Spirit

Board of Directors

Eric "Rick" Ochs

Chairman & CEO

Mr. Ochs is the Chairman & CEO of Spirit. He has over 25 years of experience in Aviation with a focus on Avionics. Mr. Ochs started his aviation career in the United States Navy working as an aircraft carrier flight deck troubleshooter and preflight inspector on the avionics systems of Lockheed S-3 Viking aircraft. Since leaving the US Navy, Mr. Ochs has provided avionics technical and management services for such notable companies as Lear/Siegler, Executive Jet Aviation, ElectroSonics and Air Net Systems. Southern Air Transport employed him as an Avionics Department Manager and Maintenance Controller providing global avionics and special missions support for five Boeing 747-200, 5 Douglas DC-8-63 and 15 Lockheed C-130 / L-382 cargo aircraft operating for the USAF Air Mobility Command and Special Operations. Mr. Ochs sits on the Aircraft Electronics Association’s Board of Directors, National Business Aircraft Association’s Maintenance Management Committee, National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies’ Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) certification and accreditation committee & Avionics Installation, Integration, Navigation and Systems sub committees and the Youth Aviation Adventure’s Board of Directors. Rick is also an invited member of the Honeywell, Rockwell-Collins and Universal Avionics dealer advisory panels. He was awarded with the highest of honors from the Aircraft Electronics Association as he received the 2009 Member of the Year award for all of his positive contributions to the aviation and avionics industry. Mr. Ochs is a private pilot and utilizes Spirit’s Cessna 182Q for business and recreational purposes. He has held an FAA Radio & Limited Airframe Repairman certificate for over 11 years, an Airframe Mechanic’s certificate for over 16 years, a Federal Communications Commission General Radio Operator License for over 15 years and an Aircraft Electronics Technician certification for over 4 years. Mr. Ochs has on the job training and experience with the Pace Soldering and Xytronic SMD soldering stations utilized for Micro Miniature surface mount circuit board repairs. Rick has become a well-known representative and leader within the avionic community and he is always respected for his technical knowledge and life dedication to avionic expertise.

Steve Wathen

Partner and Executive Vice President

Mr. Wathen founded Equity Inc. in 1989 which has grown into a highly respected company that provides construction, development, property management and real estate brokerage services through offices in Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Tampa Florida, Dayton, Ohio, Muncie, Indiana, and Orlando Florida.  Mr. Wathen currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Equity, Inc. and is an Executive Board Member and Senior Vice President for Boy Scouts of America Simon Kenton Council. He also is the Founder and Chairman of the Youth Aviation Adventure Organization. He is on the Advisory Board for Pregnancy Decision Health Center.
The reason for Steve’s incredible success has been his strong resolve to honor the values he and his team felt should define how they do business. Words like transparent, honest, integrity, focused, persistent, ambitious, hardworking, excellence, quality, challenging, personal growth, balanced, fun, servant leaders, empowering, love, kindness and caring, and honor God became not only the mantra for the business, but how Steve acts in all aspects of his life which carried over in to his passion for aviation.

In 1997, Steve and Dan Kiser, both pilots, offered to help Steve's son and some friends earn their Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badges. The two men enjoyed sharing their love of aviation with the boys so much; they began recruiting scouts from other nearby troops and offering their Aviation Merit Badge program twice a year. As the program became more popular, Dan and Steve enlisted other pilots and aviation enthusiasts as volunteers to expand and upgrade the content of the program. Girl Scouts and youth from other organizations in their community were invited. Currently, YAA has a pool of over one hundred pilot and other adult volunteers that offer their expertise as discussion leaders in over 24 separate locations nationwide.

Tony Bailey

President & COO

Mr. Bailey is the newest edition to the Spirit Board bringing with him a lifetime of aviation executive management spanning all segments of the industry. Mr. Bailey grew up in New Mexico and began his career in aviation in 1983 when he joined the United States Marine Corps where he was an aircraft Electrician on F-4 Phantoms. Since then, he has gained vast business and educational experience holding various positions with titles with increasing responsibility including President/CEO, CEO, General Manager, Director of Avionics & Engineering, Director of Maintenance, Avionics Manager, Quality Control Inspector, and Instrument & Autopilot Supervisor.

After leaving the Marines, Tony Joined Dynelectron (later to become DynCorp) as an Avionicsman on T-2 aircraft for the Navy. He then transfered to Holloman, AFB and became all-systems qualified (O and I levels) on F-4's and T-38's and was promoted numerous times. Tony’s career took an accelerated path upwards when he arrived in Shreveport, Louisiana to take over the TACAir Facility after a brief time outside of the aviation industry where he had interest in a Sonic Drive-In and ownership of Four States Equipment. While there, business revenues and backlog increased significantly and he used his business knowledge to expand the service offerings of the company. In 2002, just after the fateful September 11, 2001 attacks, Tony joined the Pentastar Aviation team as the Engineering Manager. Pentastar Aviation, owned by Edsel B. Ford II, was the only independent Authorized Gulfstream Service facility and operated the high profile fleet of the automotive industry (General Motors, Chrysler, Delphi, Visteon, etc.) under Aeromotive Air Charter.

In 2007 after strong success in the Avionics and Engineering Departments, Tony took over management oversight of the Maintenance Repair Organization (MRO) operations, the University of Michigan Survival Flight maintenance support program and became the FAA Part 119 Director of Maintenance for Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc.  After reorganizing the company operations and implementing progressive policies and procedures, the group became successful and employee engagement, as measured by Kenexa, reached unprecedented levels of satisfaction. In 2010, Tony left Pentastar to join Comlux Aviation Services as the Vice President of Operations. The business was struggling and trying to recover after a recent hangar fire. Within nine months, the facility had expanded its approvals to include Gulfstream aircraft and became a Bombardier Global Authorized Service Facility (ASF). In addition, revenues grew and the facility was profitable. In September, Tony was promoted to the CEO position just nine months after joining the organization. WIthin 12 months, the company gained Embraer Legacy and Linage Authorized Service Facility (ASF) approvals.

For a brief stint, Tony joined King Aerospace Commercial Corporation as the CEO leading their Boeing and Airbus Maintenance and Completion Center. However, Tony’s wife and kids remained in Indianapolis which took its toll. In July, 2013 after years of friendship and mutual respect with Rick Ochs, Tony decided to join Spirit to help grow the business and be close to his wife’s family who all live in the Ohio area. Now that Tony and his family have relocated to the Columbus area, they have finally found home.

Tony is a licensed FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic, Former Chairman of the American Red Cross Emergency Services - Otero Chapter, Member of the Rockwell Collins Dealer Advisory Board, past Member of the Michigan Institute of Aviation  and Technology Advisory Board, graduate of Eastern New Mexico University, and is a published author of 11 technical articles published in Avionics News Magazine.