Curran Companies Will Lead Group For Recapitalization
Executive AirShare has announced a majority recapitalization in partnership with a group led by Kansas City-based family investment firm, Curran Companies. Curran Companies is a long term fractional ownership customer of Executive AirShare, and will now focus on growing the nation’s third largest fractional aircraft provider into new markets.
While Executive AirShare founder Bob Taylor and investor Dave Murfin still maintain significant ownership in the business, the newly formed LLC is controlled by the Curran investment group. Curran Companies is led by Pat and Wiley Curran and has deep roots in the Midwestern business community.
“Executive AirShare’s business is poised for substantial growth, especially to new cities near our existing geographical footprint. This venture aligns with our fundamental investment principles,” says Curran Companies President Wiley Curran. “We see significant opportunities to leverage technology on top of the current business model to produce an even better service for our customer base. We want to be the middle market’s flight department.”
Through Curran Companies, the father-and-son private-equity investors choose smaller middle-market companies and then back their private capital with critical resources, insight and operations to help businesses realize their full performance potential and become market leaders.
The Currans became Embraer Phenom 300 shareowners with Executive AirShare in 2013 after another shareowner and business partner suggested they give the fractional program a try. Their significant investment today coincides with Executive AirShare closing on its two newest aircraft – a Beechcraft King Air 350i and a Phenom 300. The Phenom 300, the tenth of Executive AirShare’s fleet, is the latest delivery for the company from Embraer’s new Melbourne, Fla., assembly plant.
“I look forward to building a new relationship with Pat and Wiley Curran and working together to support our goals with Executive AirShare,” says Murfin, an early Executive AirShare investor.
Taylor, Executive AirShare chairman emeritus and founder, voices optimism as well, saying, “I look forward to the continued growth of our regional fractional aircraft business. The Curran group brings enthusiasm, business experience and capital to support the company’s expansion into new markets. I have truly enjoyed the last 15-plus years and look forward to future participation.”
As shareowners, the Currans took advantage of Executive AirShare’s day-based program, which is unique in the fractional ownership market. Visits to companies within the Curran Companies investment portfolio became easier, increasing productivity and generating a competitive advantage.
“We have a long-term view with our investment in Executive AirShare. We feel their management team has the right formula in delivering an exceptional private aviation experience using high-quality, late-model aircraft,” says Pat Curran, principal at Curran Companies. “And the day-based program provides Curran Companies with scheduling flexibility as if it were our own whole aircraft. This is the best business aviation model out there today.”
With deep roots and solid relationships in the Kansas City area, the Currans augment Executive AirShare’s business standing within the community. As frequent users they saw the growth trajectory Executive AirShare has enjoyed since it moved its headquarters in 2004 from Wichita, Kan., to the Kansas City metro area. Executive AirShare moved its headquarters to Lenexa, Kan., earlier this year, while maintaining operations at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, within the shadow of downtown Kansas City.
“It means a lot to know that a valued shareowner demonstrated the desire and confidence to invest in the growth of our business. The Currans infuse a new level of energy and vision to Executive AirShare,” says Keith Plumb, Executive AirShare president and CEO. “Our employees and customer base will directly benefit from initiatives inspired and supported by the Currans and our management team.” Wiley Curran and Keith, both members of the Young Presidents’ Organization, say their growing friendship, love of aviation and golf, make this new business alliance especially positive.
Last summer Plumb flew with Wiley Curran to Wichita, where Executive AirShare was founded in 2000. Following a round of golf, Plumb arranged for a tour of a Textron Aviation facility, knowing Curran’s interest in manufacturing. That day’s events sowed the seeds of a business partnership.
Over the following months, discussions intensified about Executive AirShare’s business, ultimately resulting in the Currans’ investment. The Currans are accompanying management to Melbourne on Wednesday, July 6 to take possession of the Company’s new Phenom 300 and tour the Embraer manufacturing facility.
“We welcome the Currans’ forward vision and team-oriented focus,” says Plumb. “We’ve always strived for safety and service excellence. Their extensive track record of success shows we have the right partners. Together, we’ll take Executive AirShare to an even higher level.”