For 28 years, Robert D. Van de Vuurst’s aviation clients have counted on him to oversee nearly every corporate, regulatory and transactional matter that they have. Based out of the Firm’s Johnson City/Tri-Cities office, Robert brings an insider’s perspective to the industry that allows him to strategically guide clients through opportunities and navigate regulatory hurdles, all while keeping an eye on the bottom line.
Robert has overseen and been directly responsible for more than $2 billion in aircraft purchases and sales, both domestically and internationally, involving both original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) and private parties.
Significantly, he has spent much of his professional career as outside general counsel for major aviation industry clients, including 12 years for Edwards and Associates, Inc., which at the time was the largest independent broker-dealer of used helicopters in the world.
Robert was lead counsel and strategic advisor for the transaction for Edwards & Associates, Inc. and its shareholders when the company was sold to Bell Helicopter Textron in 1999.
Robert has a unique wealth of practical, hands-on aviation management experience as well. From 2004 to 2010, Robert was outside general counsel for Era Group, Inc. (now a publicly traded company), and from 2010 to 2012, he served as the COO of the company and as president of Era Helicopters, LLC, one of the largest helicopter operators in the world.
In his management positions with Era, Robert was primarily responsible for all day-to-day company activities, including its offshore oil and gas support operations in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; its tour division in Juneau and Denali, Alaska; its air medical EMS operations in the northeast United States and Florida; its joint venture Part 142 Training Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana; all international and joint venture activities, including a large operation in Brazil; and its international operations and aircraft leasing division.
Era had approximately 900 employees, 180 aircraft, and $300 million in annual revenue, all of which were under Robert’s direct supervision. In his role as president, he gained valuable experience in finance and accounting matters (including the negotiation and closing of a $350 million revolving credit facility) as well as all other parts and parcels of a multi-faceted international aviation company.
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