Richard Zaher is the founder and CEO of Paramount Business Jets. He is a pilot as well as a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Studies. A seasoned international jet charter expert, entrepreneur, humanitarian and the recipient of the “Eagle Excellence Award” at the 2012 NBAA convention, he is an active member of the Air Charter Association North America, National Business Aviation Association, Baltic Air Charter Association, European Business Aviation Association, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Discuss your career path since graduating from Embry-Riddle?
When I graduated from ERAU, I was ready to take on the world. Based on my major of Aerospace Studies, I had a great background in Science, Humanity and Aviation Safety. I also had over 400 hours of flight time. Now there was a decision to make upon graduation. To either continue to fly and become a flight instructor (to build more time), or to go to NYC and work on my other passions, “Sales” and “Movies”.
After much due diligence I decided to move to NYC. I intended to survive by working as a salesperson and selling the most expensive products available to support myself. Also, I did not need to drive or own a car in NYC. This plan was in process without knowing until much later, that the expensive product I would sell were private jets.
What advice do you have for current students in order to be successful in the job market?
My first job after graduating was working for a company selling water filtration systems in New York City. By this time I was ready to take any job my mom would approve. I had found the ad in the NY Times employment section. Soon, all the employees were watching a video and learning about testing and proving that existing water needed filtration. I was willing to give this job a fair chance, until I found out that there was a membership fee involved on my part, and I would have to get my friends involved. My short-term goal and high hopes of becoming the most successful water filtration salesperson in NYC ended with a screeching halt.
I am a firm believer of creating our own reality. We influence our future by our actions of today. Developing skills such as leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to work well with others certainly helps. But on a grand scale, I suggest to learn to listen to that little voice of yours in the back your mind and it will guide you and tell you right from wrong on your journey. At first you may have to take on odd jobs to survive, but long term it will be important to develop a specialty and a career that you love. Build on your strengths, compensate for weaknesses and value differences. The rest is as Elvis said: “The world’s a stage, and each must play a part”.
Can you discuss your current venture as the founder of Paramount Business Jets?
I have a dream job and I love every minute of my work. As the CEO of the company I am involved in every aspect of our operations such as marketing, sales, accounting, technology development and future growth. I personally work with a few clients considering my schedule. Some trips I am currently working on are:
- Organizing a series of flights for a Royal Princess and her family around Europe by private jet.
- Organizing a sports team VIP charter for a group of 45 passengers.
- Arranging a private charter for a well known Corporate Executive and his family to vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
Tell us about Paramount Business Jets and what you contribute its success to?
I started Paramount Business Jets in NYC in 2005. My aim was to create a more cost effective and reliable way to fly private, through the use of technology and fair ethical business practices. We are a worldwide private jet charter brokerage offering private jet charter flights to and from any destination in the world with as little as 4 hours of notice. We represent our clients in the marketplace for safety, reliability, quality equipment and price.
We don’t own any aircraft. Instead, we have developed a network of over 15,000 accredited aircraft of all sizes available for hire, which we contract to provide our clients the safest jets at the lowest prices. Our method of flying privately is Charter, the most cost effective option when compared to Whole Ownership, Fractional Ownership and/or Fixed Hourly Jet Card Programs.
The innovations in technology in recent years have transformed the air charter brokerage industry to become more resourceful. Our website (www.paramountbusinessjets.com) alone has over 10,000 pages, including every private jet aircraft type and specifications, airports worldwide, instant charter quote system, time and distance calculator, airport proximity tool, a charter jet glossary developed by Riddle students and much more.
We are currently researching over 1000 charters a month and we grew 1093% between 2009 and 2012. In 2013 Paramount Business Jets ranked as the 2nd fastest growing travel company in America by INC 500.
I contribute our success to our dedicated, experienced and talented Team Members with whom I have the pleasure to work with, our ability to provide excellent and personalized service to our clients and most important, our corporate culture of fair and ethical business practices. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my honorable professors who helped me to personally develop between 1994 and 1999, extraordinary Faculty at ERAU for all their kind support, Cafeteria Staff and Financial Aid Department, Office of Admissions, ERAU Career Services, ERAU Flight Department, ERAU Alumni Relations and Association, Director of Development as well as all the bright and intelligent ERAU interns that have worked with us and helped us over the years.
I would like to give special thanks to ERAU Professor, Educator and Aviator, Dr. Margaret F. Klemm for being one of our Honored Advisors and believing in our vision. I would like to thank Professor and Dr. Janet Preston for taking the time to explain life’s journey through philosophy. I would like to thank my first Flight Instructor, Craig A. Siemer (he is First Officer now for Delta Airlines and on our Board of Advisors) for expertly teaching me how to fly and being a role model. Thank you to Dr. Norman Brown for helping me learn more about myself through psychology and Dr. Robert Oxley for being an inspiration and making me think. Finally, I would like to thank Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for making an invaluable and ongoing contribution to my career and my life.