Every great journey has an even greater story.

Owner / Director of Operations

John Vaillant

Graduating Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Business Administration and Aeronautical Science, John Vaillant brings over 15 years of aviation experience to AEM. As a previous owner of a Part 135 Company and having served for various companies as Director of Operations and as an Accredited IS-BAO Auditor, Mr. Vaillant is equipped to assist our clients with their various challenges and compliance issues. His background in compliance, technical writing, management, customer service and Aircraft Acquisitions lends itself perfectly to AEM's diverse client portfolio. Through his extensive experience in aircraft management and aircraft charter, he has built a foundation of industry professionals who stand ready to serve and assure the success of each client he serves.

Director of Safety

Gregory Bushong

Gregory earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University. He was subsequently Commissioned a Naval Officer, attended Navy flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator. He held a variety of squadron and staff assignments during his 20 year career. He has 602 arrested landings on seven Aircraft Carriers, and among other training received, is a Graduate of the Navy Aviation Safety Officer Course at the Naval Postgraduate School. After retiring from the Navy he continued his flying career, in commercial aviation. Gregory has extensive experience in long haul, international wide body passenger and freight operations, as well as domestic and international experience in on- demand charter flight operations. He has over 17,400 hours in 40 different types of aircraft. He is an Airline Transport Pilot, and a Certified Flight Instructor/Multiengine Instructor/Instrument Instructor. Gregory lives in Florida with his wife of 44 years. They have 2 grown children and four grandchildren.

Director of Maintenance Control

Plato Smith III

Plato brings over 35 years of experience in maintenance, maintenance management, and customer service. His diverse background in various segments of our industry has allowed him to experience aviation from the Service side of the industry to the Aircraft Management side. This has benefited our clients greatly in project management and negotiations as he has sat on both sides of the table. Starting his career as Crew Chief Mechanic for the United States Air Force, Plato transitioned to the civilian side as a mechanic for Eastern Airlines prior to joining Gulfstream Aerospace for whom he worked for over 25 years. Plato delivered the first Gulfstream G550 to Africa for the Tanzanian Presidential flight department. Spending over 6 months in Tanzania, Plato was responsible with assisting with setting up the maintenance flight department to support the G550. Most recently Plato has provided Aircraft Support on the G550 for the Polish Air Force as well as serving as a Contract DOM for Gulfstream's AOS Program on the G500 platform.

VP of Maintenance

Kindon Stephens

Mr. Stephens brings over 20 years of aircraft maintenance and inspection experience starting with his career in the United States Air Force as a communications and navigation technician. Later in his Air Force career, Kindon transitioned into quality assurance as an inspection and FOD program manager. After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, he accepted a job as an avionics technician with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Shortly after joining Gulfstream, he acquired his FAA airframe and powerplant certificate, subsequently moving back into the world of quality. Kindon’s extensive experience in aircraft certification and modifications earned him a designation with Gulfstream’s FAA ODA program, issuing FAA airworthiness certificates and supporting new product development. After leaving Gulfstream, Kindon was selected as the chief inspector and accountable manager for Southern Aviation Parts and Services’ FAA 145 Repair Station. Kindon currently holds his FAA Inspection authorization certification and is a designated airworthiness representative for the FAA. His additional experience includes AS9100/QMS auditing and Lean Six Sigma best practices. Kindon now maintains AEM’s FAA certifications and with safety as the top priority, ensures quality assurance throughout the fleet.