Gary Crichlow
Director, Arc&Co. Marine & Aviation


Gary Crichlow obtained his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics & Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996, and his MBA from the University of Miami in 2004. His career in aviation finance started as an analyst and project manager at aviation consultancy Ascend (now part of Flightglobal), advising clients on a diverse array of projects from aircraft appraisals and market analysis to global aircraft forecasting. Gary then moved into aircraft asset management for two major aircraft financiers, bridging the critical gaps between an aircraft’s theoretical appraised value on paper; the reality of its physical condition in the hangar; and – most crucially – the financier’s appetite, discipline and expertise to take appropriate action in line with its strategic aims. Gary recently started Tirith Risk Management Ltd to provide advisory services in the aircraft finance sector, specifically around aligning financier strategy, resource and documentation to be able to respond appropriately to the information provided by technical, valuation and legal expertise.

Having sat on hundreds of aircraft finance transactions at the nexus of the various legal, technical, commercial and risk stakeholders (both external and internal), Gary is well-versed in understanding and accommodating the different perspectives and interests that each actor brings to bear, and in overcoming the obstacles to getting the deal agreed, signed off, looked after throughout the deal cycle and finally closed at the end of the term.
John Farrish
General Counsel, jetAVIVA



John joined jetAVIVA in 2016, where he combines his love of aviation and legal experience as VP of Transactions and General Counsel. In this role he quarterbacks the entire transaction process from “‘yes’ to close” for jetAVIVA clients. John and his team coordinate contracting, financing, insurance, mechanical inspections, maintenance programs, FAA, and escrow, simplifying the sale and purchase process for clients, including many first time jet owners. Approximately 300 aircraft transactions have been accomplished during John’s time at jetAVIVA, including dozens of international transactions. Internally, John daily counsels jetAVIVA’s Sales Directors and the rest of the management team on business strategy and risk management.

Prior to joining jetAVIVA, he was a partner at a national law firm where he represented clients from small business owners to Fortune 500 companies in civil litigation, with rich legal experience in the fields aviation, maritime, EMS, and hospitality.

John graduated from Purdue University in 2004 with a B.S. in Management and earned a J.D. from University of Miami (FL) in 2007. He is licensed to practice law in Georgia, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as various federal courts.

Edward Gross
Shareholder, Vedder Price



Edward Gross has 30 years of experience representing bank-affiliated and large, independent equipment financing companies in all aspects of equipment finance transactions, including documenting, structuring, negotiating, syndicating and enforcing these transactions.

Edward is considered an industry leader in business aircraft and helicopter finance. These transactions vary in structure and include tax and non-tax lease, operating lease and secured loan financing of managed and /or chartered aircraft, fleet aircraft and helicopters operated in various service capacities and engine pools, aircraft operated under fractional and “pay card” arrangements and progress payment, completion and other multi-funding structures. Clients include market-leading aircraft and helicopter financing providers, investors or operating lessors, as well as large publicly or privately held businesses, governmental entities or high-net-worth individual users. Many of these transactions involve foreign registered aircraft.

Melissa Kopit
Associate, Vedder Price



Melissa W. Kopit is an Associate at Vedder Price in the Washington, DC office and a member of the firm’s Global Transportation Finance team.
She concentrates her practice in corporate and financial transactions, with a focus on secured lending and asset finance, involving commercial and business aircraft, helicopters and general equipment assets.
Ms. Kopit counsels and represents lenders, borrowers, lessors, lessees, equity participants and other financiers in a wide range of cross-border and domestic transactions. These matters include secured debt transactions, asset-backed structured financings, back-leveraged and operating lease facilities, portfolio acquisitions, asset purchases and dispositions, securitizations and capital markets offerings. Ms. Kopit has also advised clients on aviation regulatory compliance and enforcement matters.
While in law school, Ms. Kopit served on the Article Selection Committee for The George Washington International Law Review and chaired the Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition for the Mock Trial Board. Prior to joining Vedder Price, Ms. Kopit interned for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Justice, and she represented clients in contract and employment matters as a student attorney through the Public Justice Advocacy Clinic.

David M. Hernandez
Shareholder at Vedder Price



David M. Hernandez is a Shareholder at Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Global Transportation Finance team, whose performance led Vedder Price to be named Aviation 100 Law Firm of the Year 2015. In 2016, David was ranked Band 1 in Private Aircraft (Global-wide) in Chambers High Net Worth, which recognizes the world’s leading high net worth advisers.

David has considerable experience assisting clients with aircraft transactions, complex government investigations, aircraft, air carrier and part certifications, and enforcement matters (FAA and DOT violations, export controls, hazardous materials and drug/alcohol testing). He frequently advises clients on aircraft purchase/sale agreements, leases, fractional program documents, aircraft management agreements, aircraft use policies, cross-border transactions, personal use of company aircraft and regulatory (FAA, SEC and IRS) compliance. Mr. Hernandez represents a wide variety of clients, including public and private corporations, aerospace manufacturers and suppliers, airlines, defense contractors, airports, corporate flight departments, charter operators and high-net-worth individuals. Mr. Hernandez is also an active member of the National Business Aviation Association Tax Committee and Regulatory Issues Advisory Group.

Prior to joining Vedder Price, David was a prosecutor at the FAA as well as an honors attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He also served in the Office of the Counsel to the President during the Clinton administration and was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Alan Mangels
Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Rolls-Royce



Alan Mangels was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and has always been passionate about aviation. Alan re-joined Rolls-Royce in 2018 and is responsible for the marketing, sales, communications and account management of the Rolls-Royce CorporateCare® maintenance program world-wide and the general marketing function for Business Aviation. Alan began his career at Rolls-Royce back in 2004 in its Customer Business Leadership Development Program at the U.S. headquarters near Washington, D.C.

In 2006 Alan was assigned to RR’s global headquarters in Derby, England, where, as the representative of the U.S.-based sales team, he oversaw high-value sales proposals to sell aircraft engines within the Americas. He was promoted in 2007 to Sales Director for civil aircraft engines in Latin America, responsible for airline customers, including LAN (Chile), TAM (Brazil), and Avianca (Colombia). Based once again in the U.S., he sold over $5 billion worth of engines and service contracts. His team received an award from the CEO in recognition of its record sales year.

In 2008 Alan joined aircraft manufacturer Airbus’ Miami-based Latin America sales team. Responsible for sales to all the airlines in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, he traveled frequently to meet with government officials and airline executives. He sold 100 aircraft, worth over $8 billion. Alan also coordinated the delivery of Red Cross relief supplies to the 2010 Chilean earthquake victims, utilizing a new aircraft scheduled for delivery to South America.

In 2012, Alan pursued a full-time MBA at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and also completed a second master’s degree in international studies at the Lauder Institute.

Before returning to Rolls-Royce in 2018, Alan worked for Mangels Industrial S.A. in Brazil as Commercial and Operations Director, reporting to the Board of Directors. Mangels Industrial S.A. is a publicly traded company producing manufactured steel and aluminum products. Main products include OEM aluminum alloy wheels for major car manufacturers and propane gas cylinders. Alan now serves as a non-executive board member of Mangels Industrial S.A.

Prior to working for Mangels Industrial S.A., Alan worked as a Senior Consultant for Deloitte Consulting based out of the Chicago office.

Alan also holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, is a native speaker of English and Portuguese and has gained fluency in Spanish through his extensive travel in Latin America. He enjoys surfing, scuba diving, soccer, tennis, Alpine skiing, fishing, and traveling. In 2008 he trekked to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and in 2013, climbed Mt. Cotopaxi.

Bruce Marshall
Executive Vice President and General Counsel at AIC Title Service



Bruce L. Marshall joined AIC Title Service as its Executive Vice President and General Counsel in February 2014, helping ensure that AIC’s clients and leadership are protected as they move through unprecedented FAA and industry changes. On August 30, 2017 he was a recipient of the 2017 First Chair Top General Counsel Award. The First Chair Awards is an annual selection of in-house counsel who have, thorough their hard work and innovation, made significant contributions to the legal community nationwide. Bruce was also recognized in the November 2013 issue of D CEO Magazine as one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s top corporate attorneys following his win as Outstanding General Counsel or Chief Legal Officer in the Small Legal Department category at the Association of Corporate Counsel and D CEO’s 2013 Corporate Counsel Awards. Individually a 2011 winner of the General Counsel Forum’s Magna Stella Award in the Small Legal Department category and finalist in the Major Litigation category, Bruce and his team also won Texas Lawyer’s 2013 Legal Department of the Year in the Diversity and Quality of Life category. With over 20 years’ experience in aviation legal matters, specializing in contracts, regulations, and litigation, he previously served as Senior Director and Division General Counsel of Bombardier’s Flexjet fractional aircraft ownership program where he strategically managed two cases challenging state and federal taxes that affected the entire fractional aircraft ownership industry and resulted in the refund of millions of dollars of paid taxes.

Prior to joining Flexjet, Bruce served as corporate counsel and business manager for a charter management company with both Part 135 on-demand air cargo and passenger operations, served as vice president and legal officer for a major financial institution in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in private practice, he represented banks, construction companies, transportation companies, and employee benefits funds in commercial litigation matters. Bruce graduated from Purdue University and holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the Michigan State University College of Law. He serves as a frequent speaker or panelist at aviation industry events.

Suzanne Meiners-Levy
Shareholder at Advocate Consulting Legal Group PLLC



Suzanne Meiners-Levy is a Partner and the Pro Bono Coordinator at Advocate Consulting Legal Group, PLLC (ACLG). ACLG is a boutique legal practice, employing over twenty-five lawyers, CPAs, accountants and para-professionals to exclusively serve the legal and tax planning needs of the general aviation aircraft owners and operators. Suzanne has worked on hundreds of aircraft transactions on behalf of aircraft owners and operators, successfully represented clients in local, state, and federal audits, and has been certified as an aircraft leasing expert witness in both state and federal courts. She is a member of the Bar in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, New York, and the United States Tax Court.
She is a sought-after public speaker on tax matters, presenting at a range of aviation professional events, and authors quarterly tax columns for several aviation publications. Suzanne graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University and magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from NYU School of Law. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of and Executive Committee of Juvenile Law Center and is a Program Director and Team Coach for Odyssey of the Mind.

Christopher Miller
Managing Partner, Shearwater Aero Capital

Chris Miller is Managing Partner at Shearwater Aero Capital
Shearwater is a private finance company offering asset-based financing on business jet aircraft for clients across the globe. Founded in 2014 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, Shearwater has financed aircraft in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the USA.

Prior to Shearwater, Mr. Miller oversaw Guggenheim Partners’ Business Aircraft Investment (BAI) Group. The BAI Group provided capital solutions to the business aviation industry, specifically asset-based lending on medium to large sized business aircraft.

Prior to a career in business aviation finance, Mr. Miller ran the US Division of a UK based performance management consultancy working with management teams of both small and large organizations on the execution of their strategies. Notable projects include working with a private equity group to form a venture to fly cargo into geopolitically unstable regions of the world as well as working with large defense contractors to help fulfill urgent need requests from US military forces based in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before entering the business world, Mr. Miller served in the United States Marine Corps, as an F/A-18 pilot, Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Aviation Safety Officer. He is a graduate of the U.S. Navy & Marine Corps School of Aviation Safety and currently holds a commercial pilot rating. He is an accredited “Senior Aircraft Appraiser” with the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and serves on its Investment Committee. He is also the former President of the National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA). Mr. Miller received a BA from Denison University and an MBA from Columbia University.
Wayne Starling
Senior Advisor, AOPA Aviation Finance Company LLC



Wayne Starling is an aviation industry consultant. His expertise is in Sales, Sales Management and Marketing. Previously he was a Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager for PNC Aviation Finance. He has been in the banking and finance industry for over 25 years, specializing in aviation for 19 years. Prior to PNC, his career in aviation began with Aviation Finance Group, where he was part of a very successful startup company. He later stayed on to manage the aviation finance division after it was acquired by PNC Bank. Wayne has served as a board member on the National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) and the National Aviation Finance Association (NAFA), as well as serving on the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Leadership Council.

Nel Stubbs
Vice-President & Co-owner, Conklin & de Decker


Nel joined Conklin & de Decker in 1999 and has been in the business aviation industry for more than twenty-five years. She consults with numerous companies and individuals on aviation tax related matters at both the federal and state levels and has extensive experience in the areas of tax planning, cost and financial analysis, budgeting, aircraft ownership, operating structures and tax audits. She is instrumental in developing and supporting the Conklin & de Decker seminar program and marketing efforts. Nel was formerly with the National Business Aviation Association and developed the tax program during her tenure and was very instrumental in developing the NBAAs first comprehensive aircraft cost comparison program. Nel has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Master of Aeronautical Science.

Ed Underwood
President, Avsurance Corporation


Ed Underwood, president of Avsurance Corporation, and vice president and risk manager of Avfuel Corporation, has been in the aviation insurance industry since 1980. He holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation conferred in 1984 and the Certified Insurance Counselor designation conferred in 1995. Underwood received a bachelor’s degree from Colby College.
Prior to his appointment as president of Avsurance Corporation in 1991, Underwood was vice president of the Rockwood Company in Chicago, Illinois.
Avsurance Corporation is a specialty Aviation Insurance Broker and a wholly owned subsidiary of Avfuel Corporation. Avsurance is licensed in all 50 states and places coverage for more than 300 aviation accounts throughout the world. The agency practice includes Part 121 cargo operators, Part 135 fleets, fixed based operators, maintenance facilities, component part manufacturers and more than 200 turbine Part 91 aircraft. Specializing in US registered foreign-owned aircraft.
Ford von Weise
Global Head of Aircraft Finance, Citi Private Bank


Mr. von Weise is currently a Director and Global Head of the Aircraft Finance Group at Citi Private Bank. The group provides private aircraft financing solutions to individual ultra high net worth clients and their companies throughout the world. Mr. von Weise’s responsibilities and roles while at Citi have included loan origination, product program management, reporting and workouts. The group focuses on transactions typically in the range of $10 to $50 million.

Mr. von Weise has over fourteen years of business aviation experience most recently serving as Vice President of Business Aviation Finance for Merrill Lynch Capital. Prior to Merrill Lynch, he worked for GMAC Commercial Finance in the same capacity. His expertise covers a wide range of corporate and personal aircraft both domestically and internationally. Prior to joining GMAC, Mr. von Weise was Vice President of Capital Transactions at Lend Lease Real Estate investments, where he was responsible for the recapitalization and workout of large multi-family properties throughout the U.S.

Mr. von Weise is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Aircraft Finance Association and was appointed by the Boards of Selectmen from the Massachusetts towns of Concord, Lincoln, Bedford and Lexington as a commission member of the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission. He is also a past board member of the Massachusetts Business Aviation Association and a local volunteer representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also an instrument rated pilot, aircraft owner, and a pilot for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Mr. von Weise has also appeared on the Discovery Channel as an aviation expert in the Celebrity Crash Files, J.F.K., Jr, documentary series. He is also currently a member of the Board of Advisors for Brown Aviation Lease.

Mr. von Weise holds an undergraduate degree, cum laude, in Environmental Studies and History from the University of Vermont.

Joseph T. Zulueta, ASA,
Managing Partner, Aeronautical Systems Inc.



Joseph T. Zulueta, ASA, Managing Partner of Aeronautical Systems Inc., has directed aviation portfolios, executed aircraft appraisals, forecasted future values and consulted on airplane equipment selection studies since the early 1990s.

Joseph also has been intimately involved in aviation financial analyses, fleet evaluations, contract maintenance and inspection “return” provisions, physical aircraft inspections and associated historical record auditing, equipment returns and remarketing strategies.

Over the course of his aviation career, he has provided commercial jet and business aircraft market research along with value adjustment factors, current and future value trend analyses. He is noted as well for his skill in overhauling periodicity analyses, maintenance cost estimating and technical report writing in support of the aircraft appraisal process.