founder
Gary brings over 30 years of financial management experience in manufacturing. In his career, he has proven adept at identifying financial alternatives, structuring complex financial business transactions and enhancing shareholder value. He has an Accounting degree from the University College at Washington University. Gary served for over 7 years with the former VisionAire Corporation as Chief Financial Officer, and is currently serving on the Board of Managers of VisionAire Jets, LLC, and as an advisor.
Tom Stark – Engineering Advisor
CO-Designer and Developer of the VisionAire Vantage and original Program Plan. His professional career includes 20 years as a United States Air Force officer and 15 years with McDonnell Douglas Corporation. As an Air Force officer from 1955 to 1975, he managed design studies and flight test planning for the Minuteman missile system program, and then was promoted to project manager of flight test instrumentation development. After earning his Masters degree, he became the manager of the F-111 airplane flight control system development from 1965 to 1968. Under his leadership, the high lift portion of the system experienced a three-fold improvement in reliability. In 1969, he became Chairman of the F-111 Engineering Change Board and then Chief of F-15 engineering in government in-plant offices from 1970 to 1975.
Mr. Stark holds an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Parks College (St. Louis University) and a graduate degree in Engineering Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
VisionAire Jets has retained a team of engineers that are diligently working on several configuration trade studies as we continue through the Configuration Refinement Phase of FAA Certification. The team has a diverse background involving extensive experience with Gulfstream, Honda Jet, Curtis-Wright, Cirrus, Lockheed Martin, Piper, and numerous aerospace companies.
Burt Rutan – Legendary Designer
Built the VisionAire Vantage (Proof-of-Concept) that has flown over 500 hours in flight testing, etc.
Charles Gantt – Local Investment Advisor
Charles has been instrumental in raising capital at the local level to allow VisionAire Jets to position the Program for substantial funding.