Sunday, October 23, 2005

James B. Kelly is combining two loves — aircraft and technology — in his latest job and hoping it takes flight.

Mr. Kelly began work this month as president and chief executive officer of Flight Explorer, an Alexandria global flight-tracking information company.

“I’m kind of an aircraft and technology junkie,” Mr. Kelly said. “I started flying as a young guy, and I’ve been involved in the technology world for most of my life, so I’m looking forward to taking the technology to another level in the aviation industry and then to expand it on a global basis.”

Flight Explorer has two products: one that allows ground crews to track an aircraft in flight and one that allows flight operators to communicate with aircraft.

Mr. Kelly hopes to bring the two products together into one system “to the point where flight operators can track and communicate with the aircraft,” he said.

Mr. Kelly succeeds Walt Kross, who led Flight Explorer for five years.

“Jim is the right person at the right time to take [Flight Explorer] to the next level, and our many aviation-related customers should look forward to expanded products and services in the future,” Mr. Kross said.

Mr. Kelly has spent most of his professional career working with international clients or in international relations. He was the vice president of international programs at SAIC, an engineering company with offices in San Diego and McLean. He was deputy assistant secretary of Africa and South Asia during President Reagan’s second administration, responsible for economic relations with 72 countries.

He is hoping to use that experience to bring Flight Explorer some international clients.

“The international side of the equation has proved invaluable to us as a marketplace,” Mr. Kelly said. “It has a lot of room to grow.”

Before joining Flight Explorer, Mr. Kelly was founder and chief executive officer of SynXis, a hotel reservation management software company with headquarters in Southlake, Texas.

Mr. Kelly lives in Bethesda with his wife, Janet. His son, Jim, lives in New York.

— Jen Haberkorn

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