Along with our trusted advisors, ESAero has become a coalition of industry design leaders

Leadership Team
Ilker "Ike" Bayraktar, CDR, USN (retired), EDO

ESAero Shareholder,

Chairman of the Board,


Mr. Bayraktar is the founder of Electricore Inc.(established in 1993), which is a government / industry consortium, he currently serves as a Member of the Board of Directors, Secretary/Treasurer,and President & CEO for this organization.

Mr. Bayraktar was also the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Batcore Inc. (established in 2006 and ceased operations in 2015).

Mr. Bayraktar served as a member of the Board of Directors,I-Power Technologies (2001-2003) which was a joint venture of Delco RemyAmerica, Detroit Edison and AeroVironment (AV).

Mr. Bayraktar also served as a member of the Board of Directors; AV-SRL (2007-2009) (an Italian Company which is 100% owned by AeroVironment Inc.).

Mr. Bayraktar is one the principals of Colibri EnterprisesLLC.

Mr. Bayraktar currently also serves as Chairman of ESAero Inc., (Empirical Systems Aerospace).

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Deborah Jelen

Vice Chairman of the Board,

ESAero Business Systems

Ms. Jelen has thirty five years of management and engineering experience with major companies including Electricore, Inc., AeroVironment, Olin Aerospace, Rocket Research Company and Hughes Aircraft Company. Her background includes leadership roles in the development and manufacture of electric and hybrid vehicles, unmanned air vehicles (UAV), solid rocket systems, infrared detection products, and a broad array of associated electronics and energy storage technologies.

Ms‭. ‬Jelen has lead corporate resources and the development of supply chains‭, ‬including certification of small and disadvantaged‭ ‬businesses‭. ‬Most recently‭, ‬she serves as the Executive Director of Electricore‭, ‬Inc‭., ‬where she is responsible for management of‭ ‬all aspects of a technology non-profit consortium including execution of multi-partner teaming development programs for Department of Energy‭, ‬Defense and Transportation under Other Transaction Agreements‭ (‬OTA‭). ‬She holds a B.S‭. ‬in Mechanical Engineering from University of California‭, ‬Santa Barbara‭, ‬and a M.S‭. ‬in Systems Management from University of Southern California‭.‬

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Andrew R. Gibson

President & CEO,

Member of the Board,


Mr. Gibson is currently President & CEO, Member of the Board, and Co-Founder of Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. He is responsible for overall business management, strategic direction, business development,customer facing actions, and contract management oversight of the 52 employee San Luis Obispo, CA based Aerospace Engineering Small Business.He has 17 years of experience in the construction and management of design, technology demonstrator, prototype, design for manufacturing and manufacturing programs.

He has 12 direct years of experience leading or supporting all of ESAero’s All-Electric, Hybrid-Electric and Hybrid Electric Distributed Propulsion Programs, which all began with the ESAero ECO-150 (now ECO-150R) Turbo-Electric Distributed Propulsion Transport Aircraft.Mr. Gibson is a Subject Matter Expert on HEDP and TeDP systems for transformational and transport aircraft and participates in the NASA sponsored TeDP Workshops, NASA/AFRL “LEAPTECH”, the Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop, and has been a panel member during innovative TeDP sessions at various AIAA and SAE conferences.

Mr. Gibson has been invited to submit papers both domestically and internationally to discuss and present ESAero’s work in Hybrid Electric. He recently spoke on several AIAA Forum 360 Panels at AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2015, AVIATION 2017, SciTech 2018, AVIATION 2018,AVIATION 2019, Propulsion & Energy 2019, and SAE Aerotech 2019. He is a member of the AIAA V/STOL TC, is Technical Chair for the committee sponsored 2016 International Powered Lift Conference, Transformational Flight PC, and the Green Engineering PC, where he recently concluded 2 years as the Committee Chair. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

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Benjamin T. Schiltgen

CFO and VP of Finance,

Member of the Board,


Mr. Schiltgen is one of the founding partners and current CFO,Vice President of Finance, and Member of the Board for Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. With a B.Sc. degree in Aerospace Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, his responsibilities are multifaceted including business financial health and strategy, design group leadership and management, program management, and business management and development support.

Mr. Schiltgen is a Subject Matter Expert on Hybrid Electric(HEDP) and Turbo Electric Distributed Propulsion (TeDP) and participates in the NASA sponsored TeDP Workshops and NASA/AFRL “LEAPTECH”, Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop (AIAA), and Aircraft Electric/Hybrid Electric Power and Propulsion Working Group (AIAA). He also continues to author technical papers in the field of propulsion design and performance under the umbrella of HEDP and maintains active involvement in AIAA and other domestic/international conferences and organizations.

Additionally, Mr. Schiltgen has extensive experience in high end UAV and RPV components and the integration of electric systems into air frames. Much time has been spent in investigating and demonstrating, with focus on performance and failure limits, high power density electric ducted fans (EDF), motors, controllers, and power and signal carriers in airborne vehicles for several private companies.

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Trevor J. Foster


Aerospace Engineer,


Trevor Foster is a founding partner and Vice President of Operations for Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. Trevor’s responsibilities within the company have him wearing many hats ranging from detailed design, fabrication, and project management to the expansion and growth of new facilities including the establishment of scalable cost-effective manufacturing capabilities. He additionally has provided technical business development support for UAV payload selection and performance. Including the development of a cloud-based interactive database.

Mr. Foster has also had experience organizing and managing projects at Empirical Systems Aerospace. He was the project manager for a team working in conjunction with Lockheed Martin ADP on a sub-scale VTOL flight demonstrator program. He has been manager for a program building small UAS and support equipment for Lockheed Martin MFC. Including maintaining a near JIT inventory system.

Mr. Foster was the PI for ESAero on the NASA HEIST ‘LeapTech’ Wing being conducted under Empirical System’s PhaseIII SBIR, Design and Fabrication of a Hybrid Electric Integrated System Testbed(HEIST). This project has evolved into one of his current major roles as again PI for ESAero, as Prime, on the development and integration of the most recent NASA X-Plane (X-57), ‘Maxwell’.

Also in work is the design and fabrication of a test-stand for multiple 5,200kw electric motors for the purposes of investigating failures modes for feedback into a prognostics and health management tool. From these programs, Mr. Foster, has generated an extensive knowledge in the area of instrumentation, electric motor/motor controller,traction power systems, and battery systems. Mr. Foster is a member of AIAA, AFA, GAMA, and Tripoli. He additionally holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering, from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

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Jac Fagundo


Jac Fagundo serves as the Chief Information Officer at Empirical Systems Aerospace. Mr. Fagundo is responsible for Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Enterprise Resource Planning. Prior to joining ESAero, Mr. Fagundo was responsible for all cybersecurity operations for the largest county in the United States. He brings to the company 30+ years as Senior‐level cybersecurity executive, having held diverse technology roles including information security, network management, risk management, consulting, and departmental project leadership. Mr. Fagundo’s diverse, hands‐on experience translates to a strong understanding of business needs and tactical strategies that help the company achieve organizational goals through innovative technology solutions and resources. A strong leader with consistent delivery of technology solutions that protect the organization’s information assets, Mr. Fagundo brings a passion for innovation and change that results in significant operating efficiencies.

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Bruce Lathrop


Mr. Lathrop has thirty seven years of experience in the aerospace, defense, and software industries, starting off as an avionics engineer at McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) before moving to the legal profession as an associate attorney at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Los Angeles, a business attorney at Esri in Redlands, California, and, through various boutique law firms, a legal advisor to CEOs and entrepreneurs on a range of patent, trade secret, licensing, government contract, corporate, and commercial transactions, litigation, and internal investigations.

Mr. Lathrop earned a juris doctor from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles.

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About ESAero

The ESAero mission is to specialize in cost-effective development of innovative and advanced concepts, with emphasis on simple honesty and a track record of commitment.

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