Honoree Headshot

Chad J. Verdaglio

President
Sawyer Aviation

Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Founded: 1961
Industry: Aviation

The numbers show Sawyer Aviation is on an upward trajectory, with a surge in revenue in recent years. But company President Chad J. Verdaglio is less concerned about what’s behind them than what’s ahead.

“I am a big believer in leveraging today’s success for tomorrow’s growth,” he said. “In the aviation industry, our world is always changing, whether it’s due to innovations in aircraft equipment or changes in client demands, change is inevitable. To remain influential as an industry leader, you must keep a pulse on changes in the market and adapt accordingly, to continue to offer value to our customers.”

Sawyer Aviation is a full-service aviation company founded in 1961 and headquartered in Scottsdale with operations out of Van Nuys, California. What started as a private charter provider and flight school has evolved to include aircraft management, maintenance and sales.

Verdaglio grew up primarily in Scottsdale, and when he reached college age, he registered for flying lessons at Sawyer School of Aviation. He spent time on weekends and school breaks earning his instrument rating, commercial rating, multi-engine rating and finally, his instructor license. School and then work got in the way of his aviation training, until he saw an ad for a pilot instructor at Sawyer. Verdaglio got the job and eventually, in 2002, he bought the company.

Under Verdaglio’s leadership, Sawyer Aviation has expanded service and operations, growing revenue by 900% in the last four years. Verdaglio secured contracts with Trinity Air Medical to become a leading service provider for organ transport for organ procurement organizations and transplant centers throughout the nation. Verdaglio developed patentpending equipment that will allow Sawyer Aviation, and others, to maintain the viability of an organ during longer transport and travel to recipients at greater distances.

Verdaglio has plans for Sawyer Aviation to expand charter operations nationwide, increase the company’s fleet of aircraft and secure contracts with foreign airlines. He plans to expand the maintenance arm of the business as well, adding larger service centers so the company and maintenance team can better support aircraft all over the country. As demand grows for the aviation school, Verdaglio expects to expand the fleet of training aircraft and hire more instructors over the next five years.

“[Verdaglio] leads by example with a management style that is accessible and approachable,” his team said. “His daily presence at the company’s headquarters in Scottsdale sets the tone for the company as he guides it into the future. Whether he is sitting in the cockpit or in his office, Verdaglio has his hands on the controls while he looks at what’s on the horizon.”

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Honoree Fun fact

Over the course of his career, Verdaglio has flown many celebrities on private charter flights. But one of the most memorable was when he was contracted to take a royal princess (not to be named) from Aspen to L.A. to catch an international flight home. He recalls flying her and her heavy load of Louis Vuitton luggage with a smile. He didn’t know that Louis Vuitton still made luggage chests, and in all his years of flying business executives, VIPs and individuals in the entertainment industry, he’d never seen someone with that much in tow.

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