Soaring Success: Tom Abood's Private Jet Ownership Path

From legal briefs to business strategies, aided by a Cessna Citation CJ4: Fabrizio Poli learns more about the unconventional career path of Tom Abood, and how private jet ownership helped...

Fabrizio Poli  |  04th January 2024
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    Fabrizio Poli
    Fabrizio Poli

    Fabrizio Poli is Senior Consultant at Orville Aviation. He is also an Airline Transport Pilot. Mr. Poli...

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    Soaring Success: Tom Abood's Private Jet Ownership Path

    Tom Abood’s entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a passion for aviation, has propelled him to the position of CEO at EVO Transportation & Energy Services, Inc. and prominent figure in the Multi-Family Real Estate sector.

    His professional trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable, having transitioned from a legal career to becoming a key player in the business world.

    After a few years of practising law, Tom became Part- Owner and Executive Vice President at Dougherty Financial Group, LLC. As it happened, his boss was an avid aviation enthusiast, introducing Tom to the world of General Aviation.

    Over two decades, Tom actively engaged in five or six aircraft acquisitions and dispositions, gaining valuable insights into how private aviation can significantly benefit businesses.

    After 20 years with Dougherty Financial Group, Tom felt it was time to spread his wings, leaving the company to become involved in EVO Transportation & Energy Services, Inc, a national trucking firm serving the USPS and other freight customers.

    He ended up becoming the CEO of that company, and that brought him from Minnesota to Arizona in 2020, where Tom is also involved in a Multi-Family Real Estate venture with his private jet partner.

    Taking Flight: Tom’s Introduction to Private Aviation

    Tom has been flying since 1997 and holds commercial and private pilot certificates with single engine, multi engine and instrument ratings. He holds a type rating in the Cessna 525 series of jets.

    Having qualified for, and received, the CJP Gold Standard Safety Award in each year of its existence, his six airplane ownership history includes a Beechcraft Bonanza A36, Beechcraft Baron B58, Beechcraft King Air C90A, Cessna Citation CJ2, Cessna Citation CJ3 and a Cessna Citation CJ4. To date, Tom has amassed over 4,200 hours of flying.

    At around the time Tom was flying his CJ3 and was considering what his next jet should be, he was approached by another Arizona-based aircraft owner (Stuart) who wasn’t flying as much and who suggested they partner-up to acquire a factory-new Citation CJ4.

    Since entering into CJ4 co-ownership, the arrangement has worked well for both partners. “We have a schedule that's fairly well planned out,” Tom explains. “Our travel habits are relatively consistent. We're entering our fourth year of this partnership, so we know each other's routines, and we're very compatible.

    “Stuart bends over backwards to make the airplane available to me, and if there's a conflict I try and do the same for him. You know, occasionally the airplane's just not available on a date one of us would like to travel,” but it’s no big deal, he adds.

    Using a Private Jet Ownership to Maximize Productivity

    Over the years, the airplanes that Tom has flown have been essential to helping him achieve success in the business world.

    Pictured left, Tom Abood with his CJ4 co-owner Stuart

    Tom can recount many times where use of his own airplane enabled him to get to vital meetings. “If I didn't have the airplane, then relying on commercial schedules would have either had me away from my family much longer than I wanted, or [made it impossible] to make the meetings on the schedule that I wanted.”

    Sitting on several Boards of Directors, he adds “when you're trying to make board meetings that are on a fixed schedule, but you have other things that come up around it after the time of the meetings being calendared, it's a challenge to try and make everything work.

    “Having an airplane solves a lot of those challenges,” he adds. “I can come and go on the schedule that works best for me, not necessarily the one dictated by the scheduled airlines.”

    Thus, flying his own jet enables Tom to be more productive with his time, to be in many more places than he could otherwise be, and maximize the productivity of his time – all while keeping the balance of not being away from home for longer than he would like. His schedule remains within his own hands.

    The Importance of Private Jet Training

    As an owner-pilot, training and flight safety are essential components to Tom’s ongoing success. Flying since 1997, he describes his path as having been a “gradual, steady progression of both pilot ratings as well as capabilities in terms of aircraft that I've owned”.

    Stepping up to flying jets was a major transition which he says enhanced his safety approach. “Prior to this, like many pilots I was mostly an island,” he elaborates. “I flew my airplane and I talked with other pilots occasionally.

    “But when I got into flying jets, I got introduced to the owner-pilot group the Citation Jet Pilots Association, and that was transformational for me. I became enthralled with its mission to provide benefits for members, safety, and good fellowship.”

    Tom became very involved with the Citation Jet Pilots Association board and safety committee. “We've developed a whole series of things to try and up our game to better flying, starting with a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

    “While SOPs are not binding like they would be for a commercial airline, they’re designed to get each of us to abide by very similar types of standards, duty days, when we'll launch, what types of weather conditions and personal minimums [we’ll fly], for example.”

    Interestingly, while there have been several Cessna Citation jet crashes over the last few years, none have been from members of the association. “Interestingly, most of those – if not nearly all of them – are in crewed aircraft, not in single-pilot operated jets,” he highlights.

    “So we're trying to do our part to make sure that we are adding to the safety equation for operators of Citation jets.”

    Ultimately, Tom's success story embodies the fusion of business acumen and a love for aviation. Living in Paradise Valley, Arizona with his wife Amara and their three children, he continues to thrive as a Director of the Citation Jet Pilots Association and serves on various corporate and charitable boards.

    Tom’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion, resilience, and the boundless opportunities that take flight when dreams and determination collide.

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