CJI Power Players 2022
Meet CJI's Sustainability Heroes
Introducing our Sustainability Power Players 2022. We celebrate the 20 most influential men and women in sustainable business aviation. Mike Stones
Innovation in the pipeline: Neste’s SAF production plants are gearing up production.
WELCOME TO Corporate Jet Investor’s Sustainability Power Players 2022 list. Earlier this year we set ourselves the mission of naming the 20 most influential people in sustainable business aviation. We wanted to celebrate the power of one – one individual to lead, to inspire and to direct real progress in making business aviation more sustainable.
It’s a list populated by business leaders, scientists, engineers, technicians and others who are helping to move the dial on sustainability topics. Some of those selected hold prominent positions in aircraft manufacturing companies. Some focus on promoting aviation sustainability. Others work for fuel companies specialising in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) or are private jet brokers and charter operators. Whatever their role or discipline, they are all united in their dedication to helping aviation cut its carbon emissions to the Net Zero 2050 deadline. (We recognise too, the contribution of everyone in the teams our Power Players lead or serve within).
How did we compile the 20-name hotlist? We began with you, the Corporate Jet Investor audience, by inviting readers to nominate the men and women who they felt had made the biggest contribution in the field of sustainability.
We then sent the long list of names to our independent industry judges (listed below) to help condense the list to just 20 names. We have avoided including individuals from industry associations. This is not to say such associations aren’t playing a key role in leading sustainable business aviation – often they are. But we enlisted their representatives to select our Power Players.
It was such a tough task deciding who to include (and more particularly who not to include), that we decided to select an additional three names for a separate Highly Commended list.
The people named on each list share equal honour. They appear in an alphabetical order and in no way have we tried to rank achievements in order of importance. We believe everyone named has made an equally stunning contribution to sustainable business aviation. So, welcome to the inaugural CJI Power Players list 2022.
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CJI Sustainability Power Players 2022
John Benjamin 3M, Captain/pilot at 3M Company
BASED IN THE greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, John Benjamin works at American multinational conglomerate 3M company as a captain/pilot. His interest in sustainable aviation – particularly his expert knowledge of emissions trading schemes and carbon offsetting – has long won industry wide appreciation. One judge noted: “John Benjamin understands the need for a sustainability focus, and provides leadership others are following.”
Nancy Bsales Chief operating officer, 4Air
A SUSTAINABILITY professional for more than 18 years, Nancy Bsales won her place on this list for her long-term practical commitment to helping businesses and institutions improve their sustainability solutions. She started working on carbon management and sustainable aviation solutions with the social enterprise TerraPass, in the Greater New York area. Since then Bsales has built compelling carbon reduction programmes, devised carbon reduction strategies and mentored others to fight climate change.
Andrew Collins President & CEO, Sentient Jet
During his six years at the helm of Sentient Jet’s $450m consumer travel and aviation business, Andrew Collins has increasingly focused on sustainability topics. Since launching its emissions-neutral sustainability initiative at the start of 2021, the company has achieved a 300% offset across 30,000 legs flown throughout last year. The offsets represent the equivalent of planting 345,000 acres and nearly 5m trees in the US, providing the energy for an entire average US town for a full year, according to current U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2021. “We hope Sentient Jet’s sustainability efforts can become an example for what the private aviation industry as a whole can accomplish in terms of making meaningful steps toward reducing overall emissions and prioritising our planet,” said Collins.
Sunny savings: Solar panels, cover more than 30,000sqft of Clay Lacy’s Los Angeles HQ. The panels, fitted to the roofs of hangars and maintenance facilities, generate 750,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.
Sustainability has come to dominate all aspects of the private jet industry from construction to operation, fuel and FBOs. (Photo courtesy of Gulfstream).
Scott Cutshall Senior vice president, development and sustainability, Clay Lacy
UNDER SCOTT CUTSHALL’S guidance, Clay Lacy became the first company to complete its facilities audit by 4Air and to be certified to the National Air Transportation Association’s (NATA) Sustainability Standard for Aviation Businesses. The judges were impressed by his success at turning sustainability plans into reality. “Scott Cutshall is an example of on-the-ground corporate leadership in sustainability that will ultimately be a model others will follow,” according to one judge.
Gary Dunn President, Aviation Partners
GARY DUNN – AKA Mr Winglet – has close to 30 years’ experience in aviation maintenance, engineering, product support, sales and marketing. Dunn supported the Gulfstream II blended winglet programme with everything from installations to supply chain management. Among the first significant carbon-emissions innovations, winglets fly on more than 10,000 business and commercial airplanes. Aviation Partners’ designed winglet products continue to save billions of gallons of fuel worldwide.
Charles Etter Staff scientist/technical fellow, Gulfstream
NOW WORKING WITH Gulfstream, Charles Etter is a scientist and strategist who has dedicated his career to business aviation sustainability. During a career spanning 30 years, he has focused on environmental topics, such as aircraft noise, emissions and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). He serves as a technical advisor to the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industry Association (ICCAIA) and International Business Aviation Council on environmental topics. For the past 14 years, Etter has also worked closely with renewable fuel experts and has been instrumental in bringing SAF to Gulfstream.
Wonder winglets: After development by Gary Dunn, Aviation Partners and others, winglets have now come to play a major role in boosting the sustainability of business aviation.
Daniela Flierl Founder and CEO, AirGO
EQUIPPED WITH A commercial pilot’s licence, Daniela Flierl founded boutique airline AirGo in 1998, which charters the largest fleet of Avanti aircraft in Europe and now also offers management of the Embraer Praetor 600. Nominated by the CJI audience, Flierl drew praise for her work in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and minimising environmental impacts. The judges also noted her work in supporting young professionals and employing several young female pilots. “Flierl started this ESG [Environmental and Social Governance] journey before big players,” according to one CJI reader.
Pat Gallagher President of Sales, Marketing and Service, NetJets
LEADING NETJETS – the world's largest private jet company, offering fractional aircraft ownership, private jet leases, and private jet card programmes – Pat Gallagher has led efforts to boost sustainability. Under his leadership, NetJets has flown nearly 2.7nm powered by SAF. The business has also invested in SAF production through a deal with WasteFuel, which includes an offtake of 100m gallons of SAF over the next decade. NetJets Europe (NJE) became the first customer to purchase Air bp’s SAF.
Alireza Ittihadieh President and CEO, Freestream
THE FIRST AIRCRAFT broker to plant 5m trees to help cut the carbon footprint of business aviation, Alireza Ittihadieh has won respect for championing business aviation sustainability. “As climate change moves to the forefront of social conversation, Freestream has made a commitment to the 1 Million Trees Program. We offset the carbon footprint of the aircraft we sell so our clients can continue to soar,” according to the jet broker’s website.
SAF solutions: NetJets, led by Pat Gallagher, was an early purchaser of SAF from the refineries of Air bp.
Clive Jackson Founder and chairman, Victor
UNDER CLIVE JACKSON’S leadership, in 2019 Victor became the world’s first aviation company to become carbon negative. Each charter flight has a minimum of 200% carbon offset. Victor’s audited 2020 environmental performance is published at flyVictor.com/carbon-offset-report/2020. This reveals the company emitted more than 21,272t of carbon and offset more than 45,000t in 2020, protecting forest which covers an area four times the size of Manhattan, New York. “Clive Jackson is leading the way in sustainability for the charter segment,” concluded one judge.
Leo Knappen Bombardier
LEO KNAPPEN RETIRED as Bombardier’s chief – Industry Affairs this year, after 33 years at the manufacturer. During that time he championed both aviation safety and sustainability long before the industry’s green credentials attracted scrutiny. In 2017 he started meeting business aviation associations to stress how important SAF was to be to the future of the industry. Tim Obitts, then president and CEO of the National Air Transport Association told CJI earlier this year: “Leo prodded us along to launch the SAF Business Aviation Coalition and help start the remarkable journey…”. Another of the Power Players judges said: “Leo Knappen is always pushing the aviation sector to be more safe, secure and sustainable.”
Thorsten Lange Executive VP, Renewable Aviation, Neste
THORSTEN LANGE joined renewable fuels producer Neste in February 2020 from Lufthansa Group. A highly experienced aviation industry leader, Lange has an outstanding knowhow on the industry, especially in fuels including sustainable aviation fuel, through his career and having served as chair of the International Air Transport Association Fuel Committee. On joining Neste, Lange said: “The aviation industry is at the crossroads. Use of sustainable aviation fuel will play an important role in supporting the industry’s ongoing efforts in making air transportation fit for the environmental challenges it is facing.” Neste expects to have the capacity to produce about 1.5m tons (515m gallons) of SAF annually by 2023.
The Neste headquarters at Porvoo, near Helsinki, Finland is dedicated to innovating SAF production capacity and supply chains.
“Leo Knappen is always pushing the aviation sector to be more safe, secure and sustainable”
Power Players Judge
Scott Lewis Executive vice president, Commercial Operations & Strategy, World Energy
IN LEADING World Energy's SAF supply business, Scott Lewis is dedicated to empowering the world’s most dynamic leaders to confront humanity’s greatest challenge in achieving the target of net-zero real carbon emissions. Lewis is leading the campaign to pioneer the growing network of integrated fuelling facilities to enable customers to meet their reduction commitments while growing their business. His advocacy in North America for enlightened policies governing the renewable and biofuel market has driven significant progress in improving the availability of SAF.
Andreea Moyes Sustainability director, Air bp
SINCE JOINING Air bp, Andreea Moyes has worked tirelessly to promote SAF, to educate the industry about the renewable fuel’s capabilities and to imagine the next generation of sustainable fuel products. Moyes wrote recently: “Although it’s not going to be easy, Air bp is committed to achieving its net-zero ambitions incorporating SAF strategies through a mix of different viable technology pathways to develop the sustainable fuels of the future.” One Power Players judge concluded: “Andreea Moyes is as skilled a communicator and advocate for sustainability as you can find anywhere.”
Air bp’s Andreea Moyes is a “skilled communicator and advocate for sustainability,” according to one judge.
Ben Owens VP & chief strategy officer, Honeywell/UOP
BEN OWENS HAS played a key role in developing Honeywell/UOP’s production and distribution systems for renewable fuels to power not just jets but also to drive cars, trucks and trains. (The company also makes natural gas for home heating and as a source of power generation). Owens has led efforts to forge partnerships with refineries to produce SAF and licence technology to speed production and distribution. Under Owens' leadership, the company’s engineers and chemists are shaping the refining, petrochemical and gas processing industries by turning laboratory science into industrial reality.
“Ben Owens has led efforts to forge SAF partnerships with refineries…”
Keith Sawyer Manager of Alternative Fuels, Avfuel
“KEITH SAWYER IS one of the early big thinkers with regard to sustainability,” according to one Power Players judge. “He will be remembered as a definitive source and activist in the campaign to promote the update of renewable aviation fuels.” Sawyer contributed to Avfuel’s commitment to buy 1bn gallons of SAF. Last year Avfuel revealed a partnership with Neste to “create an efficient, continuous supply of sustainable aviation fuel in the United States”. Avfuel is now supplying SAF to meet the rapidly growing demands of wide range of fixed base operators (FBOs), airports, flight departments, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and commercial operators.
Bryan Sherbacow Chairperson & CEO, Alder Fuels
BRYAN SHERBACOW IMPRESSED the Power Players judges by both his dedication and achievement in pioneering the commercialisation of SAF. Dubbed ‘green crude’, Alder Fuels produced green crude oil from low-cost biomass and energy crops. Sherbacow is convinced such feedstocks promise to significantly boost worldwide SAF supplies. “Our research shows that ready access to these materials could help to replace significant volumes of petroleum jet fuel with SAF globally,” Sherbacow tells CJI. “They also require far less fresh water to cultivate than alternative sources and result in no deforestation.” Key to cutting SAF costs is making biomass supply far more abundant. Policymakers also have a lead role to play in driving the industry towards sustainable alternatives, he adds.
Graham Webb, working with Pratt & Whitney, is helping to forge a sustainable future for aviation.
Andrew Thomas Director, Global Marketing & Sustainability, VistaJet
APPOINTED TO HIS current role in April 2021, Andrew Thomas is leading the delivery of VistaJet’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025. In 2020, more than 80% of VistaJet members offset CO2 emissions relative to their flights’ fuel consumption. This is in partnership with South Pole, a project developer and provider of climate action solutions. Since launching the partnership, VistaJet has offset 369,600 tons of CO2, cut fuel consumption by 8% due to ongoing investments in technology and AI, while 90% of single use items on board its aircraft have been replaced by sustainable alternatives.
“Andrew Thomas is leading delivery of VistaJet’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025”
Power Players judge
Graham Webb Chief sustainability officer, Pratt & Whitney
GRAHAM WEBB HAS built a 30-year career at Pratt & Whitney, working as chief engineer for the Geared Turbofan engine development programme, and general manager for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne operations in Florida and Mississippi, overseeing a large rocket engine business. As the company’s first chief sustainability officer, he is leading the drive to 100% SAF, hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator programme. The company has added carbon offsetting to its Eagle Service Plan (ESP). JetFly signed up its entire Pilatus PC12 fleet to ESP at this year's EBACE event in Geneva, Switzerland.
Jonathan Wood Vice president, Renewable Aviation, Neste
JONATHAN WOOD WON a place on the Power Players list for his relentless optimism about the potential of SAF to cut aviation’s carbon footprint and his commitment to improving its availability. Second-generation SAF is available now and will help to cut aviation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly two-thirds (65%) towards the net carbon zero goals of 2050, he tells CJI. Government policies will play a key role in supporting new technologies, he predicts. “Neste’s SAF production capacity alone will grow 15 times over the next 15 months – this is significantly higher than the proposed EU SAF mandate for 2025,” says Wood. Neste’s SAF cuts CO2 emissions by 80% over the life cycle of the fuel compared with conventional fossil jet fuel, according to the company.
“Jonathan Wood displays relentless optimism about SAF’s potential…”
Power Players judge
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Three Highly Commended Players
Simon Geere CEO, Farnborough Airport
SIMON GEERE, CEO, Farnborough Airport, UK is leading this business’s campaign to achieve Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2030 or sooner. This will result in a 91% reduction of those emissions. Farnborough was the first airport in the world to offer SAF at the same price as standard Jet A1 fuel for a trial period ahead of the Farnborough Airshow this year. “When it comes to supporting the decarbonisation of aviation, we want to lead the way at Farnborough Airport, which is why we have set ourselves one of the most ambitious targets in the industry,” said Geere.
Michel Coulomb CEO, Elit’Avia
A PILOT WITH more than 10,000 hours in his logbooks, Michel Coulomb is leading the introduction of the Elit’Avia Green Card. This is a jet card programme that offers carbon-neutral charter flights with the transparency of all-inclusive fees.
Kennedy Ricci President, 4Air
CHANGING AND challenging aviation, based on his love of flying (both personal and business), Kennedy Ricci is helping the industry make tangible progress now to meet the 2050 net zero target. One judge said: “Kennedy Ricci is a true pioneer and innovator in addressing carbon emissions from aviation. The full realisation of his vision is still unfolding.”
Farnborough Airport’s Simon Geere is putting green plans into action in the UK. Farnborough was the first airport in the world to offer SAF at the same price as standard Jet A1 fuel for a trial period.
What the judges said about sustainable aviation
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS aviation is a topic close to the heart of each of our CJI Power Players judges.
Anthony Lam, director, External Affairs, Asian Business Aviation Association tells CJI: “Aviation has always led the forefront of innovation, technology, improving living standards, and drives the development of the modern world. With such an important catalyst comes the responsibility of ensuring that we improve our quality of life not at the cost of the ecosystem and natural resources of future generations.”
Lam adds: “We must strive to conserve natural resources and make prudent decisions that are sustainable for many generations to come.”
David Crick, past president American Society of Appraisers and MD, DavAir Group underlines the importance of what the CJI Sustainability Power Players had achieved. “The key thought for the top 20 is that as individuals they are having an influence on the collective mentality and conversation around sustainability issues,” said Crick. “From the available information, they are also on a current and upward trajectory of changing the narrative about sustainability on a global basis for the corporate and private jet community.”
Dan Hubbard, senior vice president, National Business Aviation Association adds: “This inaugural list of nominees includes people who have been at the forefront of aviation sustainability, and who are pioneers in moving the industry toward a carbon-neutral future.”
For Marie-Laure Gassier, Jet and Yacht Finance specialist, BNP Paribas and all our judges, improving business aviation’s sustainability record was not an optional extra but a key part of its development and security. “There is no question, we should all fight climate change and, beyond our respective professional areas, act together to make business aviation green,” says Gassier. “I trust this is the purpose of the Power Players project expected by the industry and this is great.”
Business aviation’s relatively small size should enable rapid progress to be made on sustainability topics. “‘I fly because it’s green’: what a massive argument that could become,” said Gassier.
Marie-Laure Gassier, CJI Power Players judge.
On course for carbon neutral: “The inaugural list of nominees includes people who have been at the forefront of aviation sustainability…”, says Dan Hubbard, NBAA.
Power Player Judges
David Crick Past president, American Society of Appraisers and MD, DavAir Group
David Crick is a past president of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and one of its accredited senior appraisers. His appointment was the first time in ASA’s 85-year history that the role has been held by a member outside the US. Based in Australia, Crick is backed by more than 20 years of specialised valuation and consulting experience, Crick conducts appraisals of both fixed wing and rotary aviation assets.
Marie-Laure Gassier Jet and Yacht Finance specialist, BNP Paribas
Marie-Laure Gassier is a senior finance professional with more than 20 years experience of with BNP Paribas in France, Singapore and Switzerland. Gassier has helped to grow the business jet financing expertise of the bank for private and corporate clients over the past 10 years. The bank has operated a unit based in Switzerland for the past six years to better serve ultra-high net worth indivual (UHNWI) clients.
Dan Hubbard Senior vice president, National Business Aviation Association
Dan Hubbard joined the staff of National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in December 2004, as its new vice president, Communications. He was promoted to senior vice president in 2008 and has also served as corporate secretary of the Association’s Board of Directors from 2007 to 2010. After long experience in governmental and political communications, he serves as the senior staff member providing leadership for the association’s tactical and strategic communications programme.
Anthony Lam Director, External Affairs, Asian Business Aviation Association
Anthony Lam leads for Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) in government affairs, public affairs, safety initiatives and industry events. Anthony spearheaded the launch of AsBAA’s Safety Summit, Safety Week, the AsBAA Aircrew Mental Health awareness initiative and AsBAA’s ICRS - Asia’s first Illegal Charter Reporting System. Previously based in the US and Shanghai and now in Hong Kong, Lam is an FAA-licenced fixed and rotary-wing pilot.
Tim Obitts Chief legal officer, Alder Fuels
Tim Obitts was recently was appointed chief legal officer, Alder Fuels. He was previously president and CEO of National Air Transport Association (NATA). NATA is a founding member of the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the Council on Sustainable Fuels Accountability, where he served as chairman of the steering committee and board chairman respectively.
Ford von Weise Director - global head, Aircraft Finance at Citi Private Bank
Ford von Weise leads the group that provides private aircraft financing solutions and aviation advice to UHNWI clients and their companies throughout the world. His responsibilities at Citi have included loan origination, product programme management, reporting and appraisals. The group focuses on transactions typically in the range of $10m to $75m. He has more than 24 years of business aviation experience and has served as vice president of Business Aviation Finance for Merrill Lynch Capital.