New Jersey native Iannarelli attended Montclair State University and got a part-time job at Amstat, the business aviation research outfit’s first employee. That experience led to a full-time job at AeroSmith/Penny, a business aircraft dealer in Houston. There she worked her way into international sales. In 1997 she founded her own brokerage, which has a heavy focus on cross-border business aircraft sales. She was a finalist for Texas Business Woman of the Year in 2016 and 2017 and has been inducted into New Jersey’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

1. Brokering used jets can be cutthroat and male dominant.

Iannarelli: It can be rough-and-tumble with no rules, regulations or guidelines and has characters aplenty. Early in my career I was more willing to tackle the “difficult” aircraft or customer. I looked for opportunities where few had ventured, thinking I’d have a better chance of succeeding without butting heads with sales veterans, who were mostly men. But I was also intrigued by the complexity some of these transactions posed. Also, I wanted to travel. As a result, I had good success in Europe and Asia, and my name was circulated as a competent aircraft salesperson who could bridge the cultural divide between a foreign owner and the U.S. market. Today, upward of 90% of Par Avion’s sales are international.

2. Is your sales savvy native or learned?

Iannarelli: My father was career Navy, a senior chief petty officer. He was on Guam when the Japanese invaded and ended up in a prisoner of war camp for four years. While there, he learned to speak Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese. In all, he was fluent in six languages and conversational in a few more. He served as an interpreter during the Korean War and at the end of his career was a recruiter. In effect, he was a charismatic salesman with an interesting history and could speak anybody’s language. I guess I inherited some of that capability. But while I have an ear for languages, at best I stumble through two others besides English.

3. Par Avion – a curious name for a Texas brokerage.

Iannarelli: When I decided to go out on my own, I wanted a name and style that would stand apart. I was having dinner with a friend and her husband in Paris and explained my concern, and he said, “Well, the name is obvious: Par Avion. Everyone knows what that means, and everybody knows your affinity for all things French, particularly Dassault Falcon Jets.” I knew he was right and loved the double entendre: “par avion” homonymously translates to “buy airplane.” I also chose a bespoke color for the logo. Rather than yet another blue or brown or red, I chose purple, the color of royalty.

4. Business aviation has been down for a decade. Is this the new normal?

Iannarelli: Maybe – though I still hold hope that the industry will find its footing and many previous aircraft owners will find their way back. What frustrates me today is that I can’t count on a set amount of sales per year due to factors totally beyond one’s control. Deals now drag on forever, with too many “experts” trying to exert authority outside of their field of expertise and creating unrealistic expectations with regard to price for the buyer or seller. Couple that with buyers insisting on getting their way, and it has become increasingly difficult to mediate an equitable transaction. Also, missing are the small and mid-cap companies that were so important to the middle market. They are hesitant to return to aircraft ownership or have no one in top management who knows what it was like to have access to a business aircraft. I sensed more confidence and enthusiasm in the first part of the year, but Washington is broken and the ‘Trump bump’ seems to be over.

5. This year’s hurricanes didn’t help.

Iannarelli: No, but business aviation relieved a lot of the pain. After Hurricane Harvey slammed into south Texas, I contacted the NBAA and said it needed to activate the Hero program immediately. I also contacted area FBOs and asked them to accept relief supplies being flown in. Then I called a real-estate company I know well with offices throughout Houston and got them to agree to meet every airplane, document the goods delivered and then distribute them to relief organizations in local communities. Patient Airlift Services/Skyhope Network was the flight coordinator, and we had a seamless supply chain on the ground. The relief effort then shifted toward those impacted next by Hurricane Irma and most recently Marie. Business aviation really came through to help the victims of these unprecedented storms.