Directional Aviation’s Kenn Ricci Presents HEICO CEO Larry Mendelson with Kenn Ricci Lifetime Living Legends of Aviation Entrepreneur Award
FEBRUARY 24, 2024
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., February 24, 2024 – Kenn Ricci, Founder and Principal of Directional Aviation Capital and Chairman of Flexjet, Inc., presented Laurens “Larry” Mendelson, CEO of leading publicly-traded aviation and aerospace parts, components and technology manufacturer HEICO Corp. (NYSE: HEI), with the Living Legends of Aviation Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award at the 21st annual awards ceremony held in Beverly Hills, California.
The annual event serves as one of the largest fundraisers for the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring future aviation enthusiasts. John Travolta served as the host of this year’s event, which also honored Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who was inducted as a member of the Living Legends.
Mendelson, 85, joins a prestigious list of past Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award winners including Solairus founder and CEO Dan Drohan; Avfuel Corporation Managing Partner Craig R. Sincock; Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos; Bigelow Aerospace Founder Robert Bigelow; and the late Dr. S. Harry Robertson III, founder of Robertson Aviation.
Mendelson, together with his sons Eric and Victor, acquired a controlling stake in HEICO in 1990. HEICO grew under Mendelson’s leadership to become a multinational powerhouse employing 9,600 people in 15 countries with a market capitalization of approximately $21 billion.
“Larry’s visionary leadership has left an indelible mark on me and other entrepreneurs worldwide,” said Ricci, a member of the Legends and himself a recipient of the award which now bears his name. “What Larry and his sons have accomplished in building this amazing family-oriented company and a prominent player in our industry is perhaps one of the best flight paths for any in this business to follow.”
In addition to his groundbreaking career, Mendelson and his wife of over 60 years, Arlene, have focused on family, they have been very civically and philanthropically active as members and significant donors to numerous organizations in South Florida.
The Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award deepens the ongoing connections between Flexjet and the Living Legends. In 2023, the Living Legends recognized Flexjet CEO Mike Silvestro, the fractional jet industry’s longest-tenured CEO, with its highest honor, the Lifetime Aviation Industry Award. “This annual recognition reflects Flexjet’s commitment to advancing achievements in the aerospace industry, a testament to our proud and enduring relationship with the Living Legends,” said Ricci.
Founded in 2003, the Living Legends of Aviation includes pioneers, achievers and other people of accomplishment in the field such as astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell and pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, and it convenes annually to recognize those who have achieved great things in aviation and to welcome new additions to its ranks.
Flexjet, Inc., a global leader in subscription-based private aviation, first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing and is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard, is the first and only company to be honored with 24 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating, a 4AIR Bronze Sustainable Rating and is IS-BAO compliant at Level 2. Red Label by Flexjet, a market differentiator, which features the most modern fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 40 different interior designs across its fleet of nearly 270 aircraft, which includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Praetor 500, Bombardier Challenger 350, the Gulfstream G450 and G650. Flexjet’s European fleet includes the Embraer Praetor 600 and the Gulfstream G650. Flexjet’s helicopter division sells fractional, lease, and on-demand charter access to its fleet of owned, operated and maintained Sikorsky S-76 helicopters which boast 55,000 hours of safe flying certified by Wyvern and ARG/US and serving locations throughout the northeastern United States, United Kingdom and southern Florida. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit www.flexjet.com or follow us on Instagram @FlexjetInc.
Susan Ruiz Patton
Flexjet Head of External Communications