THE TALENT AND EXPERIENCE TO SHAPE THE NEXT EVOLUTION IN FLIGHT
As chairman of Aerion Corporation, Mr. Bass leads the investor group funding development of the AS2 supersonic business jet.
Mr. Bass is president of Keystone Group, L.P. and the founder of the Oak Hill family of funds, comprised of more than $45 billion of investments across multiple asset classes. Over the course of 40 years, he has successfully invested in the manufacturing, aviation, automotive, energy, and media and cable industries, among others.
Within aerospace, Mr. Bass has led investments in: Avolon Aerospace Limited, a global aircraft lessor with a portfolio of more than 260 aircraft; UK-based Firth Rixson, a producer of highly engineered jet engine components, which was sold to Alcoa; and Primus International, a leader in highly engineered aerospace parts with facilities in China and Thailand, since sold to Precision Cast Parts.
Mr. Bass has led investments in prominent consumer brand names such as American Skiing Company, Dave & Buster’s, Duane Reade, and The Container Store, as well as in major providers of worldwide business process outsourcing services, including EXL Services, Inc. and Genpact Limited (formerly GE Capital International Services), both with their principal operations in India.
Committed to making a difference, Mr. Bass is a Trustee of Stanford University, Director of Stanford Management Company, and a Trustee of Rockefeller University, Middlesex School, and the Amon Carter Museum. He is past Chairman of Stanford University, Stanford Management Company, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Mr. Bass is a native of Fort Worth, where his offices are based. He and his family have played a central role in the development of that city, investing heavily in downtown development, and funding the construction of a performance hall and several public plazas, among other real estate projects in the region.
Mr. Bass received his B.A. degree from Yale University and an MBA degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Mr. Barents has successfully participated in the development of three major general aviation companies, all leaders in their respective markets.
He served as president, CEO, and managing partner for Galaxy Aerospace Corporation, where he led the company to a sales backlog of $2.5 billion prior to negotiating its sale to General Dynamics in 2001.
As president and CEO of Learjet, Inc., Barents turned the company’s negative earnings into the most profitable in the company’s 32-year history, with increased revenues of more than 400%. During his tenure (1989-1996), long-range strategies and new innovative products were introduced that resulted in an order backlog exceeding $1 billion.
As a senior vice president for Cessna Aircraft Company, he was responsible for worldwide sales, marketing, product support and aircraft completion, and actively participated in new product development programs.
Barents is a past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and currently serves on the boards of Kaman Corporation, The Nordam Group, and CAE Inc. Barents retired from a 34-year military career in 2002 with the rank of brigadier general in the United States Air Force and The Kansas Air National Guard.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DIRECTOR
As CEO, Mr. Nichols leads the company’s effort to finance, develop, and produce supersonic aircraft based on Aerion’s proprietary technology. As an aviation enthusiast, he also brings incredible energy and excitement to Aerion.
Prior to joining Aerion in the fall of 2008, Nichols worked as a senior advisor to Bombardier on its CSeries program, consulting on the financial aspects of structuring the program, including the structuring of partner and supplier relationships. That program was formally launched in July 2008.
Nichols is a former executive of The Boeing Company where he enjoyed a distinguished 28-year career. Among his many financial, operating and strategic planning roles, Nichols served as CFO for the company’s Commercial Airplane Group 747/767 Programs and for Boeing Business Jets. Over the course of his Boeing career, he gained extensive experience in all aspects of the operational and financial management of commercial airplane programs, including new aircraft market evaluation; product development; aircraft preliminary and detailed design processes; advanced final assembly processes; supply base management; support logistics; marketing and sales; and airplane sales financing.
ERNEST (ERNIE) EDWARDS
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER
Mr. Edwards leads all aspects of the sales effort for the Aerion AS2. He retired as president of Embraer Executive Jets at the end of 2013 and earlier served as that company’s vice president of sales & marketing for North America. In those roles (from 2005 to 2013), he helped build Embraer, a new entrant to business aviation, into one of the industry’s leading brands.
A 45-year veteran of the industry, Edwards most recently served as non-executive Chairman of Veling Tayara Ltd., a Dubai-based company that provides structured operating leases for business jets and is a sister company of Veling Ltd., one of the world’s top 40 commercial leasing companies.
He has held senior management positions with Cessna and Gulfstream and is the former president of Swift Aviation Group, which introduced Embraer to the business aircraft market in 2002 by offering the Legacy 600, a variant of the Embraer EMB-135 regional jet.
Edwards is an ATP pilot, type rated in Citation series aircraft, and also holds an airframe & powerplant license. He is a 1972 graduate of Kelsterton College and speaks Arabic.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Hinderberger is responsible for all Aerion technical activities required to develop the AS2 supersonic business jet in conjunction with an engine supplier and an airframe OEM.
Hinderberger has led aircraft development programs at a number of manufacturers. He has served as vice president of engineering at Piper Aircraft, vice president of product development at Hawker-Beechcraft, and chief engineer for the G650 program at Gulfstream Aerospace.
Working for Rolls-Royce, Hinderberger gained extensive experience with propulsion systems development and integration. There, he served as flight test team leader for certifying the engine, thrust reverser, and nacelle for the Bombardier Global Express. He later managed the successful development of the G650 nacelle and thrust reverser by Spirit AeroSystems.
DR. RICHARD TRACY
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
Dr. Tracy is an aerodynamicist whose extensive research on supersonic natural laminar flow led to the present SNLF wing concept, which he first patented in 1994. He formed the ASSET Group in 1991, and later Asset Research Corp., to pursue development of commercial applications of SNLF technology. Asset Research Corp. became Aerion Corporation in 2002.
As Aerion’s chief technology officer, Dr. Tracy is responsible for technology development and design oversight of supersonic aircraft incorporating SNLF technology.
He has worked on a number of classified defense programs and civil aircraft development and certification projects, including the single stage to orbit X-30 and the Northrop Grumman “Global Hawk.” As chief engineer for Bill Lear’s LearAvia in the 1970s, he led the advanced design of the LearStar 600, which was later developed as the Canadair CL-600 Challenger. He initiated the design of the carbon composite Lear Fan and led the development effort on that aircraft through its successful first flight. Between the years 1997 and 2001, he was principal investigator on three DARPA contracts related to applications of SNLF technology.
Dr. Tracy holds BS, MS and PhD degrees from Caltech, the latter in Hypersonic Aerodynamics, which he earned in 1964. He attended the Brussels-based NATO Von Karman Institute in 1959-60 as the General Motors Fellow, and was awarded the Von Karman Prize for his thesis on heat transfer in separated supersonic flows.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel
Mr. Cram is a senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for the company and oversees all of the company’s legal and contractual affairs. He was previously an attorney with a leading aviation law firm, Aero Law Group, where he advised both business aviation and airline clients on hundreds of aircraft transactions and various regulatory and ownership issues. Mr. Cram was also a regional director of aircraft contracts at The Boeing Company, and held various other contractual and financial roles. He is a Cum Laude graduate of Seattle University School of Law and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Idaho with a B.S. in Business Economics. Mr. Cram serves as an advisory board member for the University of Idaho College of Business and Economics.
Senior Vice President, Finance and Corporate Development
Mr. Mancini has extensive experience as a finance professional with a focus on complex, creative financing solutions. Over the course of his career, he has been involved in transactions totaling $10 billion. Most recently he served in executive roles at various Silicon Valley startups, guiding early businesses through fundraising and operational challenges. Previously, Mr. Mancini was a hedge fund and private equity investor where he directly invested over $1.5 billion of capital across a wide variety of public and private securities. He has worked at UBS Investment Bank, advising on capital raising and M&A transaction in the global technology, media, and telecom sectors. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College with a degree in Finance and Economics.
Vice President, Operations and Planning
Mr. Worbington is responsible for program management and operational aspects of the AS2 development program. He has led multiple aircraft development programs from concept to certification and entry into service. He served as Chief Program Manager at Piper Aircraft and led the development, certification, and entry into service of the PA46 Meridian, PA34 Seneca V, as well as leading numerous major type certification programs. In addition, he has consulted for several major OEMs in program management, operations, and planning of aircraft development programs.
Worbington began his career in experimental aerodynamics and flight test, working for Honda Aircraft and Piper Aircraft. He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University and Project Management professional designation.
Vice President, Human Resources
Prior to joining Aerion, Ms. Holden served as the Director of People for The Spaceship Company, the manufacturing division of Virgin Galactic, where her focus on strategic recruiting and leadership coaching allowed the company to successfully double in headcount six times. She spent nearly a decade in the health care industry, leading organizational transformations, driving large scale change, delivering improved cycle times and satisfaction results. Ms. Holden holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, focusing on Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and was certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society of Human Resource Management.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Through his former advertising and PR firm, Blake-Miller Communications, Mr. Miller organized the public introduction of Aerion in 2004 and has been affiliated with the company ever since, with the exception of a tour as vice president of communications for Gulfstream Aerospace from 2010 to 2012. He has also served as vice president of communications at Galaxy Aerospace and director of public affairs at Learjet. He helped introduce the innovative laminar-flow Piaggio Avanti turboprop to America as Piaggio’s U.S. marketing manager. Early in his career he was a copywriter at the Madison Avenue advertising agency Young & Rubicam. He is a former president of the Kansas Aviation Museum.
Board of Directors
ROBERT BASS, Chairman
President, Keystone Group, L.P.
BRIAN BARENTS, Co-chairman
Former President, Galaxy
Aerospace Corporation; Learjet, Inc.
CEO, Aerion Corp
SVP, Chief Technology Officer,
GERALD (JERRY) GRINSTEIN
Co-founder, Madrona Investment
Group; former CEO, Delta Airlines
Partner, The Air Law Firm, LLP
CEO, Local Motors
CEO, Consolidated Precision
Former Boeing program manager for
high-speed civil transport