Kenneth C ‘Kenn’ Ricci, chairman of Nextant Aerospace, has been honored with the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award at the Living Legends of Aviation 14th Annual Awards, held on January 20, 2017.
Winners of the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award, presented annually since 2003, have included Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher, Federal Express founder Fred Smith and Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson.
Ricci founded aircraft management and corporate charter operator Corporate Wings in 1981, and has launched or led other aviation enterprises including Nextant Aerospace, Constant Aviation and Sojourn Aviation, all of which are now part of the Directional Aviation family. He founded Flight Options in 1998; played a role in the restructuring of Mercury Air Centers; and leads Sentient Jet and Skyjet.
Ricci’s award wins over the years include Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Harvard Business School’s Dively Entrepreneurship Award, the William Ong Award and the Aviation Week Laureate Award. An alumnus of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and the Cleveland Marshall School of Law in Ohio, Ricci is a pilot with more than 6,000 hours in type-rated aircraft including Gulfstream, Falcon and Citation jets. He served as personal pilot to President Bill Clinton during his 1992 campaign for president.
A member of several corporate boards, Ricci is also an aviation advisor to the Guggenheim Aero Opportunity Fund. He serves on the boards of trustees for the University of Notre Dame, the Smithsonian, and University Hospitals and on the board of Stonebriar Finance Holdings. He is also the author of Management by Trust, a book that offers management techniques for building employee trust and success.
January 23, 2017