H. Lee Rohde III

Essex Aviation Celebrates Landmark 10-Year Anniversary

H. Lee Rohde III
H. Lee Rohde III President & CEO
Essex Aviation Celebrates Landmark 10-Year Anniversary

10 Years in Business, Over 100 Years of Experience

The Essex Aviation team looks back over the last 10 years as they celebrate a landmark anniversary.

When Lee Rohde founded Essex Aviation Group in September 2013, he did so with a simple mission: To put his decades of experience in the private aviation industry to good use by providing clients with honest, unbiased advice. After years of working for another consulting company, Lee was eager to strike out on his own and build something for himself.

“I’ve always been self-motivated and enjoyed working independently,” says Lee. “Creating my own company felt like both the natural evolution of that and the logical next step for my career.”

It didn’t hurt that many of his former clients were eager to work with him again, which gave him the extra push he needed to get started.

From the beginning, Lee envisioned having a small team — and the first addition to that team was Tom Mitchell. Tom, an FAA licensed Aviation Maintenance Technician and the former department manager of a Fortune 500 company, brought decades’ worth of management, operational and technical experience to the table. Lee and Tom had worked together in the past after being introduced through a mutual industry connection. Lee and Tom have always shared a common vision and complementary areas of expertise, which made their partnership a natural fit.

“When Lee decided to start Essex, it was my hope and expectation that the company would take off — and I’m amazed by just how much it did,” says Tom. “I’m so glad that Lee and I get to continue collaborating, and we often marvel at how fortunate we are to truly enjoy what we’re doing.”

A few years later, Mike Moore joined Essex, rounding out the team and bringing an additional 25 years of experience in the private aviation industry to the table.

“I’ve worked with almost every major brokerage in the industry, and over time you learn which companies are putting in the work and advocating for their clients, and which ones aren’t,” says Mike. “It was clear to me through the many conversations I’ve had with Lee and Tom over the years that Essex is a solid company and holds high standards for themselves, their clients and their partners.”

In addition to Essex’s sterling reputation within the industry, Mike was also attracted to the longevity of the company’s client relationships — the result of their client-minded focus — and the size of the team.

“After working with multiple large companies, I was ready to return to a smaller organization,” says Mike. “Essex felt like the kind of place where I could share my ideas and trust that they’d be heard, and where people are candid with each other.”

Candor is a key component of the Essex ideology. All of Essex’s transactional and consulting services are paid only by their clients — the team doesn’t take commissions or referral fees — so clients never have to worry about being pushed in one direction or another and can trust that they’re receiving unbiased advice tailored to their unique needs.

Although it may not always be the popular choice — this level of transparency sometimes requires telling clients things they don’t want to hear — Essex’s commitment to operating with honesty and integrity and doing right by their clients has earned them a loyal following, long-term relationships and numerous referrals from happy clients.

“We’ve worked with many first-time buyers who, based on how positive their experience was and how we set them up for success, made us their consultancy of choice,” says Tom. “We’re still working with many of those clients years later.”

“Part of the reason we’re able to compete with some of the biggest brokerage firms in the world — all of which have larger teams and substantial resources — is because we take a personal approach, rather than a transactional one,” adds Lee. “We do the legwork and are always happy to take the time to clearly explain things to our clients and answer any questions they might have.”

Even in the face of major challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which all but brought domestic and international travel to a halt, Essex Aviation has been able to continue to support a wide range of client requirements both for the short and long term.

“The COVID-19 experience naturally brought on a multitude of challenges, but it also proved that what we have to offer to our clients is unique and valuable,” says Tom. “That knowledge motivated us to push through and continually support both new and existing clients.”

Essex’s survival through difficult times is a testament to the extensive array of services the company offers, which enables them to stay agile and adaptable, and to the strength of their client and partner relationships. Speaking of those partner relationships, the Essex team is proud to work with some of the top-tier companies in their industry across numerous verticals, including legal, technology, financing, original equipment manufacturers and aircraft management.

So, what’s next for Essex Aviation Group?

Lee, Tom and Mike all agree that providing unbiased, expert advice and high-quality service remains a top priority — though they’re also keen to keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry and stay current on any developing trends or changes.

“Being knowledgeable of both the business and technical aspects of aircraft enables us to do our jobs better,” says Lee, “and that requires working closely with our partners to stay informed.”

In closing, Lee had the following message for clients and business partners:

“We greatly appreciate the clients we’ve had the opportunity to support and the partners we’ve had the opportunity to work with, and we look forward to continuing those relationships. We promise to continue to provide honest, transparent and ethical service, to prioritize quality over quantity, and to never compromise on integrity. Thank you for supporting Essex these past 10 years — we look forward to the next 10.”

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