Our Team

Jim Haynes

Jim Haynes is founder and president of The Aviation Group. He has over 40 years of experience in aviation, air traffic control, banking and finance. Jim has participated in over 100 general aviation service company transactions advising private equity firms, investment banks and others interested in investing in the FBO and general aviation industry.  Improving the air traffic control system has been one of Jim's special interests since serving as a special consultant to FAA Administrator, Vice Admiral Don Engen in the mid 1980s. Admiral Engen assembled a team of 5 individuals (Jim Haynes, Al Blackburn, Admiral James (Bud) Nance, Bill Stewart, and Captain Bob Buck) from outside of the FAA to advise him on “The Air Traffic Control System for the 21st Century.”  Prior to founding The Aviation Group, Jim was with Butler Airport Services, which was a division of Butler International, Inc.  At Butler, Jim was the senior project officer on consulting projects for airports, FBOs, financial institutions and law firms.  Before joining Butler Airport Services, Jim was President of Janelle Aviation, a company he founded. Janelle Aviation developed and managed the Leesburg, Virginia Municipal Airport, and provided FBO and other aviation services.  He was credited for transforming the Leesburg Airport from a small country airfield into a major reliever airport for the Washington DC area.  Prior to becoming involved in general aviation, Jim worked in the investment banking and banking industries.  Jim served as a member and chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Air Transportation Association.  He was also a member of the General Aviation 20 Group, an organization of leading FBOs in the United States.   Jim served in the Navy as naval aviator, flying various carrier-based jet aircraft.  He holds a BA in Economics from Trinity College.

Jay Haynes

Jay, the son of Jim Haynes, is also one of the founders of The Aviation Group. Jay is a cofounder and Managing Director at Strategyn Equity Partners. Prior to Strategyn Equity Partners Jay was the founder and CEO of Earthscreen and CEO Blue Falcon Networks, which became Akimbo after a merger with NexTV. As an entrepreneur, Jay has raised over $18 million from leading venture firms. Earlier in his career, Mr. Haynes worked as an investment professional with GTCR Golder Rauner, a leading private equity firm, and he was a founding employee of the buyout firm that created Steinway Musical Instruments (NYSE: LVB) through a series of acquisitions. Jay also worked as a product manager at Microsoft in the Windows group. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Brown University, and he received his MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School

Ed Ahrens

Ed  spend 20 years with Garrett Aviation rising to Vice President and General Manager of Garrett Aviation’s Springfield facility.  He joined Garrett when it was a subsidiary of AlliedSignal Aerospace and then eventually a subsidiary of General Electric.  When Legg Mason acquired Atlantic Aviation from the DuPont family, Ed was recruited to become Senior Vice President of Atlantic Aviation, and general manager of the Wilmington facility.  This was a turnaround situation, which Ed successfully completed with the sale to Dassault Falcon Jet.  Ed is particularly adept at strategic planning, marketing, and maintenance and technical service department restructuring.

Andy Blackburn

Andy Blackburn began his career in aviation working with his father, Al Blackburn, on consulting engagements for a variety of general aviation aircraft programs. Later, he served as Marketing Manager for Canadair, developing marketing strategies for the very successful Challenger series of business jets and the derivative line of airline regional jets. At Learjet, Andy served as Marketing Director, introducing two new successful business jet models, the Learjet 31A and Learjet 55C. He has worked on consulting engagements for new aircraft programs from Gulfstream, Pilatus, Honda and Toyota. As a Senior Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, he was the client relationship manager for BCG’s largest west coast technology client, and the lead partner for their west coast private equity practice. He has worked on dozens of corporate development engagements covering M&A strategy, due diligence and deal support, post-merger integration and shareholder value management. Andy is a graduate of Princeton University, BSE, magna cum laude, in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Stanford University, MS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering; and Stanford Graduate School of Business, MBA, Arjay Miller Scholar.

Al Blackburn (1923-2011)

Al was an engineer, test pilot, author and a highly respected advisor to FAA Administrators and many other high-ranking government officials. He represented major aircraft manufactures in the United States, as well as Honda’s interests in US aviation. He was a charter member, founding director, and third president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He later saw government service in the Department of Defense and with the Federal Aviation Administration where he was Assistant Administrator for Policy, Planning, and International Aviation. He served as a Marine platoon leader in World War II. During the Korean War, he was a test pilot for the Navy. After the war, he joined North American Aviation as an experimental test pilot. He is the author of “Aces Wild, The Race for Mach 1”, the story of Chuck Yeager’s and George Welch’s race to be the first to break the sound barrier. Al graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Langhorne Bond

Langhorne Bond was the FAA Administrator under President Carter, Secretary of Transportation for Illinois, and Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Alan Boyd. He chaired the U.S. Delegation to the 1980 ICAO Assembly, and was president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). He is a frequent speaker on global air traffic issues at air traffic control conferences. He currently serves as a board member of Embraer Aircraft Corporation, and the International Loran Association. In 1999 he received the Glen Gilbert Award from the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA).

Vaughn Cordle

Vaughn is the CEO and chief analyst of Airline Forecasts, LLC. He is an airline analyst and consultant to various hedge funds, government agencies, corporations, and consulting groups. He has over 25 years of experience in the airline industry and is a practicing CFA Charterholder and a senior B777 captain for a major airline. He has attended numerous programs at Kellogg, Wharton, and other business schools. He is a current member of the NY Airline and Securities Analysts Societies. He holds an ATP rating in the LR-J, CE500, A320, B727, B737, B747-4, B757, B767 and B777 aircraft and holds 33 world and national speed records.

Richard Emery

Richard  has been involved in the aviation service industry for over 40 years primarily in the support of larger business jet aircraft. After graduating from Southern Methodist University Business School in, he went to work for his family’s business, Executive Aircraft Services, a company completing and servicing corporate aircraft. When the company was sold to Southwest Airmotive, he was named President of Executive Aircraft Services. He then joined Kimberley Clark Corporation where he founded K-C Aviation in Dallas, Texas as a wholly owned subsidiary. Richard served 20 years as President and CEO of K-C Aviation, a $200 million premier service and completion center for British Aerospace/Raytheon Hawker, Bombardier/Canadair Challenger, and Gulfstream business jets. Richard has consulted on various aerospace ventures for business jet OEMs and private investment groups. Richard has served on the Advisory Council to the Board of Directors of the National Business Aviation Association, the Board of Advisors of Duncan Aviation, and is a member of the Conquistadors, an organization of airline and aerospace CEOs.

Keith Garner

Keith has spent much of his career in senior management positions with business jet manufacturers. He is considered an expert in the field of business jet marketing. All of the programs and companies that were managed and led by Keith became recognized market leaders in the business jet industry. In the early 1970s Keith joined the Cessna Citation program working under Jim Taylor who had developed the early FalconJet program in the U.S. for Dassault. Keith then joined Rockwell International’s Sabreliner division where he was responsible for the marketing and sales for the Sabreliner business jet. In the mid 1980s Keith joined Gates Learjet’s marketing organization. He then moved to Canadair to help develop the Challenger and Global Express business jet programs. After Bombardier acquired Canadair and later Learjet, Keith became president of Bombardier Aerospace Corporation and at the same time served on the board of Learjet, which was now owned by Bombardier. Most recently Keith helped Honda introduce the new HondaJet to the market, develop a sales and service organization, and a marketing strategy.  He is a graduate of Wichita State University and holds a B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan is the former director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southern region, past president of the National Business Aviation Association, and director general of Airports Council International. Jonathan served with the FAA from 1963 to 1986 beginning in various legal positions, rising to Deputy Chief Counsel in 1978. In 1980 he was promoted to Deputy Regional Admistrator for the Northwest United States where he oversaw all transport aircraft certification programs and activities. In 1980 he assumed the position of Regional Administrator for the FAA’s Southern region. In this position he was responsible for all FAA activities in the FAA’s largest region. In this position he also managed all FAA international programs for Latin America. Jonathan left government service in 1986 to become President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association. From 1992 to 1997 he was a partner with Zuckert, Scoutt, & Rasenberger in Washington, DC where he advised clients on a full range of aviation technical, safety, regulatory and commercial aviation matters. From 1997 to 2002 he served as Director-General of Airports Council International in Geneva, Switzerland representing the global interests of over 1,250 airports.

Bill Juvonen

Bill  has extensive experience in the corporate aviation marketplace, and has more than 40 years experience in corporate aviation. He was formerly Chairman of Flight Services Group, Inc., a major corporate aircraft operator based in Stratford, CT, which he co-founded in 1984 and became a leader in corporate fleet management, with more than 40 aircraft. Prior to founding FSG, Bill held a number of positions in marketing new corporate aircraft. He began his career at Pan American World Airways, where he was sales manager for Pan Am Business Jets, which introduced the fan-jet Falcon program in a joint venture with Dassault from France. He later moved to Cessna where he was Sales Manager for the introduction of the Citation 500 business jet and the successful Citation series. After his success at Cessna, he was recruited to Canadair where he was Vice President of Sales and introduced the Canadair Challenger program. After the sale of the company, he moved to Polaris Aircraft Leasing as Vice President - Marketing prior to founding Flight Services Group.  Bill holds a BA degree from Stanford University and received his flight training as a carrier based fighter and helicopter pilot in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Juvonen is active in numerous aviation professional organizations.

Dick Van Gemert

Dick joined Xerox Corporation in after serving five years as a U.S. Naval aviator following his graduation from the University of Michigan with a BS in Engineering. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School’s Senior Executive program. While at Xerox he served as chief pilot, manager of flight operations, manager of Xerox travel services, and director of Xerox's General Services division. When he retired from Xerox, Dick joined Kimberly Clark Corporation where he was responsible for K-C Transportation Services, Inc., an integrated supplier of transportation services to the corporate market. Dick founded New World Jet Corporation, a company that provides Part 135 certificate management services to business jet operators. Dick has served as Chairman of the International Flight Safety Foundation Corporate Advisory Board, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the business management committee of the National Air Transportation Association, Chairman of the Noise abatement Committee of the Westchester Pilots Association and the Westchester Airport Advisory Committee, Director of the NBAA Educational Foundation, member of the management committee of the NBAA, a governor of the International Flight Safety Foundation, Chairman of the American Management Association General Services Council, and Governor of the American Management Association.

David Suomi

Dave was vice president of BAA USA, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of BAA plc, the United Kingdom private sector airport company that owns and operates London Heathrow, as well as other major airport facilities around the world. He has held Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer positions at several U.S. airports, ranging from general aviation reliever fields to large hubs, including Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports. Dave is an accredited executive with the American Association of Airport Executives and is an active participant in that organization, as well as the Contract Tower Association. He has served as officer and/or board member in various state aviation organizations, functioned as a university instructor in Airport Development and Operations, has written articles and papers on airport issues, and speaks regularly on various airport-related subjects around the country. Dave holds a private pilot certificate and is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a BS in Aviation Management.