The Team

JetZero was founded by the aviation pioneers who invented the original Blended Wing Body (BWB). Since its founding the JetZero team has grown to include aerospace engineers from across the sector and advisors from the industry-leading manufacturers and airlines.

Board of Advisors

Barry Eccleston Former CEO, AIRBUS USA

Barry is the retired CEO of Airbus Americas Inc. where he was responsible for all aspects of Airbus’s commercial airplane business in North America. He has held senior management roles at Honeywell’s Propulsion Systems Enterprise and Rolls Royce, including as CEO of its joint venture with Pratt & Whitney, International Aero Engines. In these various roles he has overseen the development and service entry of several engines.

Brian Barents Former CEO of Learjet

Brian has led both established aircraft companies and startups. As Senior VP of Marketing and Sales at Cessna he oversaw the expansion of the Citation BizJet line. As CEO of Learjet he took the company from bankruptcy to profitability, introducing the Learjet 31A, 45, and 60 models. He then led startup Galaxy Aerospace, introducing the Galaxy Jet, the first super-midsize business jet later rebranded the Gulfstream 200. He served as Co-Chairman and CEO of supersonic aircraft developer Aerion. He retired from the United States Air Force as a brigadier general. 

Bryan Moss Former president, Gulfstream

Bryan has served as President of both Bombardier Business Aircraft and its principal competitor, Gulfstream Aerospace, over a period of 20 years. He has led the service introduction of the industry’s most successful long-range and ultra-long range business jets. At Gulfstream, the product line expanded from two aircraft to six, and during his tenure, The G-V and G-550 won the prestigious Collier Trophy. He began his career selling one of the earliest business jets, the Lockheed JetStar. 

Nina Jonsson Former Head of Fleet Strategy, AirFrance KLM

A 30-year veteran of the airline industry, Nina led Fleet strategy at Air France-KLM (among others). She is Chairman of FLYHT Aerospace Solutions in Calgary Canada, and Vice Chairman of Icelandair. 

Pres Henne Former SVP, Gulfstream

Pres started at McDonnel Douglas where he was Chief Design Engineer for the MD-80 and general manager of the MD-90 Programs. Later at Gulfstream he was awarded the Collier Trophy for the design of the Gulfstream V. At Gulfstream, he led the development and certification of multiple aircraft, including the groundbreaking, fly-by-wire, Mach .925, ultra-long range Gulfstream G-650.

Mary Ellen Jones Former VP of Sales, Pratt & Whitney

Mary Ellen; Mej as she prefers, worked at Pratt & Whitney for over 30 years leading successful sales teams worldwide. She has also held leadership positions with the Connecticut Airport Authority, Airlink, the International Aviation Women’s Association and the Wings Club Foundation. 

Warren Willits CEO JetStar Partners

Warren has played an active role for JetZero as Strategic Advisor since founding. He began his career at McDonnell Douglas and is founder and CEO of JetStar Partners. 

Mark Page Founder, CTO

Starting as a McDonnell Douglas program manager in the 1990s, Mark led the first NASA funded BWB research initiative. That seminal work was embraced by the aerospace industry as a path to sustainable airliners sparking subsequent research at NASA and around the world. He shares credit with Dr. Bob Liebeck and Blaine Rawdon as the inventors of the blended wing body. At Swift Engineering, he designed a range of unmanned air vehicles that were sold to Northrop Grumman. He founded DZYNE Technologies in 2012 where research into the BWB concept continued for NASA. JetZero was spun out of DZYNE to take BWB concepts from the R&D stage to the market. 

Tom O'Leary Co-founder, CEO

Tom was the former COO of prominent eVTOL startup BETA Technologies, where he collaborated with Mark Page on the design of the BETA Alia eVTOL. He was an early senior executive (Director of Sales and Marketing) at Tesla, putting in place much of the innovative market facing infrastructure for that pioneering mobility company. He is well versed in taking startup technologies and companies from their early stages to maturity. His entire career has been in mobility, starting at, working at eBay Motors and with other innovators. 

Dan da Silva COO

Dan started his aerospace career in flight test at Embraer in Brazil, followed by 33 years at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. During that time, his responsibilities ranged from aircraft sales in Latin America, to standing up the Boeing services sales and marketing organization worldwide, to overseeing modifications activities in China and Singapore with full P&L responsibility. He went on to manage Customer Support in Europe and ultimately joined the leadership team of Boeing Capital Corporation, where he managed global policy for aircraft finance. While at Boeing, Dan was a Board member at Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), HAECO Xiamen, and was the co-chair of the Aviation Working Group.

Eve Ford Operations

Eve started as a Systems Engineer at Boeing where she worked on GPS IIF, Future Combat Systems, and Delta Rockets. She went on to become a completions design engineer at Gulfstream and the Chief Systems Engineer of the MH-60R program at NAVAIR. From there, she went to ICON Aircraft, where she led various program management efforts and brought novel aircraft into service.

Rene Sagebien General Counsel

Rene began his career on Wall Street where he supported global derivatives and commodities trading desks. Following a move to Miami, he helped create several start-ups focused on commodities trades. He joins JetZero from MasterCard where he served as Senior Managing Counsel, Data & Services for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Bethany Davis Program

Bethany is pilot in command of JetZero’s aircraft development program. She was Director of Flight Innovation at Gulfstream Aerospace, prior to which she worked in Mexico City on a Fulbright Scholarship for Volaris Airlines leading a fuel optimization program. She speaks fluent Spanish and holds pilot type ratings for Gulfstream, Learjet, and Citation aircraft and ratings for airline transport pilot (ATP), certified flight instructor (CFI/CFII/MEI), seaplane, and helicopter.

Dr. John Vassberg Design

John is JetZero’s Chief Design Officer. Previously, he was Chief Aerodynamicist of Boeing’s Phantom Works. He innovated efficiency improvements on more than 20 Boeing aircraft, most notably the introduction of winglets. He's been awarded some of the highest honors in aerospace engineering including the AIAA Aerodynamics Award. 

Helene Thomas Finance

Helene holds a BS in Accounting from the University of San Francisco and an MS in Business Analytics from Arizona State University. She began her career as an accountant in commercial banking and then spent five years with ICON Aircraft. There she focused on financial management to support aircraft entry to serial production and company funding activities.

Sonny Stern Customer Support

Sonny was VP of Sales for Delta TechOps from 2015 to 2022. He got his start in systems and structures at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach before moving into the MRO sector where he held several positions including at AerCap where he was VP of Technical, APAC. Before joining JetZero he was CCO of Spirit Aerosystems Aftermarket.  

Dr. Robert Liebeck Design

Bob collaborated with Mark Page and Blaine Rawdon in the first NASA investigations of the BWB concept. He has led several experimental flight programs in partnership with NASA, is responsible for seminal airfoil design, and has an exhibit dedicated to him at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. He serves on the faculty of both Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California Irvine. 

Blaine Rawdon Configuration

Blaine, the third co-inventor of the blended wing, started his career working on experimental programs such as the Solar Challenger and the Gossamer Albatross. He worked in R&D at Boeing for two decades on experimental aircraft designs such as the Pelican large cargo transport as well as further refinement of BWB configuration.

Ron Kawai Propulsion

Ron has been working on jet aircraft since the 1970s, contributing to the DC-8 and 10, MD-80, C-17, and B717. First at Douglas Aircraft on the nuclear airplane program and then on their first commercial jet. He's one of the pioneers of hydrogen powered flight. 

Dr. Ilan Kroo Stability & Control

Ilan is one of the country’s leading experts on aerodynamics. He was involved in the development and testing of the first prototype blended wing by NASA . He founded ZeeAero (now Wisk), an eVTOL developer. He supported Aerion Supersonic with advanced computational fluid dynamics analysis. He is the Thomas V. Jones Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford. 

Bill Rickard Certification

Bill is the retired COO of Mooney Aircraft, where he oversaw supply chain, manufacturing, quality, and customer support. He also coordinated civil aviation and FAA certification efforts in the U.S. and China. Prior to that, he held positions at Douglas/Boeing including Director of Product Strategy and Development. He was also the chair of the Non-Advocate Review of BWB technical readiness and business viability.

Dick Johnson Structures

Dick started his career Lockheed-Georgia as a structural engineer, specializing in airframe static analysis and fatigue/damage tolerance. He then spent more than 20 years at Gulfstream as VP, Chief Scientist. After leaving Gulfstream he became President of D3 Technologies, an engineering services company specializing in structural design and analysis, supporting civil and military programs. Prior to joining JetZero he was VP, Chief Systems Engineer at Aerion Supersonic.



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