Meet John, our Founder & CEO
Leader in helping people achieve the aviation LifeStyle.
Certs & Ratings
Model Types Flown
What is your background?
I grew up in Anderson, South Carolina and graduated from Wake Forest University in 1985 with a concentration in Economics and computer science. My goal was to pursue my entrepreneurial spirit and start and build a business. One year after college, I started a technology company with a partner, focusing on a niche market in the rapidly evolving computer industry. As a result, I found myself, a 26-year-old, traveling around the world to set up distribution in far-flung locations such as South Africa, New Zealand, Europe, Malaysia, and beyond. It was an incredible experience, but it didn't leave me much time for flying (I've been a pilot since 1982... but I'll get to that later).
Things went well enough that in 1994, we acquired a software company, and for the next 7 years, I worked on developing that company into a leader in its niche, specializing in dealership systems for RV and Marine dealerships. However, my true desire was to sell the companies and transition into aviation. In 2002, I was able to do just that. I sold the company and immediately embarked on the most exciting aviation opportunity I could ever imagine. I was recruited to manage fundraising and promotions for the Centennial of Flight Celebrations for the NCDOT, North Carolina Division of Aviation. This role allowed me to interact with the boardrooms of most major general aviation companies, and best of all, we were flying singles and twins almost every day in support of this mission. As part of our fundraising efforts, we secured the donation of a Cirrus SR22 Centennial edition aircraft for promotional purposes and to be donated to the Wright Brothers National Park. It was truly one of the best years of my life.
During this experience, I had the pleasure of meeting Earle Boyter, a partner at Premier Aircraft, an up-and-coming aircraft sales organization that distributed Diamond and Mooney Aircraft. I shared my passion for aviation with him. Earle is an amazing individual who has held positions as VP of Sales and Marketing for Mooney, Diamond, Piper, and others. He assessed my abilities and believed I could sell aircraft, but unfortunately, there were no openings at that time. I told him that was alright because I was the type of person who wasn't very "employable" and was seeking a business opportunity. He then invited me to come to one of their shows and assist. I gladly accepted and went a few weeks later.
On my first day of "helping out," I assisted a gentleman in purchasing a Mooney, trading in his Baron, and putting a deposit on a jet. Earle was impressed. I asked him if we could explore the possibility of obtaining more of the Diamond Distribution business through a partnership. He mentioned that it was highly unlikely that Diamond would agree to that, but he was happy for me to give it a try. And try I did. I prepared a comprehensive business plan and, after months of effort, I ultimately succeeded in reaching an agreement with Diamond to establish our company and launch a new Diamond Aircraft Distribution operation... but more on that later.
How long have you been a pilot?
When I was a kid, my Dad had to keep three kids quiet by himself in church because my mom sang in the choir. He drew me pictures of airplanes, and that kept me mesmerized. He drew B-17s, P-51s, J-3 Cubs, and many others. When I was in college, my Dad called and said, "Do you remember that barn out by the lake with a J-3 Cub in it? Well, I stopped there today and bought it!" I immediately said, "I'll be home for summer school!" I earned my wings barefooted in the summer of 1982 in 90 days. It was the greatest thing I'd ever done, and I knew aviation would always be a part of my life.
What kind of flying have you experienced?
Starting with the J-3 Cub on a grass runway was truly a delight. That kind of flying will always hold a special place in my heart and explains why I was thrilled to take the lead when he began promoting the Husky line. I progressed from grassroots flying in the Cub to other aircraft. One thing I will always value is learning how to fly with my feet!
At this point, I have accumulated hundreds of hours in taildragger aircraft. Throughout the years, I have flown Cessna 152s, 172s, 182s, a Piper Aztec, Archer, Cherokee, Saratoga, a Searey amphibian, Cirrus, Columbia, Mooney, Beechcraft A36, Baron, and all the Diamond Aircraft, and even had a brief moment of fame in a DC3.
So, as you can see, I am not an airline captain or a jet pilot. I believe I can connect well with many of my clients because I am a businessman who has a passion for flying. It seems to me that many of the individuals who acquire their own aircraft have similar backgrounds, and I genuinely enjoy meeting and getting to know these people.
Who is LifeStyle Aviation and what is their history?
After selling a high-tech business in the early 2000s, John created an opportunity to partner with Diamond in the establishment of a new Diamond Distribution company in 2007. The company was named Dominion Aircraft Sales and its purpose was to expand the Diamond Aircraft franchise into the states of DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, and KY. John has been the founder and managing director of this operation since its inception. Today, he serves as the President and Principal of this wholly owned operation.
In 2012, Dominion expanded its reach to include 9 states, covering most of the east coast. In late 2014, the company changed its name to LifeStyle Aviation, in order to better reflect the services offered to clients, which include access to the modern aviation lifestyle. Since then, the company has continued to expand its sales of both new and used modern planes.
From 2017 to 2021, LifeStyle Aviation has been the leading seller of Diamonds in North America. In late 2020, it was officially recognized as the largest exclusive dealer for 25 states in the US. One of the key factors contributing to the success of LifeStyle has been the creation of the DiamondShare program, as well as the establishment of a team of forward-thinking flight center partners known as the LifeStyle Aviation Network Partners.
What types of airplanes do you sell?
Our Network sells both new and used aircraft. We have consistently been recognized by Diamond as their top national distributor. Our inventory of used aircraft, which is showcased on our inventory page, typically consists of piston singles and twins from reputable manufacturers such as Beechcraft, Cessna, Piper, Mooney, Diamond, Cirrus, and others. You will find one of the best selections of high-quality aircraft anywhere, ranging from two-place trainers to single and twin turbo props.
In 2021, LifeStyle launched LifeStyleJets.com, a specialized group focused on turbine aircraft. Whether it's a jet or a piston aircraft, we regularly accept trades from our customers to facilitate an easy sale and provide guidance to clients regarding the tax advantages of aircraft ownership. If you are interested in selling your aircraft, please let us know, and we will leverage the power of our entire network to assist you.
How long have you been in business?
LifeStyle Aviation is a wholly owned DBA operation of Five Star Marketing Inc., which has been in business since 2002. Dominion Aircraft Sales was formed in 2007. Due to sales success, Dominion was appointed by Diamond to cover 9 states, encompassing the majority of the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions on the east coast.
In 2014, Dominion was renamed as LifeStyle Aviation, and since then, LifeStyle has continued to expand with additional representatives and flight centers across the country. As a result, LifeStyle now has extensive coverage in the US and also conducts significant export business worldwide.
Why should I consider working with you?
On a personal level, I am committed to working with my clients as a trusted counselor through a structured professional process that is designed to help them meet their aviation goals and objectives and acquire the plane that is right for them in the most economical way, in the least amount of time. On a corporate level, we train each of our counselors to use this approach and focus on developing trust as the foundation for helping our customers. We deal only in the finest new and used airplanes.
We know that if we help clients make a good decision now, they will come back to us to buy their next airplane. And if we do not have the right plane for a client in our inventory, then we will find it for them. Our goal is not to "sell an airplane," but to help clients buy and achieve their aviation lifestyle goal.
How much will it cost?
First, there are no fees for the advice and experience we provide through our "buying process". We do, of course, make a margin on the new and used aircraft we sell to support our marketing and service efforts. If clients choose to use our brokerage marketing services, we will earn an "industry standard" fixed percentage for the sale, which will be reduced by 1% if they are also purchasing a new aircraft from us. We will review all financial details upfront and in detail so there are no surprises.
Commission paid in many cases is shared with agents and referral sources that help through the network. Many clients benefit from using LifeStyle as their "Acquisition or Buyer's Agent". This approach is highly recommended when buying aircraft at a higher value and complexity that maybe the client has not had experience with before.
How will we work together?
I am a little different from your typical aircraft salesman. I value your time and mine. I have a method and a process that can help us identify your ideal aircraft and assist you in achieving your dreams and business objectives. I will ask you to engage in a step-by-step process. You will be in charge every step of the way. If you like the recommendations, we can proceed to the next step. If you don't, we won't. There will be no tactics or pressure... just an honest counselor approach to helping you achieve your objectives. I expect that we will reach an agreement for each step, and I will expect you to keep your agreements, just as you can expect me to keep mine. It's simple, straightforward, and upfront.
If you haven't already gone through the initial "discovery process" with me, I invite you to send me an email and let me know when we could schedule a 30-minute phone call to get started. Please understand that the vast majority of the people I work with are not currently in the market. This process is designed to help buyers transition from their current situation to the desired situation on a timeline that makes sense for them. If you are currently an aircraft owner, we should definitely talk so that I can enter the information about your aircraft into my system and contact you if I have someone looking for that type of aircraft in the future, which could offer you additional options.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with you.
Start with the customer – find out what they want and give it to them.
We don't sell aircraft. We help people buy. Our process is aimed to help clients achieve the aviation lifestyle of their dreams. It's personally very rewarding to help people in this way.