Meet our Aviation Management Consulting Team
By "simplifying the business of business aviation," our aviation management consulting team works with all levels of aviation and host organizations. As trusted advisors, our role is to help business aviation leaders and operators achieve the highest level of performance excellence.
We assist our aviation clients -- namely Part 91 flight departments -- in maximizing and quantifying the value created by their business aviation operations and reach even higher levels of operating and financial performance.
And, we help business aviation flight departments align with the strategic direction of the parent company or host enterprise. We do this by providing bespoke aviation management consulting services.
Meet our Aviation Management Consulting Team:
Founder and Principal
For the past 20+ years, Jim has transformed Gray Stone into a full-service business aviation management consulting firm. Combining his 40+ years as a pilot with his corporate experience, Jim speaks the language of business as well as the business of aviation.
His vast expertise and hands-on approach have helped business aviation leaders to develop high-performing individuals and teams, align those teams with their enterprise's goals, and enable operations to regain stability, traction and profitability.Since 1996, Gray Stone has grown from a small firm that worked with just one company at a time for a period of one-to-three years each, to a purely aviation management consulting firm that now focuses on a number of clients simultaneously for a more limited duration, utilizing multiple practitioners.
Senior Advisor - Operations
Steve Brechter is a seasoned senior executive with expertise in leading organizations through transformation and change. He has implemented operational improvement, business planning and leadership development processes in numerous organizational settings with sustained results.
In 1996, Steve was named vice president and general manager of UTFlight, UTC's corporate flight operation. Under his leadership, UTFlight became the first corporate flight department in the world to become registered to ISO9000.
In 2000, Steve joined NetJets, Inc., as its first COO, where he was responsible for the daily operation of the company's 400+ fractionally-owned business jet aircraft. Under his leadership, significantly improved levels of operating profit were achieved, the company embarked on an enterprise-wide business operating system and an employee leadership development process.
Senior Advisor - Leadership & Finance
Richard (Rick) Stone is a seasoned business leader of Gray Stone Advisors, having successfully served in Fortune 500 public firms as well as advising start-up private enterprises.
During his distinguished 33+ year professional career, he has held the positions of President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Controller and public accounting auditor and CPA. He was also a participant in the extended Harvard Business School Program for Management Development, 1994.
Rick combines being a quick study of issues and challenges, matched with his ability to identify the associated financial implications, while leveraging his skills as a collaborative leader. He is adept at working with 'owner-operator' entrepreneurial clients as well as those in the C-Suite of large publicly held firms.
Senior Project Manager
As Senior Project Manager, Shannon Rupe helps optimize our clients’ business aviation organizations through several channels, including Lean Six Sigma-based operations process development, performance benchmarking, visual data analyses, and “right-fit” technology planning.
Additionally, she serves as a systems designer/optimizer and a subject expert on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
Prior to joining Gray Stone Advisors, Shannon founded her own business aviation consultancy, Vivid Aviation. Using her vast experience as a FAA-licensed commercial pilot and a business aviation manager, she helped manage operations for several large IS-BAO Stage III corporate flight departments, aviation start-ups and single-owner private operations. Additionally, she helped integrate software systems for enhanced trip planning, created visual metrics dashboards to define performance, and redefined international handling to reduce outsourced spend.
Shannon graduated magna cum laude from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s Aviation Management and Flight program. She is a certified flight instructor and FAA-licensed aircraft dispatcher. Additionally, she received Hewlett Packard’s Global Security Services Leading the Way Recognition Award in 2014.
Since joining the Gray Stone Advisors management consulting team in 2011, Jill Henning has led the firm's marketing and communications efforts. She's responsible for its marketing strategy, website content, monthly e-newsletter, blogs, press releases, product launches and more.From 2006 to 2011, she served as the Director of Marketing & Communications for MedAire where she was indoctrinated into the world of business aviation and commercial aviation. While at MedAire, she led a team of marketing professionals and directed global communications for the company’s four lines of business: commercial aviation, business and general aviation, luxury yachts and commercial maritime. She also managed the PR function, generating national and international media coverage via CNN, BBC, MSNBC, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and more.
VIDEO: Meet our aviation management consulting advisors in this 2-minute video.