The Cutting Edge

The Faces of Leading Edge: Joe Esmerado

They say if you enjoy what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. After nearly 60 years in the aviation industry, Joe Esmerado has proven this true. He started by serving in the U.S. Navy anti-sub squadron in Norfolk, Virginia and was later deployed to the USS Intrepid from 1963 until 1967.  After obtaining his FAA Powerplant License in the Navy and his FAA Airframe License shortly after discharge, Joe moved into the business aviation space and the rest was history. In his early career he worked in Linden, NJ at a small maintenance shop and then went on to work for Faberge in their flight department.

Joe Esmerado, or Joe E as his colleagues refer to him, is the glue that holds aircraft deals at Leading Edge together. As VP of Aircraft Technical services, he oversees projects and acts as our (and your) eyes and ears on the shop floor. Is there an issue? Joe E can help! Is there a question you have? Joe E has an answer and if he doesn’t, he won’t stop until he gets it for you!

We asked Joe E some questions to gain some insight on what working in aviation for the past 60 years has meant to him:

How has the industry evolved?
Clearly the evolution is from airplanes with propellers to private aircraft with jet engines. The jet powered airplanes changed everything in our business. As the aircraft became more complex, so did the maintenance. Today, the OEM maintenance facilities have become very processed oriented in an effort to decrease scheduled maintenance downtime.

Estimate for us how many aircraft you have helped complete?
In the 1990’s, I managed maintenance for the Jet Aviation fleet which was 70 airplanes. I would approximate I have worked on about 150 aircraft in my career.

What does working at Leading Edge mean to you?
This is truly the best job I’ve had. These are the most professional individuals I have worked with in my career. We all take our work seriously, but don’t take ourselves too seriously and that is important.

What’s one piece of advice for someone looking to work in the industry?
Sweat the details and never stop asking questions.

What’s one piece of advice to someone that is buying or selling an aircraft?
*Joe E Laughs* Well, it’s the same as someone who works in this industry. Sweat the details and never stop asking questions.

Joe, what is your favorite story or aircraft you worked on?
About 5 years ago I worked on a Gulfstream in Savannah. It went off the runway in Venice, Italy and needed a major repair that took 9 months. For the first time in my entire career, I got to choose the paint colors of the airplane! Normally, I just confirm the colors are the same as the rendering. I decided to paint the airplane white with red and blue stripes to represent the American flag. A pair of prospective buyers come to look at the airplane. I explained to them the repairs and what I managed and how the airplane was completely fixed after the damage. We walk out to the airplane, and one hands me their business card. What do you know, it had a truck on it that had white with red and blue stripes. It truly was meant to be and they bought the airplane!

Predictions for 2023?
My prediction is that businesses will continue to propel themselves forward and use corporate jets to assist them. We have learned there is a buyer for every aircraft if you know where to look.

When you’re not around an airplane, what do you like to do?
Drive in my Mustang!

Leading Edge is proud to have Joe E on our team for the past 16 years, and look forward to having him for many years to come.