CommuteAir benefits from more than 90 years of combined executive leadership experience in the regional airline industry. While technological innovation and business success drive our team to new heights, an emphasis on personal connection is what helps us soar. Read ahead to learn about the leaders who work to elevate CommuteAir every day.
John Sullivan is one of CommuteAir’s founders. Serving as Executive Chairman, he has led its rise to new altitudes and now oversees the business in its current, exciting state. John has spent the past 45 years operating regional airlines, developing rich expertise to accompany his personal touch. His experience spans a variety of airlines contracted to major U.S. carriers including stints at Brockway Air and Northeast Airline Services. John’s love for aviation, passion for exploration, and belief in enriching his employees' lives position him to lead CommuteAir into its bold and vibrant future.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Rick Hoefling has served as CommuteAir’s President and CEO since early 2019. He has helped establish the business as one of the few growing regional airlines in the United States. His guidance enabled CommuteAir to become the sole provider of EMB-145XR operations as part of United Airlines’ United Next strategy. Despite the financial and regulatory costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rick saw CommuteAir open two additional maintenance base locations and two crew bases in Houston and Denver during that time, doubling the size of the fleet in the process. Rick emphasizes the CommuteAir culture and its family atmosphere throughout his work.
Chief Operating Officer & EVP
Joel Raymond began his career at CommuteAir over 25 years ago. Serving as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President since 2008, he has brought a strong focus on CommuteAir’s values to his job. Always prioritizing safety, Joel has become known as a dependable resource for flight safety and aircraft maintenance, overseeing all such operations at CommuteAir. His penchant for strategic planning has brought sharpness and efficiency to the regional airline, helping it rise even higher.
Chief Financial Officer & EVP
Sean joined CommuteAir in 2016 and is responsible for its finance, accounting, legal, treasury, real estate, marketing and communications functions. Sean previously held positions in finance, marketing, strategy and planning at ATA Airlines, World Airways, North American Airlines, and Bombardier Aerospace. He also provided financial consulting to companies on startup business plans and distressed turnarounds. Sean holds Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified in Financial Management (CFM) designations as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business.
Chief Technology Officer
Starting his career as an Operations Supervisor for Piedmont Airlines in Newark, New Jersey, in 1981 - He has succeeded in pushing the information technology envelope in the aviation industry for a number of airlines including US Air, US Airways, jetBlue, Frontier and most recently at Lynx Air as their Chief Technology Officer. Rick brings an educational background as storied as his professional experience. With a Bachelor of Science in Management from Kean College of New Jersey, he also has a Master of Business Administration from both Montclair State University and Rutgers University, as well as a Ph.D. in Management from Rutgers University. When he isn’t thinking about aviation, Rick likes to spend his time exploring in his hometown of Denver with his wife and three dogs.
David W. Fitzgerald
Senior Vice President of Flight Operations
Captain David Fitzgerald brings immense flight experience and industry knowledge to his role as Senior Vice President of Flight Operations. Formerly CommuteAir’s FAR 119 Chief Pilot, David moved into his new role in 2018, and also serves as the Company’s FAR 119 Director of Operations. Before joining CommuteAir in 2015, he held pilot leadership positions at another large regional airline and has amassed over 12,500 flight hours throughout his career. He graduated from DePauw University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland.
Vice President of Human Resources
Laura Prince has over 20 years of Human Resource experience and for over 6 years she has been an indispensable asset to CommuteAir. She serves as Vice President of Human Resources, making her a strategic partner to the leadership team with direct oversight and tactical support in all areas of human resources including recruitment, benefits, payroll, corporate training, communications and marketing, and employee relations. She has helped CommuteAir in developing a diverse and inclusive work environment by evolving programs for hiring and retaining all of our talented employees.
Vice President of Maintenance
Lon Ziegler serves CommuteAir with distinction as its Vice President of Maintenance and Technical Services and has overseen the tripling of its fleet. Having helped induct over 75 Embraer 145 aircraft, his commitment to excellence has helped the airline successfully grow. Lon served as CommuteAir’s Director of Maintenance and was previously with ExpressJet Airlines where he was the Director of Maintenance with responsibility of the airline's Part 119 DOM position with more than 400 aircraft and 1,300 technical operations employees. His background includes work for Bar Harbor Airlines as an A&P mechanic as well as the U.S. Air Force. Lon received an AS in Aviation Technology and his A&P License from Williamsport Area Community College in 1985.
Vice President of Inflight & Airport Operations
René DeLange has been a member of the CommuteAir management team since 2008. René came to CommuteAir with an extensive background in both people management and aviation. His career began in his home country of Canada for Canadian Airlines and then at regional airlines Chautauqua and Republic Airways. René has excelled in multiple roles at CommuteAir including Director of Airport Operations and Training until 2017 when he moved into crew management as Managing Director of Crew Resources and Scheduling, and most recently as Managing Director of Inflight and Customer Experience. Since then, he’s continued his proven track record that At CommuteAir, René first served as Director of Airport Operations and Training until 2017 when he moved into crew management as Managing Director of Crew Resources and Scheduling, and most recently as Managing Director of Inflight and Customer Experience.
Vice President of Enterprise Optimization
As VP of Enterprise Optimization, Rob oversees strategic project management and evaluation, resource planning optimization, and network operations, analysis, planning, and integration. Emrich brings years of airline experience to CommuteAir, having started his career with American Airlines in the early 2000s. There, he played a pivotal role in building the industry’s first network forecasting model. He then led and coached the AA team in all scheduling, network planning, and new route development within AA’s regional network. Emrich was instrumental in advancing the merger of American and USAirways by helping evaluate and define network planning’s strategic direction, along with the integration of systems, processes, and models. Emrich earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics, holds data analytics certifications, and has been published in the International Journal of Revenue Management.
Vice President of Finance
Kyle most recently served as CommuteAir’s Managing Director of Finance, supervising the financial planning and analysis team, company budgets and forecasts, and capital project business cases. He joined the company in 2017 as financial controller for the maintenance division. In this role, he worked closely with maintenance leadership to implement finance materials processes in Aircraft Maintenance and Operational Support (AMOS), the newly established ERJ145 materials programs, and the Dash-8 fleet wind-down. Vasiloff was subsequently promoted to Corporate Controller and managed the company’s accounting functions, including receivables, payables and general ledger. Vasiloff holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, both from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.