D. Andrew Ferguson | Douglas McConnell | Bess Vrettos | Jay J. Ross
D. Andrew Ferguson and partner Douglas McConnell founded PHASTAR Corporation in the Fall of 2010. In 2011 Mr. Ferguson was appointed as President and Director of Operations and is responsible for the overall direction and operations of the corporation.
In addition to working with PHASTAR, Mr. Ferguson currently serves as a captain for PHI Air Medical flying a dual pilot, IFR, Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. He previously served as the Aviation Manager for MetroHealth System’s Metro Life Flight program, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of Metro’s four aircraft and thirty-four aviation staff. Metro Life Flight, transporting approximately 2000 patients annually, has experienced significant changes in recent years. As Aviation Manager, Mr. Ferguson was also responsible for the strategic planning and vision of the aviation operations, including development and implementation of the program’s new basing plan, assisting with the development of an RFP for the hospital to select a new aviation vendor, aircraft and aviation vendor transition planning and implementation, and the development of Instrument Flight infrastructure to allow increased weather capabilities. Prior to serving as the Aviation Manager, Mr. Ferguson flew as a line pilot for Life Flight.
Mr. Ferguson grew up in Northeast Ohio, and has a demonstrated, life-long commitment to serving this community and realizing excellence in aeronautics and public safety. He joined his local fire department as a volunteer during his junior year at University School, and has served as a firefighter for more than two decades. Mr. Ferguson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a Masters of Public Health degree from Cleveland State University with graduate certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management, and is a certified firefighter/EMT and Rescue Technician. Mr. Ferguson is an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI/CFII) in helicopters and has been flying since 1989, when he first strapped into a small two-seat Cessna in Portage County, Ohio.
Mr. Ferguson and Mr. McConnell started working together in 2004 at DougMac Air Limited, a Helicopter Air Carrier providing Helicopter Charter and Electronic News Gathering (ENG) services, where Mr. Ferguson served as director of operations. Through their combined sixty plus years of experience in Northern Ohio’s aviation industry, Mr. Ferguson and Mr. McConnell gained tremendous insight into what produces success in the skies above Northeast Ohio. Together, they envision providing higher quality, more affordable service and a reduction of the tax burden on Northeast Ohio.
Douglas McConnell co-founded PHASTAR Corporation in the Fall of 2010 with D. Andrew Ferguson. Mr. McConnell serves on the Board of Directors as Vice President and is responsible for the finances and direction of the corporation.
In addition to his activities with PHASTAR, Mr. McConnell currently owns and operates MRK Aviation, Inc. As the owner and President of MRK Aviation, Mr. McConnell directly oversees the multiple operations including airport management (Lorain County Airport), a FBO (Fixed-Base Operator), flight management and training services.
Prior to his current endeavors, Mr. McConnell has provided his vision and leadership in several successful aviation companies in Northeast, Ohio. One of his greatest endeavors was Global Ground Services, Inc. & Aviation Ground Services, LTD. Starting with three locations in the Midwest, Mr. McConnell was able to guide the company to a total of eighteen locations across the United Stated, sales in excess of $35 million per year and a work force of over 900 employees. In 1999, Mr. McConnell successfully sold Global Ground Services and Aviation Ground Services. After a short hiatus, he returned to Lorain County Airport where his professional career began almost thirty years prior. From his beginnings as a General Manager of the Fixed-Base Operator in Lorain County, to his current project as owner and president of MRK Aviation, Mr. McConnell has proven his entrepreneurship in successfully launching and managing more than five Northeast Ohio based aviation companies.
Mr. McConnell hired Mr. Ferguson in 2004 as Director of Operations for DougMac Air Limited, a Helicopter Air Carrier providing Helicopter Charter and Electronic News Gathering (ENG) services. They have successfully operated two separate helicopter news contracts in Cleveland, a flight school and for the past five years worked to determine how they could improve the helicopter air medical services in our region. Together, they envision providing higher quality, more affordable service and a reduction of the tax burden on Northeast Ohio.
Public & Government Affairs
A co-founder and president of SVA Communications, Inc., Bess Vrettos has built the firm from a small one room office to a mid-sized firm that operates from offices in the trendy” Tremont area of Cleveland’s near west side.
Her skills as an organizer, consultant, conflict manager, and negotiator have been instrumental in helping companies navigate the difficult political terrain of Northeast Ohio. Ms. Vrettos has helped build Ohio’s only successful model for community aggregation of gas and electricity, and she has educated state leaders on complex issues such as school governance and energy deregulation. Ms. Vrettos has also developed an expertise in the area of government aggregation and has traveled through the country to speak at conference and share information with various government institutions.
For more than two decades, Ms. Vrettos has served as a “native guide” to those seeking to do business in Cleveland and the surrounding area. In recruiting a national team of company associates, Ms. Vrettos has molded SVA into a multi-faceted, full service consulting and strategic planning firm capable of offering client services that include writing, video production, direct mail, fundraising, marketing and advertising to name a few.
Bess Vrettos also brings her extensive campaign management skills to the firm. With more than two decades of campaign experience, Vrettos knows how to build a campaign from the ground up by properly matching the campaign management team with the candidate’s staff and campaign consultant team. Over the years, she has consulted on numerous candidate and issue races from city council, countywide office, judicial and congressional campaigns, as well as zoning referendums and tax levies.
Well known for her grass roots organizational skills, Vrettos is often regarded as the powerful engine, which pulls the campaigns to victory. She possesses a unique ability to correctly target the valuable resources of a campaign and dissect consultant’s proposals, thereby assuring that client funds are well spent and used in a timely fashion. A no-nonsense veteran of many political wars, Vrettos acts as the primary consultant on all campaign efforts of SVA Communications, Inc.
Jay J. Ross
PHASTAR Corporation Board Member
Mr. Ross is currently retired and serves as a board member for PHASTAR Corporation. He also volunteers at the Airport USO and does counseling at SCORE of Greater Cleveland.
Before his retirement in 2007, Mr. Ross was the majority owner and President of Uptime Corporation. He was responsible for the overall operation and sales activity of their repair services to retailers all over the country. Uptime’s revenue was at less than a million dollars in 2003 when purchased from LDI Corporation and grew to over six million in 2007 under the new ownership. Uptime employed thirty three people and had established over two hundred users prior to selling the company to Ultimate Technology of Victor, N.Y.
Prior to his ownership of Uptime, Mr. Ross was part owner of LDI Corporation. He was President of their service operations and developed the Marketing plan for expansion of this division. LDI Corporation was a publicly traded company and worked there for over twenty-two years.
Mr. Ross grew up in Cleveland and graduated from John Marshall High School. He attended Cleveland State University and has served on two other Boards in the Cleveland area: The Bellflower Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the College of Podiatric Medicine.