With over 100 years of collective experience in the aviation sector, the Zephyrus management team has established deep, long-standing relationships with key decision makers throughout the aviation industry. Through these relationships, Zephyrus has direct access across the aviation value chain to OEMs, lessors, airlines, service providers, and part-out companies. The Zephyrus management team includes members of the executive team of a former $10+ billion aircraft lessor.
In aggregate, over the past decade, the Zephyrus management team has:
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 in sociology from Augustana University and is conversational in Spanish, having studied in Panama, Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua.
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.
David Gleeson is the Director of Technical & Asset Management 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.
Mikhail Baskov is a Senior Vice President of Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Mr. Baskov is a former Vice President – Marketing at CIT Aerospace, then at Avolon, where he was responsible for sourcing opportunities for new & used aircraft lease transactions in Russia/CIS and North Africa. While at CIT he was leading negotiation of over 20 aircraft lease and sales contracts while also administering aircraft leases with 20 airlines in 10 countries. Furthermore, he managed the deal teams that oversaw lease and MOU negotiations, aircraft deliveries and redeliveries, bankruptcies and lease restructuring.
Prior to joining CIT in 2009, Mr. Baskov headed Business Planning Department at KD Avia airline in Russia from 2005. He was part of the successful start and growth of this first true hub-&-spoke operating model in the country. As part of his job at the airline he was negotiating aircraft lease and acquisition contracts with several leasing companies.
From 1998 to 2005 Mr. Baskov was employed by The Boeing Company in their Moscow office as Regional Director Marketing working as part of Boeing global Sales team to establish Boeing’s solid presence at the market of the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Baskov has graduated with the Russian equivalent of magna cum laude from Bauman Moscow State Technical University with Engineer degree in spacecraft design. He later received Professional Diploma in Airline Finance, with honors from University in Limerick in Ireland. His native tongue is Russian, and he is fluent in English. In his spare time he pursues a career in aerial video/photography and is a competitive skydiver.
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.
Pablo Aguirre is a Vice President at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Aguirre worked at Omni Air International for 10 years and served the roles Director of Marketing & Strategic Planning, Director of Business Development, Manager of Commercial Sales and Marketing, and Financial Analyst. His responsibilities included the oversight of the functional areas of marketing, business development, data science, and fleet planning. His role at Omni allowed him to be involved in all facets of the airline industry.
Mr. Aguirre has traveled and developed business opportunities in over 70 countries. Through the use of data science, Mr. Aguirre has been able to assist airlines across the world develop new international routes, acquire aircraft, and manage growth. In addition to this, Mr. Aguirre was responsible for marketing at Omni, which includes brand management and media. Prior to Omni, Mr. Aguirre was in the banking and finance world working for institutions such as Bank of Oklahoma and Spirit Bank.
Mr. Aguirre is a Veteran of the United States Air Force serving 6 years in the 138th Fighter Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard as a Munitions Journeymen. Mr. Aguirre served two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom receiving the Air Force Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, and Iraqi Campaign Medal.
Mr. Aguirre has been certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in revenue management, network development and fleet planning. Mr. Aguirre completed the Leadership Tulsa flagship course and remains involved in the community. Mr. Aguirre dedicates his time to the community serving on various boards. Mr. Aguirre currently is a Commissioner on the City of Broken Arrow Planning Commission. He has served on the Judicial Nominating Committee and Board of Adjustments. Mr. Aguirre is also a past Board Chair of the American Diabetes Association of Oklahoma, and a past Vice Chair of the Tulsa Global Alliance.
Mr. Aguirre holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business. In addition to this, Mr. Aguirre has Associate of Science degrees in International Business and Aviation Management.
Doire Shiels is a Finance Manager 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.
Nishant Chaudhary is a Technical Operations Analyst at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Chaudhary worked as a Business Analyst for Southwest Airlines supporting the cargo business with process transformation, including operations reporting, revenue management, capacity management, and routing/pricing support.
In addition, Mr. Chaudhary held internships at Frontier Airlines (financial planning and analysis) and VAS Aero Services (business intelligence analysis), as well as an apprenticeship with Air India's Maintenance and Engineering Division in Mumbai.
Mr. Chaudhary holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Aviation Finance from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). He is also a graduate of the ISTAT University program and received a diploma in aircraft maintenance engineering from Bombay Flying Club.
While at ERAU, Mr. Chaudhary served as Director of Corporate Partner and Donor Relations for Dreams Soar, a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals around the world.
Leandro Montilla is the Office Manager at Zephyrus Aviation Capital.
Prior to joining the Zephyrus team, Mr. Montilla worked as an Account Manager & Sales Coordinator at LEKI Aviation, where he was responsible for maintaining and expanding the aircraft component sales market by originating, negotiating and executing transactions, implementing and executing marketing campaigns for market penetration, and providing full exposure of the product lines.
Prior to LEKI, Mr. Montilla worked as an Administrative Assistant & Travel Coordinator for AerCap Aviation, where he provided high level administrative support to the Vice Presidents of Marketing, Legal, and Technical, as well as the Global Director of Human Resources and Travel Manager. He was also responsible for ensuring employee compliance with company policies and procedures, as well as other aspects related to human resources and travel management. In addition, Mr. Montilla worked as an Administrative and Program Coordinator at Miami Dade College, where he led the creation and implementation of internal policies and procedures, training and seminars for the overall improvement of operations.
Mr. Montilla holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Miami Dade College, and is expected to receive his Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Sciences with a focus in Management from the Aviation Institute of Broward College in December 2019. He also holds a Technical Certificate in Aviation Safety from the Institute of Aeronautical Studies IDEA.
Mr. Montilla is an Associate Member of the Society for Human Resources Manager (SHRM), Human Resources Association of Broward County (HRABC), and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). He is fluent in both English and Spanish and also speaks conversational Italian and French.