Business Aviation Client Experiences

Client Experiences

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 their trusted advisors.

VP of 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 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.

Chief Pilot

Jones Company

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.

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.

Aviation Director

Held Family Office

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

 Hear More Business Aviation Client Experiences in our Company Overview Video

Richard J. Walsh, Vice President of Aviation (formerly with 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."

Chris Wallace, Chief Pilot, Jones Companies

"I would like to officially announce that Jones Companies has completed its IS-BAO Stage 1 Audit. I want to personally thank Gray Stone Advisors for your guidance through this process. We could not have achieved this milestone without the building blocks and tools that your team equipped us with."

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 (formerly 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."

Client Experiences from Business Aviation 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.




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.



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.



Leigh White, SVP, CurAegis (formerly with Alertness Solutions)

See how Gray Stone Advisors enables cultural and organizational change within Part 91 flight departments.


Endorsements for Jim Lara, Senior Advisor & Principal

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 findings into an actionable plan. He holds people accountable. He guides and teaches. He builds confidence that success is possible, even in troubled environments."

We help people succeed by focusing on the business fundamentals within business aviation.

How many we assist you?

Praise for our Blog and e-Newsletter, The Advisor™

Doug Schwartz (former 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 (formerly 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."