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 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 Clintons pilot when he ran for President in 1992. Kenn serves on several Corporate Boards and is the aviation advisor 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 and The National Board of Childhelp.