With decades of experience and team member pedigrees that include airlines, lessors, banks, appraisers, and OEMs, Zephyrus is able to craft transactions through the lens of each stakeholder in a transaction. Each Zephyrus team member is committed to and is intentionally focused on building and maintaining deep relationships with key decision makers throughout the aviation industry, and through these relationships, Zephyrus has direct access across the aviation value chain to OEMs, lessors, airlines, lenders, service providers, and part-out companies.
Tony Diaz serves as Chairman of Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Diaz was previously President of CIT Aerospace. Also previously serving as an Executive Vice President of CIT Aerospace, Mr. Diaz was associated with subsidiaries and affiliates of CIT from 1987 through 2017. At CIT, he was responsible for running CIT Aerospace, which consisted of 467 commercial aircraft in total, valued at approximately $10 billion dollars of owned, managed and committed aircraft. From 1981 to 1987, he was employed by People Express Airlines (which was subsequently merged into Continental Airlines) in a variety of operational and financial capacities. Prior to 1981, he was employed by Cessna Finance Company, primarily involved in aircraft finance. He has also served as a Director of CIT Aerospace International Ltd.
Mr. Diaz holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an Associate of Science degree from the State University of New York at Farmingdale.
Damon J. D’Agostino is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. D’Agostino is the former Chief Commercial Officer for CIT Aerospace, one of the world’s leading aircraft leasing companies. As Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. D'Agostino was responsible for all aspects of CIT’s commercial strategy and execution, including aircraft sale and lease transactions, airline relationship management, contract negotiation, restructurings, and new aircraft and engine acquisitions. Prior to that role, he served as Chief Sales Officer, with global responsibility for marketing CIT’s aircraft portfolio which, by 2017, exceeded 350 aircraft valued at eleven billion dollars.
Under his eleven years of leadership, the business grew by more than 45% while delivering consistent year-over-year profitability growth and maintaining a greater than 99% asset utilization rate through industry peaks and troughs. He has negotiated the purchase of eight separate new aircraft orders, totaling 120 aircraft, with a list price value of $20 billion dollars. In 2017, Mr. D’Agostino, along with select members of CIT’s senior management team, sold the Commercial Air business to Avolon for a 6.7% premium to book.
Starting his career in the early 1990s, Mr. D’Agostino held a succession of sales and marketing roles and responsibilities with his personal transaction success including the sale, lease and financing of over 170 aircraft.
With a passion and desire to give back to the community, Mr. D’Agostino has been an active member of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) since 1996 and has served as a trustee of the ISTAT Foundation since 2012, where he has held the role of Chairman and currently serves as Vice-Chairman. In addition, he serves on a number of nonprofit and education boards and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and in university classrooms.
Mr. D'Agostino is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance. He also received an MBA in International Business from the University of Miami where he was summa cum laude and valedictorian of his graduating class.
Robert J. Meade is the Chief Commercial Officer of Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Meade is the former Director of Marketing Strategy and Asset Sales for CIT Aerospace, with responsibilities for directing all activity for CIT’s new aircraft order book and existing portfolio which exceeded 350 commercial aircraft and managing a team responsible for marketing assets to worldwide buyers.
During his career at CIT, Mr. Meade had a variety of roles and responsibilities within the marketing team including US and European airline relationship management, mature and late life asset sales since 2008, transaction and deal team management, airline default and distressed asset resolution, portfolio management, fleet evaluation, and marketing strategy development. During his tenure at CIT Aerospace, Mr. Meade contributed to the successful remarketing of over 275 aircraft to nearly 140 customers in 49 countries while maintaining over 99% fleet utilization rate.
Mr. Meade served in the US Air Force as an Aircraft Armament System Specialist and a campaign badge veteran who earned the rank of Technical Sergeant. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation with a focus on Management and Marketing. Mr. Meade is a long-time member of the International Society of Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) and serves on education advisory and charitable boards.
Susan Geitzenauer is the Chief Operating Officer of Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Ms. Geitzenauer previously served as Vice President - Commercial Transactions for Castlelake Aviation, where she managed lease, sale and finance transactions with respect to the firm’s commercial aviation portfolio. Prior to Castlelake, Ms. Geitzenauer served as Director and Head of Contracts at CIT Aerospace (now Avolon) for ten years. While at CIT, Ms. Geitzenauer helped to create and grow the Contracts team from a “party of one” to a team of seven professionals focused on drafting, negotiating and managing the commercial aviation transactions for CIT’s fleet of 350+ aircraft. In addition, she played a key role in the development of processes and procedures related to transaction, contract and document management, including implementing procedures and efficiencies to minimize the time between LOI execution and closing.
Ms. Geitzenauer started her career in aviation at International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in Los Angeles in 1994 as a Contract Manager focused on managing transactions and relationships with airlines based in North and South America. In 1999, she relocated to Minnesota with her family and assisted in the development and growth of the commercial aviation practice at the law firm of Fafinski Mark & Johnson, where she served as the Aviation Transaction Manager for over eight years.
Ms. Geitzenauer holds a B.A. in Spanish and sociology from Augustana University and is conversational in Spanish, having studied in Panama, Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua.
David Gleeson is the Chief Technical Officer at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Gleeson is a former Fleet Management Director at Dubai Aerospace Enterprises (DAE) where he was responsible for technical and asset management of multiple aircraft within Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. At DAE, Mr. Gleeson managed the technical aspects of aircraft and asset transactions, including LOI and lease negotiations, lease administration, aircraft delivery and redelivery processes, maintenance reserve analysis, aircraft sale processes, and default analysis and management.
Prior to working with DAE, Mr. Gleeson worked in a similar capacity as Vice President Technical at CIT Aerospace (now Avolon) within the EMEA region.
Mr. Gleeson initially trained at Shannon Aerospace (now Lufthansa, Shannon) commencing in 1993 as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician, and subsequently moving to Team Aer Lingus (Dublin) working initially as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and later within the Planning Department.
Mr. Gleeson is a graduate of T.U. Blanchardstown with a Bachelor of Business Studies degree (with Distinction) and also holds a Specialist Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance (with First Class Honours) from the University of Limerick.
Richard F. Genge is the Director of Fleet Strategy at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Genge is a former Assistant Vice President – Marketing & Asset Sales at CIT Aerospace where he was responsible for sourcing opportunities for new & used aircraft lease transactions along with uncovering trading opportunities in the Americas and Europe. Additionally, he was an integral part of a cross-functional team evaluating used aircraft and engines while presenting fleet optionality to maximize asset returns and improving bottom-line results. He has over fourteen years of aviation experience, including eight years of sales and marketing experience at CIT Aerospace.
Mr. Genge joined the Fort Lauderdale team at CIT Aerospace as a Marketing Analyst Intern in 2009 where he caught the aircraft leasing and financing “bug”. Over the next eight years as he advanced through the organization from Marketing Analyst to Assistant Vice President – Marketing & Asset Sales. Throughout the years, Mr. Genge’s responsibilities included airline & sales support for airlines located in North & South America, as well as Europe. While at CIT he was involved in the negotiation of ~100 aircraft lease & sales contracts while also administering aircraft leases in specific geographic areas managing up to 60 aircraft at the time. Furthermore, he managed the deal teams that oversaw lease and MOU negotiations, aircraft deliveries and redeliveries, bankruptcies, and lease restructurings for airlines in the Americas and Europe.
Mr. Genge graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, magna cum laude and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Business Administration, with a concentration in Airline Management. He later received his MBA in Aviation Management, with distinction from Embry-Riddle. His native tongue is German, and he is fluent in English and speaks conversational Spanish.
Aileen McElroy is the Director of Structuring & Planning at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Ms. McElroy has over ten years' experience in the aircraft lease and finance sector. She previously served as Director of Financial Services with Canyon CTS where she was actively involved in establishing and managing a broad range of services to multiple aviation structures. Throughout her career, Ms. McElroy has worked closely with airlines, lessors, investment managers and private equity funds.
Ms. McElroy has developed a wide range of knowledge throughout her time in the changing environment of aviation financial services. She has been involved in the set-up of multi-jurisdictional ABS facilities, joint venture fund platforms, warehouse debt-financing facilities, and pre-delivery payment financing transactions to single entity asset owning vehicles. Within each of the structures, Ms. McElroy was involved in the establishment and full service of the platform in Ireland.
In addition, Ms. McElroy has extensive experience as a director, having served on the board of the Irish operations for several international aviation entities. Her knowledge and experience span from corporate, legal, transaction and governance issues to management and employment matters.
Ms. McElroy is a graduate of the University of Wales and holds a Bachelor of Law Degree (LLB). She also received a Diploma in Aircraft Leasing and Financing from the Law Society of Ireland.
John Lenfestey is the Financial Controller at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Lenfestey is an associate of Chartered Accountants Ireland and has over eight years' experience in the aircraft leasing industry.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Lenfestey worked with Goshawk Aviation, where he had finance responsibilities for their managed assets portfolio. Prior to this, Mr. Lenfestey worked with Canyon CTS, where he gained a detailed understanding of ABS structures and provided management oversight in the provision of managing agent services across several transactions.
In addition, Mr. Lenfestey previously worked with Elix Aviation Capital, where he held a variety of finance roles focusing on reporting (investor, management & statutory), cashflow forecasting, budgeting and management of accounts payable function.
Mr. Lenfestey is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) and a Higher Diploma in Business Studies.
Graham Niven is a Senior Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Niven has over 27 years of experience in aircraft leasing and finance and was most recently a Senior Vice President at Avolon, where he led and was responsible for the marketing operations team in Greater China, while based in Avolon's Hong Kong office. During his two years at Avolon, Mr. Niven's team signed MOUs and lease agreements for 12x 737MAX, 5x A330NEO, 3x B787-9 and 40x A320NEO aircraft.
Prior to Avolon, Mr. Niven worked as a Vice President of Marketing for CIT Aerospace, initially based in their Singapore office covering Asia (including the Indian sub-continent), and laterally in their Dublin office, covering Middle and Eastern European countries. While at CIT, Mr. Niven was responsible for sourcing opportunities for new and used aircraft lease transactions, and for managing deal teams in connection with MOU and lease negotiations, aircraft deliveries and redeliveries, as well as bankruptcy and lease restructurings. During his CIT tenure, Mr. Niven was directly responsible for more than 65 new and used aircraft deliveries across 14 countries.
After graduating from the University of North Wales, Mr. Niven worked in the UK for Lombard North Central, an asset finance company, before moving to China, where he worked as a consultant to CIT, AJW Aviation, IBA, and Chapman Freeborn.
David Porter-Smith is a Senior Vice President of Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Porter-Smith is a former Vice President-Technical at Avolon and CIT Aerospace, where he was responsible for Technical and Asset Management of multiple aircraft across various countries within Africa, Europe and the Indian subcontinent.
During his tenure at CIT, Mr. Porter-Smith managed the technical aspects of numerous transactions, including lease negotiations, lease administration, aircraft delivery and redelivery process, contract restructuring, default management, and insurance claims. Additionally, Mr. Porter-Smith was the CIT fleet focal point for airframe structural issues and developments; working closely with Airbus, Boeing, and airlines to advise and steer resolutions.
Prior to joining CIT, Mr. Porter-Smith worked in various areas of the aviation Industry including, Production, Maintenance, Planning, Project Management, Airline Fleet Projects. Following completion of his apprenticeship at British Aerospace (BAe) he gained extensive knowledge and experience at maintenance facilities throughout Europe. He progressed to Engineering and Planning for both production and in-service Aircraft which led to various support and management roles within Avrotec, a maintenance division of BAe. From 1997 to 2001 he was employed by Air 2000 (now Thomson Airlines) where he established and constructed the airlines’ Fleet Projects department; managing a fleet of over 35 narrow-body and wide-body Airbus and Boeing Aircraft with responsibilities including acquisitions and returns, new Aircraft programs, deliveries, interiors and modifications.
Sonya Aherne is Vice President, Powerplants at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mrs. Aherne has over twenty years’ experience in the aircraft leasing and engine maintenance industry, having previously served as Powerplant and Maintenance Reserve Director at Dubai Aerospace Enterprises (DAE), where she was responsible for engine and APU technical support during aircraft transitions, lease negotiations and aircraft acquisitions. During her time with DAE, Mrs. Aherne was actively involved in DAE maintenance budget preparation and instrumental in developing the DAE customer portal.
Prior to working with DAE, Mrs. Aherne worked as an Assistant Vice President at CIT Aerospace and later Avolon, where she provided engine technical expertise for both the owned and managed fleets across various countries within the EMEA and APAC regions. Mrs. Aherne was also a TAM focal at Avolon for engine trading and responsible for negotiating MRO GTAs and engine service agreements.
Mrs. Aherne worked for twelve years in Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland (engine MRO), where she held a senior commercial role managing all aspects of engine shop visits. During her time at Lufthansa Technik Airmotive, Sonya was instrumental in setting up a leasing entity (LTAIL) to support the MRO business.
Mrs. Aherne graduated from the University of Wales with a BEng Honours Degree in Aeronautical & Mechanical Engineering.
Tim Brick is a Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Brick previously served as Vice President – Corporate Finance at Avolon, where his work focused on strategic initiatives and corporate activity, including the sale of a 30% shareholding of Avolon to ORIX in 2018, and where he managed relationships with rating agencies as Avolon achieved its primary corporate objective of obtaining investment grade ratings in 2019. Having joined Avolon in 2015, Mr. Brick initially worked on their Pricing team in roles based in Dublin and New York, contributing to the development of financial models and methodologies, as well as the hiring and development of new members of the team, which grew significantly during this time. He also worked as Avolon’s lead analyst on over $35B of contracted and executed transactions, including the 2017 $10B acquisition of CIT Group's aircraft leasing platform, as well as several large-scale OEM, placement, SLB, financing and hedging transactions.
Prior to joining Avolon, Mr. Brick worked at KPMG for four years, gaining extensive experience in the preparation of accounts and audit and controls testing for clients in the aircraft leasing industry. He also worked on a major IFRS to US GAAP conversion project and senior unsecured notes offerings and completed a secondment to KPMG’s Information Risk Management team, which focused on IT controls testing and the use of data analytics to increase the efficiency of audit procedures.
Mr. Brick holds Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees from University College Dublin. He is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and is currently a candidate for CFA certification.
Bryan Lange is a Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital with commercial responsibilities in North and South America.
Mr. Lange has over ten years of experience in aircraft leasing and trading and has been responsible for the origination of $1.2b worth of new and used aircraft deals.
At Zephyrus, Mr. Lange is responsible for driving business and leading deal teams from LOI to lease execution and managing aircraft in his region's portfolio from delivery to re-delivery, including amendments and restructurings.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Lange held positions at Cross Ocean Partners, Delta Air Lines, and Aviation Captial Group.
Mr. Lange is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he received a Master of Business Administration, and Pepperdine University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Management.
John O’Hara is a Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. O’Hara has over 16 years’ experience in the aviation industry spanning both technical and operational roles. Prior to joining Zephyrus, Mr. O’Hara was a Technical Consultant with CAE Parc Aviation, where he was responsible for conducting records technical due diligence and project management at redelivery on behalf of operators and lessors, as well as providing technical input for powerplant shop visits and acting as a subject matter expert for powerplant technical issues.
Prior to working with CAE Parc Aviation, Mr. O’Hara was a pilot for Aer Lingus (Dublin). He holds an EASA ATP Licence with over four thousand hours flying the Avro RJ-85, Airbus A320 and Airbus A330.
Mr. O’Hara also previously worked with Santos Dumont as a Technical Project Manager, and began his professional career with Rolls-Royce plc., holding roles across the civil aerospace business.
Mr. O’Hara graduated from University College Dublin with a First-Class Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently studying for a Specialist Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance from the University of Limerick.
Murugan (Muru) Palaniappan is a Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Palaniappan has over 10 years’ experience in aircraft leasing and finance and has been responsible for the origination of $1.2b worth of new and used aircraft deals.
At Zephyrus, Mr. Palaniappan is responsible for leading deal teams from LOI to lease execution and for managing aircraft in his region's portfolio from delivery to re-delivery, including amendments and restructurings.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Palaniappan worked with Goshawk, where he held a sales and marketing role based in Hong Kong, and was responsible for developing and managing aircraft lease deals for the Asian portfolio. Prior to Goshawk, Mr. Palaniappan was based in Singapore and covered the Asian market for Avolon/CIT Aerospace.
Mr. Palaniappan is a graduate of Purdue University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in aeronautics and astronautics, with a major in spacecraft design.
Doire Shiels is the Assistant Vice President of Investor Relations at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team Mr. Shiels worked in PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin. Here Mr. Shiels was responsible for providing tax and accountancy advice to a wide range of financial services clients ranging from Private Equity clients to commercial aircraft lessors.
Mr. Shiels worked as a Tax Consultant in AWAS where he was involved in several aircraft sales and leasing transactions mainly focused in the EMEA region. After taking a career break to do some travel Mr. Shiels took a role with the Dublin Airport Authority which has responsibility over Dublin and Cork airports. At the DAA, Mr. Shiels advised the business on wide ranging taxation areas that impact two of Irelands largest airports.
Mr. Shiels holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Law from University College Dublin and a master’s degree in Accountancy from Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Dublin. Mr. Shiels is an Associate of both Chartered Accountants of Ireland and the Irish Tax Institute. Mr. Shiels is currently completing a Diploma in Aviation Leasing and Finance with the Law Society of Ireland.
Sinead Theisen is the Assistant Vice President of Technical at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Ms. Theisen has over fifteen years’ experience in the aircraft leasing industry. Prior to joining Zephyrus, Ms. Theisen was the Assistant Vice President of Technical Data Management with Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) for four years where she established and lead the Technical Data Team, introducing quality assurance procedures and audits to ensure data integrity across the fleet. While at NAC, she developed and implemented the first NAC Global Portfolio Inspection Program and was the project development lead for the implementation of NAC’s digital records platform, overseeing the migration of technical records for a fleet of 500 aircraft and developing training and workflow procedures for end users .
Ms. Theisen started her career in aviation at Jetscape, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, FL, in 2004 as a Technical Operations Manager, gaining extensive experience while working closely with the CTO and senior management providing asset transition support, aircraft records management, procurement, claims reviews and mid-lease inspection management.
Sinead holds an Associate Degree in Business from Broward College and (Level 7) Certificates in Aircraft Technical Records and Continued Airworthiness Management (CAMO) from Limerick IT.
Yuxuan Zhang is an Assistant Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Prior to joining Zephyrus Ms. Zhang was a student at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University completing her Master of Science in Aviation Finance. Ms. Zhang was an intern at Zephyrus where she assisted in database development and creating visualizations.
Ms. Zhang holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA) in China. As a CSC Scholar, Ms. Zhang completed her Master of Science Degree in Aviation Finance from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), graduating with distinction. Ms. Zhang also completed the ISTAT University program and was involved with the ISTAT Foundation.
While at Embry-Riddle, Ms. Zhang participated in the Air Transport Research Society to publish the Airport Benchmarking Report for 2019. This is a global report of airports standards of excellence.
Darius Miezutavicius is the Marketing Manager at Zephyrus Aviation Capital. He is responsible for establishing and fostering airline customer relationships, supporting the deal team in sales and lease transactions, and empowering business opportunities. Darius is a seasoned professional with over 12 years of experience in commercial and business development. Prior to joining Zephyrus, Darius held commercial roles at DMG Group and Avia Solutions Group, where he led several projects, including end-of-life aircraft teardown and sales strategy development. Darius holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering and a master’s degree in telecommunications engineering and management from the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University in Lithuania, as well as a master’s degree in finance with a focus on asset management from the Cork University Business School in Ireland.
Margarita Zuravlova is an Assistant Vice President - Financial Accountant at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Ms. Zuravlova has over seven years’ experience in the aircraft leasing industry and over 18 years in the general airline industry.
At Zephyrus, Ms. Zuravlova is responsible for the preparation of monthly and quarterly reports for the directors and other stakeholders, managing month-end processes, inputting in the annual budgetary and cash forecasting process and leading the annual audit process, including the preparation of single and consolidated financial statements.
Before joining Zephyrus, Ms. Zuravlova worked at Canyon CTS as a Senior Client Manager, where she was responsible for leading a team of four in providing debt servicing, management and statutory reporting services to a busy aircraft leasing client.
In addition, Ms. Zuravlova worked at Elix Aviation Capital, where she held various roles, progressing from an Accounts Payable Executive to Financial Accountant, and prior to that, at CityJet, initially as a cabin crew, later moving into a financial role.
Ms. Zuravlova graduated from Oxford-Brooks University (London, UK) with a First-Class Honors degree in Applied Accounting. She is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
Brette Machado is the Administration and Facilities Manager at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Brette is responsible for providing administrative support to the executive team while overseeing daily office operations in the Fort Lauderdale corporate office. Brette is an experienced office manager and liaison with vendors and facilities management. Prior to joining Zephyrus, Brette worked as an executive assistant and client services specialist in the financial services industry. Brette holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida.
Michal Ruson is Manager of Accounts Payable/Receivable at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
At Zephyrus, Mr. Ruson is responsible for reconciling accounts, processing invoices, monitoring payments and cash receipts, producing internal accounting reports, tracking expenses, and managing third-party service providers.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Ruson worked for AMCK Aviation as an Accounts Payable Specialist, where he was responsible for financial reporting, preparation of VAT returns, invoice processing, managing vendor relationships and performing monthly reconciliations. In addition, Mr. Ruson previously worked with Musgrave Operating Partners Ireland (MBS Group), where he served as the Finance Operations Team Leader.
Mr. Ruson is a graduate of the Technical Secondary School of Economics (Krakow, Poland), and also holds an advanced diploma in bookkeeping and payroll from IBAT College Dublin, and a QQi Level 6 certification in people management.