Richard is the Founder and CEO of Paramount Business Jets. He has over 15 years of experience in the private air charter industry. He is a former pilot and a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). An entrepreneur, actor, and philanthropist, Richard’s biography includes:
- Graduated from Herndon High School, Virginia in 1992 and started as a full-time student at ERAU in 1994.
- Became a private pilot in 1997 and graduated from ERAU in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Studies.
- Richard a.k.a Baktash played the lead role in the feature Film “Firedancer” Afghanistan’s first Academy Awards contender in 2002. A clip of the movie can be viewed here.
- Served as Chairman of Afghan American Peace Corps 2003-2005 and personally delivered 25 cows, 17 goats and 604 chickens to Afghan war widows in 2004.
- Acted with Jodie Foster in Spike Lee’s Film “Inside Man” in 2005.
- Founded Paramount Business Jets on July 1, 2005.
- He was the recipient of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Eagle Excellence Award in 2012 at the NBAA Convention.
- Paramount Business Jets made INC 500’s fastest growing company list in America in 2013, 2014 and 2018.
- Honored with invitations to the White House in 2014 and 2015.
- Served as Chairman and President of the Air Charter Association of North America from 2014 to present.
- In 2015, to honor the company’s 10th year Anniversary, Richard created the Paramount Business Jets Scholarship Fund at Embry Riddle.
- Served as Sargent in Arms of Loudoun Toastmasters in 2018 and 2019.
- Richard and Rick are nick names of “Baktash” Zaher born in Afghanistan and fled war at age 5. He arrived in the United States at age 10 with his family after living in India for 5 years.
- Married to Eve Zaher and they live in Virginia with their 4 children.
Julie O’Brien is the General Manager for ProJet Aviation, and has been with the company since 2008. She has worked in the industry for 19 years. She has been instrumental in bringing extensive tourism traffic to Leesburg through marketing efforts at the Leesburg Executive Airport, including the return of US Customs to Loudoun County.
She has worked with Airport Management, the Airport Commission, the Town of Leesburg and local charities to bring several charitable organizations and events to Loudoun County:
- The Leesburg Air Show
- Pilots N Paws
- The Loudoun Symphony Gala
- Loudoun Health’s Blue Jean Ball
- Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Events
- Town of Leesburg Business Awards
- Rotary STAR Event
- Commemorative Air Force Swing Dance
- Loudoun Brew/Hangarfest to benefit Veterans
- And… the event which she created: “The Aviation Education & Career Expo”. That event, now in its 13th year, highlights aviation careers and education opportunities to over 700 high school and college students every year. Guest speakers for this event include: Military heroes, NASA, NTSB, MWAA, and Entrepreneurs. This October, the event will give away over $388K in educational scholarships and flight training awards.
Julie has an extensive background in social work, fundraising, marketing, and advertising. She has volunteered for Loudoun Health panel discussions, participated in local and regional educational discussions, participated in the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program, and carried her ProJet Team to many awards and accolades, including:
- Washington Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work”
- Over 12 Pilot’s Choice Awards
- Town of Leesburg’s “Best New Business”
- 2 Tourism Ambassador Awards
- And Service Business of the Year
She resides in Frederick, MD with her husband of 24 years, a Department of Defense employee at Ft. Detrick, and her 21 year old daughter, a Veterinary Technician at Green Valley Animal Hospital. She believes in getting things done and bringing people together for common causes. She is looking forward to her annual term with “Best You Best Me”.
Industry professional with over 20 years’ experience in the Telecommunications community, over 15 of those years dedicated to the North American Numbering Plan Administration, (NANPA) as a Federal Communications Committee (F.C.C.) Government Contractor in Co Code implementation, Area Code Relief, and CO code reclamation processes. Founder and Executive Director for a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization called RecycleLife.org - Also proud and honored to sit on the board of directors of two separate Nonprofit Organizations, "Best You, Best Me" and "Herndon Hospitality Association" as well as a dedicated ambassador to the Washington Regional Transplant Community and Donate Life America.