OUR TEAM

Jim Wilkinson chairman of mountain lion aviation and chairman ceo of trairunner international in truckee california

JIM WILKINSON

Chairman

 

Jim founded Mountain Lion Aviation out of the extreme frustration that he and his family faced with fighting the growing scourge of traffic.

 

Jim believed there simply had to be a better way, and he founded Mountain Lion Aviation to help others stop wasting time in traffic and spend their valuable time doing things that really matter.

 

Jim cares deeply about customer service and about helping our customers address their unique and individual mobility challenges. Jim is also a licensed pilot with a deep passion for aviation, innovation and family time.

 

Jim currently serves as Chairman and CEO of TrailRunner International, which is a global advisory firm headquartered in Dallas/Fort Worth, with offices in Truckee, CA; New York, NY; Washington, DC; Nashville, TN; and Shanghai China.

chris barbera ceo and director of mountain lion aviation Northern California’s #1 Private Air Charter

CHRIS BARBERA

CEO & Director of Operations

Chris has many years of diverse aviation experience, including flight instruction, charter operations, customer service, and business leadership. Chris is an expert in all matters of flight safety and aircraft systems, and he has extensive flight experience in mountain areas and other challenging aviation environments.

 

Chris began his aviation career at the age of 14 when he began taking lessons and discovered that aviation was his personal passion. On his 16th birthday Chris took his first solo flight, and he completed his pilot’s exam the minute he turned 17 and could legally do so. Chris spent several years as a flight instructor teaching in Reno, Nevada on various different types of aircraft, and he eventually began work in charter aviation, including leading the successful operations team at Sierra Skyport.

 

Chris lives in Minden, Nevada with his wife Amy and their two children Avery and Braxton.

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JESSICA FAY

Chief Operating Officer

Jessica Fay is our Chief Operating Officer. Originally from Sweden, she spent 10 years traveling the world
to places where she could work as a scuba diving instructor until she settled in Truckee, California.
There, she co-founded Sierra Aero LLC with her husband Jeff. Jessica has a finance and accounting
background, and has been working in aviation for the past decade. During that time, as the Director of
Operations and CEO of Sierra Aero LLC, she has gained extensive knowledge in the areas of aircraft
maintenance, flight training, and private charters. She has recently relocated to Fort Worth, Texas to
oversee our newest charter operation.

sarah rossi team member at mountain lion aviation private airplane charter business in lake tahoe california

SARAH ROSSI

Chief Possibilities Officer

Sarah Rossi serves as Chief Possibilities Officer for our customers and clients. Sarah focuses exclusively on providing elite customer service to our clients by helping them solve their unique mobility needs.

 

Sarah has lived in the Reno/Tahoe area her entire life, and is a native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sarah grew up skiing on the Mount Rose Ski team, loves to be outside snowboarding or hiking, and is passionate about aviation and travel, having visited a dozen countries.

 

Sarah has extensive experience working with large companies and individuals, including in the Nevada Legislature on energy, transportation, gaming, and e-commerce under the Griffin Company during the 79th Legislative Session.  She has worked closely with clients across various industries, including food and beverage, luxury merchandising, and brand management, and is also a great resource for recommending an excellent bottle of wine. 

 

Sarah graduated from The University Nevada Reno, studying entrepreneurship and communications, and receiving a minor in business administration.  

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WHITNEY RAMSEY

Possibilities Officer 

 

Whitney Ramsey serves as Possibilities Officer for our customers based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. She focuses on providing superior customer service to our clients by helping meet their mobility needs on their schedules and their terms.

 

Whitney gained experience in aviation through her previous work at American Airlines where she worked with several leadership teams to build relationships and provide solutions to create sustainable operations as well as an excellent customer experience. 

 

Whitney was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She enjoys spending time with family, and loves all things outdoors, especially fishing with her husband, gardening and exploring the mountains in Colorado where she and her husband visit often.

 

Whitney graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Kinesiology.

DAVE TRANQUILLA

Chief Pilot

Dave has a lifelong passion for aviation and he brings many years of deep experience to our customers. He has been a flight instructor in the Truckee Tahoe area for over 15 years. In addition to flight instruction, Dave was recently selected by the FAA as a Designated Pilot Examiner in the Reno Flight Standards District Office.

 

Dave lives in Truckee with his wife and two daughters.  He enjoys all the mountains have to offer: paddling, backpacking, mountain biking, motorcycling, camping, sailing, etc.  He was previously a successful general contractor in the Tahoe area, and although he no longer works as a builder he keeps his skills sharp constructing a kit airplane in his garage. It’s also not unusual to see him drumming with his band in and around Tahoe.

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GARRETT PORTER

Chief Flight Instructor / Captain

Garrett began his flying years at the Truckee Airport in 2014.  He loves all things aviation and enjoys getting to interact with other people who share his passion for flying.  

 

Garrett grew up in Vienna, Virginia and graduated with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado, in Boulder. After college, he moved to Truckee and attained his private pilot certificate. For his instrument rating, Garrett traveled to Colorado and flew out of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, in Broomfield. Two years ago, he came back to Truckee and could not be happier to call the Lake Tahoe area home.  

 

When he is not flying, Garrett enjoys going on bicycling tours, flying Young Eagles in his light sport trike, golfing, and all outdoor sports.

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JEFF FAY

Deputy Chief Pilot

 

Jeff Fay serves as our Lead Pilot in our Texas branch and brings more than two decades of diverse global aviation experience. Born and raised in the UK, Jeff is a former British Royal Marine who came to the US in 1998 to pursue a career in aviation. Jeff is a CFII, A&P / IA, and former US National Guard CH-47 helicopter pilot who did tours of duty in Afghanistan, among other places. He is the co-founder of Sierra Aero LLC with more than 20 years of flying and maintenance experience in numerous different airframes.

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WILLIAM APOTHEKER

Chief Communications Officer and Head of Marketing 

Will Apotheker is Chief Communications Officer and Head of Marketing for Mountain Lion Aviation, with responsibility for marketing programs and brand management. He is a seasoned communications and marketing strategist with extensive experience creating and managing marketing programs to build relationships for organizations and individuals. 

Will spent over a decade as a producer and editor in the highly competitive Boston news market working for FOX, CBS and NBC affiliates. He then became the creative services and digital promotions lead for Fox, leading the station to earn the mantle of #1 late newscast in Boston.


Will’s greatest strengths are his creativity, drive and leadership. His experience includes managing digital marketing campaigns, advertising and content development. As an adjunct professor at Emerson College, Will taught a variety of courses including Digital journalism, TV News Producing, Radio News Producing, and Intro to Journalism.

Will holds a Master’s Degree in Integrated Journalism from Emerson College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives in Truckee with his wife Lauren and their two sons. Will is an accomplished musician who spends his free time performing solo or with his band.

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BLAKE SORTOR

Captain 

Blake has had a passion for aviation since a very young age and has turned that into a professional career. Blake started flying at the Truckee Airport when he was 14 years old and gained many years of mountain flying experience from some of the best instructors in the world. Blake lives in our beautiful town of Truckee and in his free time, can be found shredding the gnar on his mountain bike or carving down the slopes on a pair of skis.