Ed Kokoszka For ISTAT Board of Directors
Ed “Koko” Kokoszka started his career in aviation by joining the United States Air Force, where he advanced to become the commander of a Launch Control Center in the mid-western United States.
After serving his country, he returned to school and received his MBA at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford. Upon graduation, he joined International Aero Engines (IAE) and, subsequently, Pratt & Whitney.
His career has been defined by leadership roles in the sales and marketing of aviation assets, including direct support for the global lessor community.
After retiring from Pratt & Whitney, his love for aviation drew him back into the industry, and TrueAero was honored to welcome him to the team as Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing in May, 2018.
Koko and ISTAT
At Pratt & Whitney, Koko was coordinator for ISTAT involvement and was instrumental in recruiting senior management for speaking engagements, securing increasing levels of sponsorship funds, and providing guidance to ISTAT leadership from an OEM perspective.
Some of the policies and procedures in place today at ISTAT were implemented in direct response to Koko’s early suggestions.
Koko remains a strong advocate of the ISTAT principles of education and opportunity. His endorsement of ISTAT has led to active participation among TrueAero’s leadership team in ISTAT events and fundraisers.
Through Koko’s influence, several ISTAT scholarship recipients are now full-time employees at TrueAero, and they continue to thrive in large part due to the education and support they received from ISTAT.
All of us at TrueAero are proud of Koko’s willingness to dedicate time and effort to the advancement of the global aviation community. We support Koko wholeheartedly.
Koko’s platform consists of four main points, each designed to benefit ISTAT members, the ISTAT organization, and the aviation industry as a whole.
ISTAT has always been first and foremost about providing valuable networking and educational opportunities to its members. With the growing volume of young and new-to-aviation professionals joining our ranks, ISTAT is well placed to develop programs that support both of these goals through facilitating connections between newcomers and industry veterans.
Mentorship strengthens the ISTAT member base as well as our industry by ensuring that the lessons we’ve learned throughout our careers are passed down to future aviation leaders, and new perspectives are introduced to today’s decision makers sooner rather than later.
ISTAT Connect conferences ought to include at least one social hour in which young professionals and industry veterans are aligned in the pursuit of identifying potential long-term mentor/mentee relationships, where deal-making and fleet planning take a backseat to personal development.
Additionally, the ISTAT website, directory, and Community App should provide the ability for experienced professionals to indicate we are willing to be mentors and are open to younger folks reaching out to start that conversation.
Between corporate sponsors, corporate members, and individual members, ISTAT represents an incredibly large pool of job openings and potential recruits. There is no reason a member of ISTAT should struggle to find a job.
The ISTAT Foundation already provides an internship portal where eligible students can apply for internships at participating companies. The ISTAT website is perfectly capable of leveraging technology that is already built to provide a similar, convenient job portal where companies post open positions and ISTAT members in all stages of their careers browse, apply, and receive email notifications for jobs.
Hiring can be an inefficient headache for everyone involved, and ISTAT is uniquely positioned to make that process easier and more effective for its members.
One of the drivers of ISTAT’s amazing growth and loyal member base is the impressive calendar of events held each year around the world. From ISTAT Americas/ Asia/ EMEA/ Latin America to Holiday receptions to chalets at the Paris, Farnborough, and Dubai Airshows, ISTAT has nearly covered the globe with annual gatherings.
We should complement these keystone events, which have become so valuable to so many, with a program to empower the creation of local ISTAT chapters by members willing to put in the time and dedication.
ISTAT Local chapters would host their own social, networking, and educational events, bringing these critical functions to members who may not always have the means or authorization from their employers to attend Connect.
Furthermore, ISTAT Local chapters would act as important aviation ambassadors to cities all over the world as they engaged in local volunteer work and ISTAT Foundation fundraising events, boosting the cache our industry and drawing in more professionals from other industries.
Finally, ISTAT Local chapters would act as classrooms and “study halls” for students in the ISTAT U 2.0 program and the upcoming ISTAT U 3.0 program, who have taken the admirable initiative to further their aviation education, and would benefit from engaging with other students and professionals in person.
As our membership grows in volume it also grows in geographical and industry sector diversity. Where once we were a few dozen North American appraisers, now we are global organization with representatives from nearly every sector of the aviation industry: appraisers, airlines, lessors, MROs, OEMs, traders, bankers, and more.
With this new reality comes a unique opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the other links in our collective supply chain. A handful of times per year, our suppliers, our customers, and our investors can all be found in a single room.
ISTAT should facilitate the next evolutionary step of this unprecedented access by organizing the ISTAT Exchange.
Once or twice per year, interested members with permission from their employers swap desks with counterparties at other companies, in other sectors of aviation. For one week, members are given the opportunity to work alongside their colleagues at non-competing organizations—learning how they do business, what they value, where opportunities exist for cooperation between their organizations, and, at the very least, gaining a more nuanced perspective of the industry we love.