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Testimonials

 

At Gray Stone Advisors, we thoroughly enjoy working with our business aviation clients and industry partners. See why our clients and colleagues value our business aviation consultants as see them as trusted advisors.

 

Business Aviation Testimonials from Clients

 

VP of Business Aviation, Fortune 500 Company

Learn how Gray Stone Advisors helps reinvigorate flight department teams in time of transition. Hear from a VP who shares his experience of working with GSA to assess his team's areas of weakness and strength as well as lead them through IS-BAO Registration (Stages I and II).

Manager of Bizav Operations - reinvigorating teams in times of transition


Manager of Aircraft Operations, Major U.S. Food Producer

Learn how Gray Stone Advisors helps business aviation teams define "The Way Forward." This client explains how GSA's advisors helped him rebuild trust within his flight department as well as coached the team to leverage existing resources and make positive changes.

Manager of Bizav Operations - Defining the Way Forward



VP of Business Aviation, Fortune 50 Flight Department

Hear why a vice president of business aviation relied on Jim Lara and Steve Brechter of Gray Stone Advisors to help his flight department focus, plan and execute.

VP of Business Aviation - Enabling teams to focus plan and execute

Chief Pilot Chris Wallace, Jones Companies
Learn how Gray Stone Advisors is helping Part 91 flight departments establish best practices, create a comprehensive Flight Operations Manual and prepare for IS-BAO Registration.

Bizav Chief Pilot - Helping flight departments become best in class

 

Aviation Director, Privately-held Family Business

 Learn how our business aviation consulting firm helps coach leaders to reach new heights.

Director of Aviation privately-held family business

 

Business Aviation Testimonials from Industry Partners

 

Sheryl Barden, President and CEO, Aviation Personnel International
Hear how we focus on helping both people and flight departments transform through effective listening and coaching.

  Sheryl Barden - Aviation Personnel - Listening coaching helping people succeed

Eric Barfield, Director of Operations, Hope Aviation Insurance
Learn how Gray Stone Advisors is helping business aviation leaders create effective and sustainable solutions within their Part 91 flight departments.

Eric Barfield - Hope Insurance - Gray Stone provides a strategic perspective


Don Dwyer, Managing Partner, Guardian Jet
Hear how the role of today's Part 91 flight department manager has changed, and how our advisors help those managers to be the best they can possibly be.

Don Dwyer Guardian Jet - Helping leaders reach their full potential

 

 
Leigh White, SVP, CurAegis (formerly with Alertness Solutions)
See how Gray Stone Advisors enables cultural and organizational change within Part 91 flight departments.

Leigh White EVP CurAegis - provide leadership by example

 


Hear several business aviation testimonials in our company overview video (2:36)

Gray Stone Advisors business aviation consulting overview

 

Praise for our Blog and e-Newsletter, The Advisor

 

Doug Schwartz
Manager, Global Aviation Services, ConocoPhillips

"The Advisor newsletters have been great. They always contain useful and thought provoking material, are short easy reads and well constructed. I get about 200 emails a day and delete many without reading them. I always read these. Good work."


Joe Loccisano
Director of Maintenance, CSC Transport

"Your aviation maintenance metrics article is spot on. We tend to focus on getting the job done, focusing on speed and quality. You have taught us that the measurement and documentation of the accomplishments are VERY important downtown [at corporate]. They (executives) need to be shown the value we provide in terms they can understand. It truly is the only way for them to justify our existence and appreciate the service we provide.
Your entire site should be required reading for all flight departments in my opinion."

 

Testimonials for The Way Forward Two-day Offsite


"I liked the approach that they didn't come in as the experts with all the answers about our flight dept. Our team has a better understanding of the issues and Gray Stone's methods as facilitators had the right process to extract the information from us and turn that into an action plan."

 

"Jim and Steve are pros and very passionate about what that bring to the table. I was amazed at what they were able to draw out of all of us. The process was very well done!"


"Jim and Steve are expert facilitators and have keen insights into both aviation as a whole and the business world. From the day-to-day workings of a flight department to the critical interaction that must take place between aviation leaders and the corporate executives, Gray Stone knows how to dig out what's vital to your operation and set a course toward actionable items you can take back to your team. This was the best leadership seminar of any kind that I've ever been a part of."


"The process of which Jim and Steve presented the class was extremely effective. From the initial opening of being uncomfortable with establishing "I'm in," followed by two days of brainstorming, capturing an inconceivable amount of information, to the refinement of the final product speaks volumes for Gray Stone's ability to deliver an outstanding service. I look forward to a lasting relationship."


"The Gray Stone team came highly recommended from other aviation professionals. They did not disappoint and exceeded my expectations! We will continue to partner with these very talented individuals as we go forward with the execution of our well defined road map."


"I found it amazing how Jim and Steve were able to pull all of our different ideas together into one. At the beginning I was skeptical and wasn't sure where it was going to lead. By the end it all made perfect sense. I am all in."

 

More Testimonials from Clients

 

Richard J. Walsh, Vice President of Global Aviation, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

"I have had the opportunity to engage Gray Stone Advisors on the following projects:

  • Benchmarking and development of performance-based metrics
  • Gap analysis and path forward recommendations for our dispatch and maintenance functions
  • Development of a five-year fleet strategy
  • Zero-based budgeting workshops for entry level managers
  • Organizational alignment and employee feedback surveys

One of the areas of significant consideration in the ongoing relationship between HP Aviation and Gray Stone has been the direct and honest communication established with their Advisors. I can speak very favorably on their ability to meet aggressive project timelines, and all final reports are well understood at the executive level. Their professional and low-key interface with HP Aviation staff has facilitated an open exchange and teachable moments for all involved team members.

HP Aviation has gone through significant transformation in the last year and partnering with Jim and his team has accelerated the department's transformational efforts while allowing us to executive on our daily tactical activities.

I am happy to expand on any area that Gray Stone has partnered with Hewlett-Packard and look forward to our future collaborative efforts with Gray Stone."


Larry Luciani
Chief Pilot, Amway Aviation

"Gentlemen [Steve Brechter and Jim Lara]: Thank you very much for your outstanding presentation and fantastic ability to engage our [Chief Pilots Roundtable] group on Monday. Wow! Just wanted to let you know we had a productive, focused and fulfilling afternoon session that produced the results we were looking for. This home run was a direct result of your efforts. You made a positive difference within our group, and for this the Chief Pilots Roundtable and the leadership team is very grateful. There is more work for us to do and now we have an energized team ready and willing to take on the task. Best wishes to both of you -- true professionals that know how to get the job done."

 

Jennifer Alessio
Senior Finance Manager, Corporate Security (formerly with McKesson Corporation
)

"Working with Gray Stone Advisors has been a tremendous opportunity for our company.  My Senior Advisor is very insightful, honest and candid individual and is very easy to work with. He always carries a positive attitude, which would always bring encouragement to our meetings. His knowledge and enthusiasm was evident from the very first time we met with him.

Gray Stone's continued guidance and recommendations have allowed us to achieve powerful results and take our requirements to the next level. The team takes the time to understand the complexity of our company and, through their extensive experience and knowledge, has provided us with a recommendation of a road map to success."


Phil Stang
Vice President of Business Aviation, CSC Transport (Cablevision)

Ten months have passed since we first met on the second floor at headquarters in Bethpage. At that time, it was clear to others and me that the department needed some professional guidance to help stabilize the operation. I had just completed my first year with the company [as Director, Flight Operations] and was frustrated with our progress.

You and the Gray Stone Advisors team were able to quickly assess our operation and provide the assistance we so desperately needed. Your consistent presence at the hangar and methodical process used to evaluate the organization were key factors in helping turn this department around. It was also clear to me from the beginning that your very well rounded business career experience—combined with your aviation prowess—was the perfect mix for developing a flight department and its personnel. Many of the folks on this team have risen to the challenge with your support and guidance. The process, definition and development you brought into the department have also played a very important role in reshaping our organization.

This has been a very fast-paced transformation and we would not have been able to complete our IS-BAO Stage I audit in such a short time frame without you and your team. If all flight departments had the opportunity to work with an organization such as Gray Stone Advisors, there would be nothing but "Best in Class" flight departments. The service you provide is invaluable and I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for CSC Transport. I look forward to the future of this department and maintaining a strong working relationship with Gray Stone Advisors."

 

Vice President and Reporting Executive to Flight Department, Fortune 500 Company

"At our request, Gray Stone Advisors assumed an interim leadership role in our corporate Flight Department. Simultaneously, we asked them to launch a best practices initiative to ensure that the department was operating consistent with (or better than) its peer group in the business aviation industry. Gray Stone Advisors put a Senior Advisor in place and immediately went to work. 

In short order, new vision, mission and value statements were created to align the department, and an operating plan was developed to set a new, best practice, direction. Within a few months, the department became IS-BAO registered and a set of operating metrics was created to improve corporate reporting. A new budgeting process was developed that zero-based all costs and modeled the operation financially. Our Senior Advisor also played a key role in the recruiting and onboarding of a permanent Aviation Director.

Gray Stone Advisors was effective in establishing a highly effective teamwork environment for our Flight Department and leading our existing team to achieve high levels of performance in a short time. They did so in a sustainable way, by engaging the entire team and drawing the best out of our people. They integrated seamlessly with our corporate staff and exceeded the objectives that we placed upon them. We are highly pleased with their performance and the results they helped us achieve."

 

Business Aviation Pilot

"Steve [Brechter], I have been thinking of you lately, and wanted to reach out. Things are well with me, and hope they are with you. I'm currently flying a GIV and doing contract work on a CJ4. Using what I learned from you, I have implemented a lot of your ideas and techniques into both of these operations. I am forever grateful that you came into my life and showed me other ways of doing things. I am a lot more confident and calm in how I approach things."

 

Endorsements for Principal Jim Lara


Sheryl Barden
President & CEO, Aviation Personnel International

 "Jim Lara brings calm and a sense of order to situations of chaos or discomfort. His voice and demeanor soothes and alleviates tension; and, his methodical approach brings an immediate sense of order. He instills confidence in others; he models sincerity. Jim is an excellent coach and does a wonderful job of holding up the mirror."

 

Terry Giles
Board Member, Audit Committee Chairman, Public Company

 "I was impressed with Jim Lara's energy, enthusiasm, and calmness in dealing with very difficult situations. Jim was able to put in place new managers and strategies that commence the move toward desirable levels of profitability. He had the courage to take controversial, yet necessary steps to return the company to profitability. He reorganized a major line of business to the point where it is smoothly functioning and highly profitable. He is professional, energetic, competent, thorough and consistent - a hardworking, top-performing professional leader." 


Todd Snyder
Vice President of Operations, World Travel

 "Jim Lara has challenged us to change our perspective on our industry and create new processes and service offerings to our customers. During our 10 year association, my company has grown from $10 Million to over $65 Million in sales, and is well position to continue our growth and success into the future."



Kjell Andreessen

Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

"Mr. Lara is disarmingly direct, insightful, honest, inspirational and in-touch. In one consultation, he provides the insights and understanding that would take a long time to develop alone. His advice is practical, candid, creative. To say that the experience was enlightening is an understatement."

 

Chairman & CEO, Global Emergent Medical Response Founder

"Jim Lara has the ability to effect change in an organization. His ability to mentor, coach and guide individuals, helping them grow, is one of his greatest attributes. He is committed to the client's success, and he has a broad background in many business sectors—service, retail & wholesale distribution. His wealth of experience enables him to speak to most challenges inherent in either rapid growth companies or struggling turn around projects. Jim's presence 'Lifts the Pressure', allowing problems to be solved. He brings insight, perspective, reflection, encouragement and honesty to any discussion."

 

Founder, Global Emergency Response Center

"Jim Lara grasps the "real message," clarifies and distills to succinct words to achieve understanding and consensus of the group. He is a teacher, not lecturer. He quickly gains the confidence of those around him."

 

Chief Financial Officer, Publicly-traded Professional Services Company

"Jim Lara has the unique ability to drill down into anything to do a root cause analysis and then translate those finding into an actionable plan. He holds people accountable. He guides and teaches. He builds confidence that success is possible, even in troubled environments."


At Gray Stone Advisors, we help people succeed by focusing on the business fundamentals within business aviation. How may we best assist you?

 

 

 

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