The Extra Mile - July 2016

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The latest edition of Meridian's newsletter - The Extra Mile, July 2016.

thextramile >>>

july 2016

i n this iss u e

>>> Letter from

the CEO 1

>>> Meridian Receives

Top Honors in

Annual FBO

Surveys 1

>>> A Tribute to

J. Kenneth

Forester 2

>>> Poised

for Growth 3

>>> Meridian

Celebrates 5

>>> Meridian

Exhibits 8

>>> Plane Folk 9

>>> Meridian Holds


Training Class 9

>>> Meridian

Sponsors West

Coast FlightSafety

Golf Tournament 10

>>> Meridian

Milestones 10

>>> The Construction


at Meridian

Hayward 11

>>> Mile Markers 12

Dear Customers, Meridian Family, and Friends,

This issue of The Extra Mile is dedicated to my father, Ken Sr., and his legacy of dedication, hard work,

and love of flying. He loved airplane people and all things related to flying and fixing airplanes.

Dad’s life view was formed by the Depression and World War II. His values were evident in his

faith, loyalty, compassion, and love of country.

He overcame the adversities of the Depression and the wartime demands made on his generation.

He was a pioneer as business aviation transitioned from piston aircraft with limited range to large cabin jets

with the ability to fly non-stop halfway around the world.

He was most comfortable sitting in the parts room here at Teterboro, smoking

his pipe, discussing the intricacies of the Navion hydraulic system. I will remember him as

a humble person who made a difference in many lives, especially in mine.

Thank you all for your support.

Ken Forester

Meridian Receives Top

Honors in Annual FBO


Meridian Teterboro is pleased to have again

been voted the top-ranked FBO at Teterboro

Airport (TEB) in the Aviation International News

(AIN) Annual FBO Survey, as well as the #1 FBO in

the New York Metro Area. Meridian also received

the #1 Teterboro FBO ranking from, as

well as the #1 FBO in the Northeast ranking.

This year’s annual FBO Special Report

marked a new process by which AIN collects and

reports customer feedback from around the world.

Its new mobile-friendly website allows readers to

view, comment on and evaluate FBOs at any time

during the year. On the site, all the FBO comments

and evaluations that AIN has collected over the

past four years are compiled, so the average scores

reflect a cumulative average and not a single year

in isolation.

For the four year period covering 2013-

2016, Meridian ranks in the top 10% of FBOs in the

Americas. There are only eight other FBOs that

achieved that distinction. AIN also asked survey

respondents to identify specific FBO employees or

teams who routinely go above and beyond when it

comes to customer service. Meridian’s Betsy Wines

was on the list of the 21 individuals who were

continued on page 4

Top Left: Ken Sr. & Ken Jr. together

at Meridian (2012)

Top Right: Ken Sr. flying a Navion over

New York City (c.1947)

Far Left: Mr. Forester is inducted into the

New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame (2008)

Left: J. Kenneth Forester during his

service in the U.S. Army Air Force (c.1944)



J. Kenneth Forester

The Meridian family was deeply saddened in early

June by the loss of our founder, J. Kenneth

Forester. Mr. Forester, or Ken Sr. as he was known

among his Meridian colleagues to distinguish him

from his son of the same name, passed away on

June 1 at the age of 94.

Mr. Forester was a true aviation pioneer.

His illustrious career began in 1941, when he joined

the U.S. Army Air Corps. The next year, at the age of

21, he earned his private pilot’s license. By 1943, his

military training led him to become a test pilot for

the U.S. Army Air Force, the predecessor to today’s

U.S. Air Force. Flying from 1943-1946, his log book is

filled with flights in virtually all of the WWII fighter,

transport, and bomber aircraft, as well as the first

generation of jet fighters, the P-59 and the P-80.

Forester had attained a mechanic’s license

while serving in the military. Following his discharge

at the close of the war, he moved east to Teterboro

Airport, where he formed Mallard Air Service with

Bob Hewitt, a decorated B-17 pilot. Mallard was a

distributor for the Republic Seabee and the North

American Navion, and was a maintenance base and

charter operator. The company eventually occupied

the largest hangar at Teterboro, sold fuel, new and used aircraft, and

converted C-47 military surplus aircraft into executive transports.

In 1951, Forester left Mallard to manage a wire machinery plant in

Paterson, and work part time selling and maintaining Navions at Teterboro.

He once flew a Navion under the George Washington Bridge in bad weather.

In 1958, he was offered a location on the west side of Teterboro and started

a new business that he called General Aviation Company. His son, Ken, a

graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and former F-102 pilot, took over full

time management of the company in 1974. By 1980, more than 130 aircraft

were based at General Aviation and the FAA-approved flight school had a

fleet of 33 aircraft. In 1983, a new charter company was formed using piston


A new hangar and terminal were built in 1984 and things began

to move quickly. The company began selling jet fuel in 1985 and joined the

Million Air FBO franchise network the next summer. In 1989, the charter

company began operating a Citation SII and entered the jet charter business.

The jet maintenance division was added to the charter company in 1995 and

it earned an FAA repair station license in 1996. By the end of 1997, the charter

company was in the large cabin business. In 2006, the company ended its

20-year affiliation with Million Air, returning to being independently owned

and operated and rebranded itself under its current name of Meridian.

In 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration presented Mr. Forester

with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award. Named after Charles Taylor,

a mechanic for the Wright Brothers airplane, the award recognizes aviation

maintenance personnel who have at least 50 years of experience in the

industry. In 2008, he was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame

during the organization’s 35th annual induction dinner.

J. Kenneth Forester was born in Bowman, North Dakota. He grew up

in Alhambra, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He had a loving marriage

of 67 years to the late Annabelle H. (nee Hewitt). He was the beloved father

of Ken and his wife Susan, Gary and his wife Lynne, Lynn and her husband

Evelyn, David and his wife Mary, and grandfather to thirteen grandchildren

and nine great-grandchildren. While he is greatly missed by family, friends,

and colleagues, he is remembered fondly for his many personal and professional

achievements, as well as his kindness and generosity.

Poised for Growth

Westward Expansion

We are pleased to share an update on the

construction of the FBO and hangar facility at

Meridian’s new facility at Hayward Executive Airport

(HWD) in Hayward, CA.

Phase I is well underway and physical

structures of both the future FBO and the hangar

are now standing. Meridian expects the 6,300

square foot FBO and 30,000 square foot hangar

to be completed by late summer. A Grand Opening

Celebration is being planned to coincide with

completion of the initial construction. We are

developing some exciting plans around the Grand

Opening, which we will be sharing with our

customers and colleagues soon.

In addition to the two buildings, the Hayward

facility offers 3.5 acres of ramp space. The hangar

will be able to accommodate any corporate aircraft

up to and including a Global Express and Gulfstream

G650. Subsequent phases will add another 12,000

square feet of terminal space, provide an additional

80,000 square feet of hangar space and increase

the ramp size by an additional seven acres. We look

forward to welcoming many of you to our new West

Coast location this fall!

As part of our continued westward expansion,

Meridian has opened a Sales Office at the Van

Nuys Airport (VNY). MaKayla Hambek, who joined

the team in November 2015 as an Aviation Sales

Executive, is based at VNY and has been working

with both the Aircraft Charter and FBO groups. VNY

is one of the largest general aviation airports in the

country and it gives MaKayla an opportunity to see

many clients, as well as potential customers, who

frequent TEB, VNY, and airports in the Bay Area.

“As we expand Hayward, our presence here

is vital so we can continually market our growth and

progress to those who travel to Northern California,

specifically the Bay Area, and may not know about

HWD or our facility there,” said Hambek. “Being

based at VNY is part of a grass roots effort to keep

Meridian Hayward talked about throughout the state

and top-of-mind for private aviation travelers.

“Since joining Meridian, I have met with

several flight departments, management companies

and charter brokers in Southern California to keep

them updated on our building progress, as well as

our fleet expansions,” continued Hambek. “The

response has been very supportive and filled with

excitement. Customers who currently frequent our

continued on page 4

Top: The terminal of Meridian

Hayward under construction.

Above: Meridian Air Charter’s first

Falcon 7X (N221HJ) on the Teterboro


Left Top: A cabin view of our San

Jose-based Falcon 2000 (N411YF).

Left Middle: The comfortable

divan and club seats of our latest

Gulfstream GIV-SP (N999AA).

Left Bottom: Dining onboard our

Falcon 7X (N221HJ) is always a

luxurious experience.


Left: The Meridian

Teterboro staff is honored

by the results of the

2016 FBO surveys and we

thank our customers for

their support!

Meridian Recieves Top Honors

continued from page 1

repeatedly recognized in this year’s survey response.

Meridian also fared well in the Professional

Pilot (ProPilot) PRASE survey, Betsy Wines and

Victor Seda were both rated in the top five among

Best CSRs. They have both been rated in the Top

5 Best CSR category for the past 10 years. We are

extremely proud of their recognition, which exemplifies

the standards of the entire Meridian team.

The PRASE survey also ranked Meridian as

the overall #14 Best U.S. FBO, one spot higher than

last year. We are also pleased to have moved up a

spot on the Best Independent FBO list, achieving the

#8 position. The PRASE survey is in its 43rd year.

Over 1,900 responses were submitted this year.’s survey, known as the Pilots’

Choice Awards, also ranked the top 50 Best FBOs in

the U.S. and Meridian Teterboro is proud to have been voted #3. According

to, a record number of votes were cast this year by registered

users. also announced Star Award winners, which are determined

by the number of votes received, the amount of competition on the

field and airport arrival data. Meridian was ranked #10. All three of these

surveys are well-respected and we are honored to be so highly recognized

by our customers.

“Our entire FBO team is responsible for the high marks we consistently

receive,” said Steve Chandoha, Meridian Teterboro President. “Betsy

and Victor are representative of our commitment to outstanding service

and attention to detail that we show customers every day. I am proud of

them both, as well as the entire staff of Meridian Teterboro.”

“We are honored to be named the top FBO at TEB, as well as

being recognized as one of the leading FBOs nationwide,” added Ken

Forester, Meridian CEO. “We consider it a privilege to be recognized for our

commitment to customer service and satisfaction in these three long-running,

respected industry surveys. I am proud of our entire team that works

to exceed expectations every day.”


Poised for Growth continued from page 3

Teterboro facility are excited to see our growth and

are looking forward to a First Class FBO like Meridian

coming to the Bay area.

Meridian began its western expansion in

September 2012, with the opening of a charter sales

office at the San Jose International Airport (SJC)

in San Jose, CA. A second sales office, located at

the Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa,

CA, opened in November of that year. In early 2013,

Meridian added its first West Coast-based aircraft

available for charter at Hayward. In March of this

year, two Falcon 2000 aircraft, both based in San

Jose, were added to the fleet.

Teterboro Update

Progress continues on the Meridian North project,

which will replace the existing Hangar 12. The Port

Authority of NY/NJ has reviewed the project plan,

and Meridian expects to have received conditional

approval by the time this newsletter is distributed.

The first phase of the project will be the demolition

of the existing hangar.

“After the demolition is complete, we

anticipate breaking ground for the new hangar

sometime this summer,” said Steve Chandoha,

President of Meridian Teterboro.

The new 40,000 square foot hangar will have a two-story support

building and will effectively double the size of the existing facility. Meridian

expects the project to be completed in 2017.

Managed Fleet Continues to Grow

Since the beginning of 2016, four aircraft have been added to our managed fleet.

Two of the aircraft are based in Teterboro, while the other two are based in San

Jose, CA. The addition of two large cabin Falcon 2000s enhances Meridian’s

growing West Coast presence. Both aircraft (N411YF and N98RP) were completely

refurbished in 2014, feature the latest technology, including complimentary

domestic Wifi, and seat up to ten passengers.

The Falcon 7X and a Gulfstream GIV-SP that recently joined our Teterborobased

fleet both offer the capacity to sleep up to seven passengers, making them

perfect for long haul trips. The ultra-long range Falcon 7X can travel up to 6,847

statute miles with a maximum speed of 592 mph. It was the first business jet to

incorporate fly-by-wire technology, a system that replaces conventional manual

flight controls with an electronic interface. This is the first 7X to join Meridian’s

managed fleet. Equipped with all the latest amenities and communication

technologies, including Wifi, the 7X has been popular with customers that

travel internationally or fly longer domestic trips.

The long range GIV-SP underwent a complete interior upgrade and

refurbishment in 2009. With seating for up to 13 passengers, as well as berthing

capabilities, the GIV-SP is fully-equipped with all of the features and amenities

expected from today’s discerning business traveler. The aircraft has been

available for charter since the end of March.

There are currently 23 aircraft in Meridian’s charter fleet, ranging from

large cabin Gulfstreams, Falcons, Global and Challenger aircraft to a variety of

midsize and super midsize models.

Meridian Celebrates


NBAA 2016 Leadership Conference

Meridian is pleased to share news of an honor

received by one of our team. Matthew Lipka,

a Meridian Air Charter Flight Coordinator, was

selected by the National Business Aviation

Association (NBAA) as a recipient of its 2016

Matthew Lipka

Leadership Conference

Scholarship. NBAA’s

Business Aviation Management

Committee (BAMC)

selected only two individuals

among a large pool of

applicants to receive this

prestigious honor. The

scholarship covered the

recipient’s expenses (up

to $2,000) for attending

the Conference.

Matt joined Meridian in

2012. His career goals include becoming a leader

and advocate of business aviation, which he is

helping to accomplish by serving as a volunteer

on NBAA’s Domestic Operations Committee. Matt

has a commercial multi-engine pilot’s license with

a type rating in a Bombardier Challenger 300.

Prior to joining Meridian, he worked as a fuel

specialist with Everest Fuel Management. He is a

graduate of Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH.

The Leadership Conference, which was

held February 22-24, 2016 in San Antonio, TX, is

designed for current and future leaders in the

business aviation industry, ranging from aircraft

operators to industry vendors who offer their

aviation products and services. The event is

sponsored by donations from the BAMC members,

and representatives from member companies

were in attendance at the event to recognize this

year’s recipients. The Leadership Conference is

now in its twelfth year.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen

to attend the 2016 Leadership Conference,” Matt

told us. “It was a great opportunity to heighten

my skills, not just for my current role as a flight

coordinator, but for any future endeavors in a

management role at Meridian. To meet and speak

with current leaders in their respective fields, and

to come back here and incorporate methods and

ideas for business success into my work was a

very valuable experience, which I greatly appreciate.”

Meridian Air Charter Receives

NetJets Award

Meridian Air Charter was named the top

subcontract provider for NetJets in the

Northeast region for the fourth quarter of 2015.

This marked the second quarter in a row that

Meridian earned this prestigious award.

NetJets specializes in fractional ownership

of business jets. While the company operates

its own fleet of aircraft, it occasionally requires

additional lift from third party operators. NetJets,

like Meridian, only selects available aircraft from

a trusted network of business jet operators with a

Above: Meridian Air Charter is honored to be named the top subcontract provider

for NetJets in the Northeast region for the fourth quarter of 2015.

proven safety record. Meridian Air Charter has worked diligently to meet the rigorous

requirements of the industry’s highest standards, and is ARGUS Platinum

and Wyvern Wingman rated, as well as IS-BAO Stage 2 approved.

“To be recognized in both the third and fourth quarters of 2015 is

simply outstanding. We know firsthand the high level of teamwork and commitment

required to make the process seamless for our clients and those of our

partner,” said Chris Battaglia, Director of Charter Sales for Meridian Air Charter.

“I am very proud of our Sales and Operations teams, and we at Meridian Air

Charter are truly honored to receive another award from such a reputable

company as NetJets.”

20th Anniversary Celebration

In February, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Meridian Jet Center, the

company’s aircraft maintenance operation. The Federal Aviation Administration

(FAA) originally issued Meridian’s repair station certificate on February 21, 1996.

This designation allowed the company to repair and inspect various types of

business aircraft. In 1996, the company was known as Million Air Maintenance

Teterboro because, at the time, it was part of the Million Air franchise. In 2006,

after leaving the franchise, the company was renamed Meridian Jet Center.

John Langschultz, Vice President of Meridian Jet Center, reflected on

the milestone, “We have certainly come a long way in 20 years,” said Langschultz.

“When I first started with the company, we had about three employees and

continued on page 6

Below: Meridian Jet Center celebrates its 20th anniversary, which received its repair

station certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration on February 21, 1996.


20th Anniversary continued from page 5

one hangar with only 10,000 square feet of working

space. Today we have 21 employees, two hangars

with up to 60,000 square feet of space, and plans in

the works to build a larger hangar. Back then, most

of our business was generated from our own fleet

of aircraft. Today, most of our business comes from

transient customers passing through Teterboro and

our managed fleet now has a dedicated charter

maintenance team.”

As the Jet Center grew, so did its ability to

provide additional services. There is a well-stocked

parts department and also a detailing department

on-site. When the company first started, these types

of services were outsourced.

Langschultz expects the growth and

changes will continue. “Later this year, Meridian

Hayward at Hayward Executive Airport in Northern

California will open,” added Langschultz. “As we

continue to add aircraft to our West Coast fleet, our

new FBO and maintenance operation will continue

to expand with it. We have seen steady growth over

the past 20 years, and that trend will continue both

here and by serving customers at our new location

in Hayward.”

Certification (Licensing) Exams. The initial course exceeds FAA regulations

by providing 24 hours over the required 200 hours of instruction.

Cisco began his aviation career in 2005, working in the Line Service

department at Meridian Teterboro. After 10 years of experience and proving

himself on the ramp, he expressed interest in broadening his skills to other

areas of aviation, particularly flight operations. In October 2015, a Flight

Coordinator position became available in the Charter group, and this was the

opportunity that he had been waiting for. After interviewing for the position,

he was offered the job. He eventually transitioned over to Charter and his

current role as an Aircraft Dispatcher.

Congratulations Cisco!

Anthony Lanzone

Francisco Cabrera

People in the News

Francisco Cabrera (a.k.a. ‘Cisco’) recently earned

his FAA Aircraft Dispatcher License. The Aircraft

Dispatcher is responsible for authorizing and

overseeing the operation of a flight from before

takeoff to after landing. Often referred to as “The

Pilot on the Ground”, the Dispatcher prepares flight

plans, taking into account important factors such as

weather conditions, fuel requirements and potential

hazards, while complying with limitations of the

aircraft and FAA regulations, to ensure the safe

completion of each flight.

The certification means that he can now

assume full scheduling and dispatch responsibilities

in the Flight Operations department at Meridian Air

Charter. He completed the program on April 4, 2016,

at the FlightSafety International facility located at

LaGuardia Airport. The program at FlightSafety is

an FAA-approved course, which fully prepares

participants for the FAA Aircraft Dispatcher

We are pleased to share news of Anthony Lanzone’s promotion

from Detailing Supervisor to Detail Manager. Anthony began his career at

the company as a part-time detailer in 2004, when Meridian Jet Center was

known as Million Air Maintenance. At the time, there were only two detailers in

the department. He was eventually hired as a full-time employee, and by 2007,

he was promoted to Detailing Supervisor. Today, the Detailing department is

part of Meridian Jet Center and has a full time staff of eight. For a brief period

in 2005, the Detailing department became part of Meridian Air Charter, but it

was decided that in order to better service transient aircraft, the department

should be structured with aircraft maintenance.

Anthony’s responsibilities involve all aspects of detailing, including

both interior and exterior of the aircraft. He and his team work closely with

flight crews, flight operations, and maintenance personnel on all aircraft

detailing matters.

Congratulations Anthony!

Meridian’s Director of Maintenance, Per Karlsson, was featured in a

recent issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News. He spoke with writer Terry

Spruce about the services Meridian offers, why the facility draws a variety of

managed and transient customers, and the company’s future plans. Here are a

few excerpts from the interview:

Established in 1946 and opened at Teterboro in 1958, Meridian has been

one of the pioneers of private aviation in the New York market. The current

maintenance operation at Teterboro is an FAA Part 145 certified repair station

and is also certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Honeywell

has deemed Meridian an authorized TFE731 and -36 Series APU Service

Center and Meridian Jet Center, as it is known, is now a Northeast Honeywell

Avionics and Mechanical Parts Depot. Over the years the company has expanded

its capabilities to include aircraft charter, management and detailing,

and boasts exceptional FBO services and amenities.


Spruce: “What makes Meridian a good to place for

owners to bring their aircraft for maintenance?”

Karlsson: “We have a good reputation and we do

a great job for our customers. We also have great

people (who have also been here a long time) with

lots of experience and training in many airframes

and powerplants.”

Left: The Yerby family

boards a Challenger 300

at Meridian Teterboro,

marking the 50,000th

flight by Corporate Angel


Spruce: “Do you maintain all of your managed fleet

and do you have additional capacity for third party


Karlsson: “Yes we maintain our managed fleet inhouse

except for the really big events that require

paint and major interior overhauls. And yes we do

a lot of outside maintenance on outside customers’

aircraft. Since Atlantic Aviation and Signature Flight

Support do not provide maintenance services, and

since Jet Aviation only works on Gulfstream aircraft,

we keep very busy with outside customers.”

Spruce: “How important is the Honeywell deal for


Karlsson: “Being a line service center on TFE731

and 36100/150 APU has been very useful for us

when we maintain our fleet and also for outside

customers. We can perform routine maintenance

on these powerplants and troubleshooting and get

the aircraft up and running, ready for dispatch very

quickly. “We also maintain the SPEX inventory so

we have spares available in-house, making it even

faster to get the aircraft repaired and ready in a

timely manner.”

Spruce: “With the new facility in Hayward, California

being completed by the end of the year, will that

expand your responsibilities?”

Karlsson: “It will have an impact on everybody’s

responsibilities, but I’m sure we’ll handle that with a

smile like we always do and make Hayward another

place where people will go and expect the same

great service we’re providing at Teterboro.”

Per Karlsson

50,000th Corporate Angel Network Flight

Departs from Meridian

Meridian Teterboro was extremely honored to be part of an historical

milestone event that took place on April 14, when Corporate Angel

Network (CAN) celebrated its 50,000th flight. The empty leg flight, which

departed from Meridian Teterboro, was arranged for toddler Baron Yerby and

his parents Jonathan and Casey. Baron had been in New York City receiving

cancer treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, and the family was

traveling back to their home in Georgia.

The empty seat on the Challenger 300 was donated by a longtime

Meridian customer. In addition to the Meridian team, the event also attracted

representatives from CAN, the National Business Aviation Association

(NBAA) and Aviation International News (AIN). A small crew of photographers

and videographers were also on-hand to capture the moment.

Peter Fleiss, CAN’s Executive Director Emeritus, stated, “We at

Corporate Angel Network are very proud to be celebrating the 50,000th

flight today. It demonstrates the longevity and value of our mission, and how

our organization has grown over the years to positively impact so many

people who are facing the difficult challenges of battling cancer. This

milestone is also a celebration of our business aviation partners whose

participation has made these flights possible.”

Ken Forester, Meridian CEO, was honored that his company played

a role in this event. “The good work that Corporate Angel Network does

exemplifies how business aviation gives back to the community. We are very

proud of our customers who support this wonderful organization, and I am

both excited and humbled that our company was able to celebrate this

amazing milestone with our friends at CAN.”

Corporate Angel Network, founded in 1981, arranges free

transportation for cancer patients using seats donated on corporate aircraft.

With the participation of more than 500 participating corporations, a staff

of six and 30 volunteers, CAN averages 225 patient flights each month to

cancer treatment centers. For more information on Corporate Angel Network,

go to


Left: The Meridian Team

at the 2016 Schedulers &

Dispatchers Conference

in Tampa, FL.

Meridian Exhibits


2016 has been a busy year so far with Meridian participating

in several key events. In January, we proudly exhibited at the 2016

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Schedulers & Dispatchers

Conference (SDC2016). This year’s conference was held in Tampa,

Florida, at the Tampa Convention Center from Tuesday, January 19

through Friday, January 22. The program included dozens of innovative

education sessions, various networking events and ample opportunities

to give back to the local community. A record 2,800-plus attendees and

517 exhibitors took part in the event. Meridian was well-represented with

members of our Charter Operations, Charter Sales, Aircraft Management,

FBO Fuel Sales and Marketing teams at the show.

“We strive to enhance the attendee and exhibitor experience

each year and, as a result, more and more people understand this is the

place to be,” said Mike Nichols, NBAA’s Vice President of Operational

Excellence and Professional Development. “Schedulers and dispatchers

are the buyers and they are empowered to come here and make choices,

while gaining valuable skills and knowledge through robust education


SDC2016 included many new features, including an increased

focus on humanitarian efforts in support of the host city by holding a

food packing event for Feeding America Tampa Bay. About 200 conference

attendees volunteered their time to pack 800 bags of food so

needy children and their families would have food for the weekend. Additionally,

this was the sixth year the conference collected gently used

business clothes for local charities. This year, a total of 4,379 garments

were collected, breaking last year’s record of 1,500 items.

Many scholarships were also awarded at SDC2016, with

thousands of dollars in monetary and training scholarships presented

to dozens of individuals, including Meridian’s own Matt Lipka.

Next year’s conference (SDC2017) is scheduled for February 7

through 10 in Fort Worth, Texas, and we look forward to again being on


Later in January, Meridian sent a team of eight to West Palm

Beach International Airport (PBI) to represent the company at the year’s

first NBAA Regional Forum. Although the weather was a bit challenging

with heavy rains throughout the South Florida region, the business aviation

community was undaunted, and more than 2,200 people turned out

for the January 28 event. With 120 exhibitors and 25 aircraft on static

display, the event set an attendance record for NBAA’s South Florida


Florida State Senator Maria Sachs, who represents

the Palm Beach area, welcomed attendees to her state, noting

it’s first in the country for aircraft manufacturing, and officials

plan to work hard to stay number one through tax and other


NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen agreed, saying,

“Florida is a great place for business aviation. The industry

has a bright future in this country and around the world.” He

did acknowledge that business aviation is facing an attack

from those in Congress looking to create a privatized ATC

system, funded by user fees, as part of the debate underway

in Washington over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Such proposals, Bolen noted, could severely limit

business aircraft operators’ access to airports and airspace.

Bolen urged attendees to contact lawmakers using

NBAA’s online Contact Congress tool, and make their voices

heard on the issue. “We’ve got to make our voice heard, let’s

do that today,” he said. “Our concern is this can move forward

so fast, it could be over before you see the details.”

Meridian, as well as other exhibitors, views the regional

forums as important events for seeing current customers,

as well as meeting new ones.

The importance of NBAA regional forums also extends

to the future of the industry, with students from nearby

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and elsewhere coming

to talk with attendees and exhibitors and learn what business

aviation may offer them in terms of career options.

Two more NBAA regionals were scheduled this year,

including the forum in Van Nuys, CA held on June 9, and the

forum in White Plains, NY to be held on September 15. Meridian

exhibited at the Van Nuys regional and plans to be at the show

in White Plains as well. We hope to see you there!

Meridian also exhibited at the annual European

Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva,

Switzerland, May 24-26. This three-day event was a great

experience for Meridian, with seven of our team in attendance.

As in previous years, EBACE was held at the Palexpo

Convention Center. The convention center is conveniently

located at Geneva Airport (GVA), which uniquely offers

attendees the ability to visit exhibitor booths and the static

display in one location.

plane folk

Nora Jacob

Customer Service


Nora Jacob joined Meridian five years ago as a

Customer Service Representative (CSR). She says,

“Meridian has done for me what previous companies

and positions didn’t. We are a family, and service is just what we do.”

Nora worked for another FBO prior to joining Meridian. She also had

the opportunity to spend some time last fall working on the charter side of Meridian.

In that position, she had to interface with other FBOs on a regular basis.

Having those experiences definitely made an impression on Nora. “I now understand

why we are rated so highly in the various FBO surveys. Our philosophy is

we always go above and beyond, and not everyone else does that.”

Nora says she is truly a people person, which is one of the reasons she

asked to transfer back to Customer Service. “The move to charter was a good

learning experience for me, but I missed personally interfacing with our customers.

I really enjoy dealing with everyone we serve, from the pilots to the passengers.”

Nora says that customer service is something that comes naturally

to her, and while you can’t really train for it, there are always things that you

can learn. Nora participated in the Motivating Employees course during the

Ritz Carlton training that took place earlier this year. She said the course was

very interesting, as it came from a manager’s point of view. “We discussed how

important it is to keep your employees happy. If they aren’t happy, you won’t get

the level of service you expect, especially on a consistent basis.

“Everyone on the Meridian team strives to do the best job they can,”

Nora adds. “As our Company Mission Statement says, ‘our mission is to consistently

deliver a truly extraordinary experience, leaving our customers feeling

welcomed, well cared for and confident that they made a smart choice.’ I am

proud to work for a company that puts such a high priority on always putting the

customer first.”

Meridian Holds Company-Wide Training Class

At Meridian, we pride ourselves on providing

outstanding customer service. But even the

best can always be better! In March, we invited all

of our employees to take part in the well-respected

Ritz Carlton Training Program.

“We have always had annual training

courses provided by an outside company to our

FBO employees,” said Betsy Wines, Vice President

of Customer Service and Human Resources. “This

year, we thought we would expand the training class

to include all of our employees.”

The training took place March 28-30 at

Meridian’s Teterboro headquarters. There were

three different course programs offered, which

varied by an individual’s position in the company

and their tenure. The Memorable Customer Service

course was geared toward those employees who

had been through the Ritz Carlton Training in 2014

and was designed as a refresher course. The Customer

Service Re-energized course was for those

employees that have joined Meridian since 2014,

and lastly the Motivating Employees course, designed

for Managers and those who supervise other


“Everyone does customer service, whether

they know it or not,” continued Wines. “We felt that

everyone in the company would benefit from having

the opportunity to participate in one of the courses,

and come away with something they could put to

use in their everyday activities.”

Shante Cooper, a Customer Service

Representative, joined Meridian in October 2015.

When asked about her thoughts on the training, she

shared what she learned from a presentation called

‘Give Em’ the Pickle.’ “The story was very unique

and demonstrated how important the little things

matter,” Shante said. “It made me realize that even the smallest detail can make

a large impact on a customer.”

Shante added that since joining Meridian, she has a new outlook on

customer service. “Meridian is truly a company that goes above and beyond to

provide the best customer service. I am proud to be part of the team.”

Don Paynton has been with Meridian for 12 years in the Aircraft

Maintenance area and is currently Assistant Chief Inspector. Don attended the

Memorable Customer Service class and said what he found intriguing was how

the attention to detail, or lack thereof in certain instances, could make or break

a customer’s evaluation of the company.

“It is very easy to say ‘job accomplished’, but has it been accomplished

with the integrity and devotion to detail that is expected from demanding

clients? I would like to answer that question ‘yes’,” said Don. “And with pride in

knowing that attention to detail, communication and all aspects of what was

asked of us has been performed in a friendly, courteous and professional manner.”

Paynton feels that these workshops remind employees that “we are in

the service industry, and the most important assurances that we are succeeding

in our duties are the compliments and thanks we get from satisfied customers.”

That sentiment seems to resonate with others that attended the various

workshops. “One of the most important things many of us took away from the

supervisory training class was that we need to empower our employees,” added

Wines. “It is always about the customer, no matter what job function you perform.

The customer comes first, and it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure

that happens.”


Left: Team Meridian on the

putting green at the Flight

Safety Golf Tournament in

Santa Clarita, CA.

Meridian Sponsors

West Coast FlightSafety Golf Tournament

Meridian is proud to have been a first-time

sponsor at FlightSafety International’s (FSI)

West Coast golf event. On April 18, FSI held its 18th

Annual Customer Appreciation Golf Tournament at

Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Santa Clarita, CA.

Meridian supports FSI’s East Coast tournament,

which is usually held in June at Centennial

Golf Club in Carmel, NY, every year. As we expand

our West Coast presence, we are pleased to start

supporting this event as well.

The company was well-represented at

Robinson Ranch by its California-based team,

including Ken Forester, Kelly Pappas, Greg Johnson,

MaKayla Hambek and Tammy Vinas. Anthony Banome,

based at Meridian’s Teterboro location in New Jersey,

also made it out to the event. Meridian sponsored

the Putting Green competition, which was supported throughout the day

by Ken, Kelly, MaKayla and Tammy. Water bottles, granola bars, hats and

sunscreen were made available to the golfers. The putting contest winner

was Steve Lee of Million Air, who had the low score of 5 strokes. A prize was

also given to Travis Abbott of KACALP for having a score of 16, the highest

number of strokes!

The tournament had 205 players, setting a new attendance record

for this event. There were 36 sponsors, also setting a new record. Lunch was

provided during the outing, and a cocktail hour with a sit-down dinner and

awards ceremony was held after the tournament, which included prize drawings.

Winners from the Meridian team included Kelly Pappas, who won a $100

raffle drawing, and Anthony Banome, who won a box of golf balls. The event

was a big success overall, and we were proud to be on hand to support the

Southern California aviation community.




30 Years

Dennis O’Connell

20 Years

Lisa Liliebladh

15 Years

Williams Herrarte

10 Years

Mike Ianuale

Karol Kulesza

Javier Paulino

Tanecia Headley

Estrella Reynoso

Delia Roldan

5 Years

Maria Bochman

David Tidwell

Rick Van Orden

Brittany Page

1 Year

Julian Brito

Lisette Mejia

Marvin Stein

Sean Caravaglia

Taylor Carlyle

Francisco Acevedo

Cristian Cuzco

Michael Kaplan

Kevin Ortega

New Comers

Erik Lafreniere

Roi Nieto

Michael Jesse

Dennis Hattie

Arne Klepinger

Sarah Fine

Luis Alberca

Ryan Jones

Jo-Elle Van Epps

Oliver Klebe

Abner Buensalida

Daves Duval-Dorlean

Bill Suits

Steve Chiarchianis

Ryan McCown

Shelley Zarro

Rick Koval

Stephanie Garcia

Justin Schiraldi

Andriy Kovtun

Eddie Escano

Andino Rodriguez

Harold Escobar

William Korczak

Brian Fox

Robert Dubois

Glenn Benson


The Construction Continues at



485 Industrial Avenue

Teterboro, New Jersey 07608

mile markers: Nicaragua’s Picturesque Emerald Coast

One of the benefits of private aviation is the easy access it

provides to a variety of destinations. Recently, one of our

customers flew aboard our Falcon 900 to the resort area near

Managua, Nicaragua. The trip was easier than in the past, as there is

a brand new airport, Costa Esmeralda Airport, now open. The airport

allows travelers to more easily access resorts along the Emerald

Coast. The airport, which has a 5,000 ft. runway, was funded by the

owners of two of the area’s popular resorts: Guacalito de la Isla and

Mukul. The airport is located just five miles south of Guacalito de la

Isla in Rivas, Nicaragua. The airport also has a duty-free shop and an

international Customs Department, making for a seamless entry

into Nicaragua.

The area is pristine, with beautiful white sand beaches

along the Pacific shoreline, surrounded by a lush rainforest. The

Mukul Resort, one of the area’s newest resorts, and a backer of the

new airport, offers a variety of packages that will appeal to those

looking for a restful spa retreat or a top-notch golfing experience.

Each of the 37 guest accommodations offers space and privacy in a

style that fully embodies and compliments the natural surroundings.

The resort offers several dining options, all serving only the finest

and fresh products from the sea and local farms.

Above: Aerial view of Mukul resort in Nicaragua.

There are also 14 scheduled commercial flights per

week at the airport flown by La Costeña Airlines from Managua

and Sansa Airlines from Liberia, Costa Rica. However you choose

to arrive to Costa Esmeralda, you will find a warm welcome and

are sure to enjoy the local area, lovely beachside restaurants

and breathtaking scenery.

Meridian / 485 Industrial Ave / Teterboro, NJ 07608

FBO 201.288.5040

CHARTER 201.288.5459 / 800.882.2333

JET CENTER 201.288.3880

proud supporters of:

Table to Table, a community based

food rescue program that delivers

excess fresh food from restaurants and

supermarkets to soup kitchens and


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