2018 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Kellee Valentine

Oct. 1, 2018

Kellee Valentine
Vice President, Flight Operations
Age: 37

  • Alma Mater: No college degree, a few classes short from Embry-Riddle B.S. Aeronautical Science
  • Favorite Aircraft: SR-71
  • Favorite Book: Longitude by Dava Sobel
  • Favorite TV Show: None
  • Favorite Movie: Charlie Wilson’s War
  • Favorite Hobbies: Kite Surfing, Golf, Basic Aerobatics

When Kellee Valentine was growing up, he loved to talk about airplanes and spaceships, but the idea of being able to make money as a pilot seemed like an impossible dream.

Valentine had a scholarship out of high school to attend law school, but he met a retired Air Force colonel who showed him it was not only possible, but then offered a scholarship to teach him to fly.

“I get to work around good people who share the same passion and are motivated to succeed,” he said. “It’s not a job where you go in and punch a clock and go home. Everyone is on a mission and we’re all in this together.”

As vice president of flight operations for ACI Jet, Valentine is instilling a drive for fearless creativity in solution building to create one of the most effective and efficient flight departments in the aviation industry; all so more focus can be given to client satisfaction and pilot quality of life.

To do this means his most crucial work is often finding solutions to the tedious problems that permeate the everyday processes of flight operations.

Knowing that properly aligning the smallest details can produce the greatest rewards, Valentine chose to tackle one of the biggest drains on time and resources that eats away at productivity and morale: revisions to the operations manual.

Faced with 24 man-hours and 4 days of work every time updates are published, he foresaw a complete transformation to this process and how much each member of his team would benefit.

Valentine recognized the value and ingenuity of their system and personally implemented the program, getting ACI online in roughly four weeks. Immediately, the time of publishing updates was cut by 90 percent, down to 3 hours in one day. The form is cleaner, searchable and trackable, accessible via an app, and has been so successful within flight operations, that with Valentine’s guidance, ACI Jet has found great results implementing it in other areas of the company as well

When Valentine reveals a new algorithm that will save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and maximize the most efficient flying of an aircraft, he may not relish the idea of telling the pilots they have to fly slower, but he’ll do it with such compassion and care for their performance that they’ll enjoy the change, and even affectionately give this way of flying a name: the “Kellee Curve.”