LETTER FROM THE CEO

Dear Weary Traveler –

I’m pretty sure I know you. We’ve likely crossed paths once or twice over the course of my two million commercial airline miles. Perhaps it was snaking around the endless curves of the airport garage in search of that elusive spot, or standing in line at security with only a black stanchion separating us as we shuffle towards the dirty plastic bins filled with shoes and laptops. Of course, we could’ve sat next to one another in the overcrowded gate area or on the plane, jockeying for armrest space…leg space…any space (apologies if I took more than my fair share…I’m broad shouldered).

If we did cross paths, chances are that we never stopped to acknowledge one another. After all, there are thousands of people just like us moving robotically and obediently through the soul-crushing experience that has become commercial air travel.

Let me ask you something…when exactly did travel lose its magic? What happened to waking up and looking forward to the journey as much as the destination? Where are the days where we didn’t just sit on planes staring at screens but we actually experienced the joy of flight with our fellow travelers?

                                   "This is Why We RISE"

This, my friend, is why RISE exists today….to help fix that which is broken and restore the things we’ve lost in air travel – namely time and dignity. When I first experienced a private plane, I realized that it could effectively be a time machine, allowing me to have breakfast with my family, host a business lunch in another city and be back in time for soccer practice or dinner with friends. A private plane wasn’t an indulgence, it allowed me to do what I was created to do - help build great companies - and also allowed me to be who I was created to be - present as a husband, father and friend. Unfortunately, private planes are incredibly expensive and out of reach for most people. By sharing the cost amongst our exponentially growing membership, a private plane is finally affordable for a larger audience. In fact, approximately 70% of our members have never flown on a private plane before they join RISE.

Warren Buffet initially named his plane “The Indefensible”, but has since renamed it “The Indispensable”. Our goal is to make RISE indispensable in your life from your first flight. If we fail to do so I want to know personally. But don’t take my word for it, ask any of our members how we are changing their lives…chances are you already know them anyway.

This is travel the way it was intended to be. At RISE, you aren’t a passenger…you’re a member. You’re not a boarding group…you’re part of a community, and you’re not sacrificing personal life for work life…you’re finally balancing both.

I hope you'll join the RISE community of successful frequent travelers. We created it with you in mind.

 

 

NICK KENNEDY

FOUNDER & CEO

 


LEADERSHIP TEAM


      NICK KENNEDY       CO-FOUNDER & CEO  

      NICK KENNEDY

      CO-FOUNDER & CEO

 

 

As the founder and CEO of RISE, Nick Kennedy is creating a new category of travel that eliminates the hassles associated with frequent flying. Nick founded RISE with a laser focus on transforming the air travel experience for frequent travelers. In a very short time he assembled a world-class team and leveraged his technology and client service background to develop an accessible, high-touch and highly scalable business model that has positioned the company to lead the next generation of air travel.

Nick’s career started with EDS, and then shifted to helping build successful entrepreneurial ventures that were acquired by companies like NCR and Nanthealth. During that time, he accumulated over two million airline miles while losing hundreds of hours of productivity and time with family due to the highly inefficient and broken commercial airline industry. As a natural entrepreneur and problem solver, Nick came up with an idea that would make private flying more accessible and economical for everyday business people but without the expensive capital and operational burdens associated with owning planes.

Since founding RISE in 2015, Nick has given thousands of frequent travelers in Dallas, Austin and Houston the ability to be home for breakfast, in another city for meetings and back in time for soccer practice. Nick lives in Dallas with his wife of 16 years and their three children. He is an avid sportsman who enjoys cycling, skiing and running, and has completed the Ironman® triathlon.

 
   JEREMY KOKENES      VP OF OPERATIONS

   JEREMY KOKENES

     VP OF OPERATIONS

 

Jeremy joined RISE following a highly successful 21+ year aviation career in the United States Air Force, primarily in Special Operations. During this time he led organizations at multiple levels, commanding squadrons and directing numerous combat operations during his ten deployments spanning five continents.

In his most recent role, Jeremy served as Director of Operations for the Department of Defense’s newest Regional Special Operation Command supporting North America. In this role, he transitioned a staff of 25 personnel into a 200-person organization while designing and building a state-of-the art Joint Operations Center.

Jeremy is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, Air and Aerial Achievement Medals and other meritorious awards. Organizations he led were recognized numerous times as ‘Best in Air Force’ and ‘Best in Department of Defense.’

Jeremy is responsible for all RISE flight operations both at the Dallas Headquarters and outstation locations.  He is also the driving force behind the RISE Operational Center (ROC), which serves as the hub overseeing all RISE flight operational activities.

Jeremy attended Trinity University, earning a B.S. in Mathematics and his M.S. in Management. He and his wife of 21+ years are proud of their 3 wonderful children. When not at RISE, Jeremy enjoys his family, serving in church, sports, working on their hobby farm.

 
    SHANE JACKSON         BOARD MEMBER 

    SHANE JACKSON

        BOARD MEMBER 

 

Shane Jackson serves as President of Jackson Healthcare, where he is responsible for corporate development and day-to-day operations. He is also President of LocumTenens.com, a free online physician recruiting board and full-service recruiting agency, a position he has held since 2008.

From 2000 to 2008, Jackson oversaw numerous acquisitions, startups and investments for Jackson Healthcare, including serving as president for several of its startup entities.

In 2008, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named him one of the city’s “Top 40 Under 40,” recognizing his accomplishments as a young leader. Jackson earned an M.B.A, with honors, from Emory University, where he was one of a distinguished group of students selected for the institution’s accelerated three-semester degree program. He also holds a B.B.A from Harding University.

He serves on several community boards, including the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and is Vice-Chairman of the Alpharetta Technology Commission, and a former board Chairman and current standing member of the board of directors for Mission Predisan.

Jackson and his wife reside in Alpharetta, Georgia, with their three children.

 
     BILL BROWNING          BOARD MEMBER

     BILL BROWNING

         BOARD MEMBER

 

William L. Browning serves on the Board of Directors for McCarthy Holdings, Community Bank, Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, and Parsley Energy. Bill sits on the Audit Committees of all these companies, and is Chairman of the Audit Committees for Ares, Community Bank, and Parsley Energy. Bill was a senior client service partner at Ernst & Young from 1999- 2012, and from 2009-2012 he also served as managing partner of Ernst & Young’s Los Angeles office.

Bill began his professional career with Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1976, where he was admitted to partnership in 1987 and named managing partner of the firm’s Oklahoma office in 1994. During his public accounting career, Bill accumulated experience across a number of industries, including the entire energy value chain, and developed expertise in domestic banking and regulatory compliance.

     ANGELA VARGO           DIRECTOR OF                 COMMUNICATIONS

     ANGELA VARGO

          DIRECTOR OF                 COMMUNICATIONS

 

As Director of Communications and Business Development, Angela is responsible for crafting communications and partnerships that advance the RISE brand and experience.

Prior to joining RISE, Angela was Senior Manager of Global Marketing and Communications for Solera Holdings, Inc. in Westlake, Texas.

She previously spent 13 years at Southwest Airlines in various communications and marketing roles. Some of Angela’s accomplishments included launching the airline’s social media presence through the creation of the industry’s first official corporate blog, leading the strategy and implementation of Southwest’s inflight WiFi and entertainment platform and overseeing development and design of all aircraft interiors including Southwest’s newest aircraft, the 737-MAX, debuting in 2017.

Angela is an accomplished speaker with over 50 public appearances over the course of her nearly two-decade career. She currently serves as a board member for the Dallas Fort-Worth American Red Cross. In this role, Angela is particularly passionate about raising awareness around blood donation in the North Texas region.

 
       JOSH PAINE        BOARD MEMBER

       JOSH PAINE

       BOARD MEMBER

 

As a entrepreneur and experienced operator, Paine is now focused on helping entrepreneur-led companies achieve their growth potential through investments in knowledge and financial capital. Paine leads the investment efforts of Providence Interactive Capital, a boutique investment firm focused on value creation through active investment participation and the application of Conscious Capitalism principles. At Providence, Paine manages key daily activities, including strategic direction, fund creation, investor relations and capital deployment decisions.

Paine is a lifetime student and enjoys communicating transformative principles to companies and their leaders and learning from fellow students of humanity.

 
     RICHARD EMERY               ADVISOR

     RICHARD EMERY

              ADVISOR

 

Richard most recently served as Vice President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific for Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. He was responsible for the customer facing organization, all revenue generating activities and management of channel partners for all Beechcraft products in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Richard has 20 years of experience in the marketing and sales of business jet aircraft and services. Prior to HBC, he was with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation as Vice President of New Business for the Western and Eastern Regions and, most recently, as Vice President of Sales for the Central Region. Prior to that, Emery held positions at Bombardier Aerospace and K-C Aviation.