Trendsetter to Know: Chad Verdaglio, President of Sawyer Aviation


Name: Chad J. Verdaglio

Twitter: @flysawyer

Facebook: @sawyeraviation

Instagram: @sawyeraviation


Title: President and Owner of Sawyer Aviation

Married/Single: Engaged!

Kids: None

City you live in: Scottsdale, Arizona

A typical day in my life includes… I’m an early riser; usually up around 5:30/5:45. I head to the gym until about 7am, come home and get ready while getting my caffeine fix, of course. The workday starts with an 8am call with the Sawyer management team. Then, I reply to emails and head into the office to start whatever project or meetings are scheduled that morning. Mornings are usually busy, while I preserve my afternoons for putting my head down and taking care of busy work, which typically includes coordinating with our various marketing teams, checking in with our various branches of business, and handling the daily operations that go into being a business owner. I usually leave the office around 6pm to go home and have dinner and relax with my fiancé and our two puppies. Even from home I stay checked into the business; running a private aviation company is a 24/7 job. When I can steal time away, one of our favorite pastimes is F1 racing – we watch whenever we can.

I was born… and raised inScottsdale, Arizona

My favorite thing about Arizona… Ahh, it is hard to choose.Arizona has the best sunsets, and it’s just an all-around easy place to live. Seeing Arizona grow and the influx of people from other areas has been fascinating and exciting. Arizona used to be seen as a winter getaway but now it’s a “real city.” With the new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, growth of data centers, and the addition of other companies moving to the area, Phoenix has become an important destination for companies doing important things on a big scale. I was just reading “The Rise of the Rest” by Steve Case, which I found very relevant to the Phoenix-metro market.  For anyone interested, it was a good read.

I’m listening to… Ijust finished the audiobook biography of Nicola Tesla where he shares his trials and tribulations developing new technology, fundraising, focus, patent fights and balancing day-to-day life. It is very relevant to our business right now; stay tuned on that front. Next up on my list, Peak by Chip Conley of AirBnB. My Spotify is all over the place ranging from EDM, country, and the occasional Italian opera when the mood strikes.

My family… is predominately in the west spread across Scottsdale, Denver, Houston and San Francisco. I have the pleasure of having my mom on the Sawyer Aviation team. If you ever stop by the office, be sure to say  ”Hi,” to Mary Verdaglio who heads up our FAA Drug Abatement and Compliance program! 

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be… It may be cliché but, Elon Musk. I would love to have dinner with him and learn how he is able to manage, unabashedly, so many revolutionary businesses so well. 

One thing I cannot live without… Chapstick and my cell phone. If I forget these two essentials, I’m turning the car around.

When I was younger, I wanted to be… As a young boy I always wanted to be an inventor/entrepreneur. At one point I had sketched out a three-engine version of an electric vertical takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, similar to a full-size drone able to transport people. I originally considered electric engines which seemed silly at the time, little did I know technology would catch up with this idea.  It will be exciting to see these aircraft become a reality in the next decade. Perhaps I should have told my “12-year-old self” to stick to it (just kidding). 

I’m inspired by… smart, innovative, and interesting people from any field. People who try to do interesting things, anyone I can learn something from.

 One of my favorite inspiring quotes is: “Everything in the world was designed and built by someone no smarter than you.” – Steve Jobs 

The one person who motivates me is… My dad has always been my motivation. I am in awe of what he accomplished in the environment he worked in with the tools he had at his time. He has always fueled the entrepreneur and creative fire inside of me. He taught me that anything was possible as well as how to weather the tough times. 

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… For people to regain self-accountability and common sense. 

The perfect day would be… Any day that results in me winding up in Telluride. 

My first job was…Washing cars at my father’s dealership.

My favorite escape… Again…Telluride. Second to that, if I only have a few hours, I would be going for a hike up at Pinnacle Peak or McDowell Mountains or a nice dinner with friends.

My life… is lived so I will look back and know that I did what I was capable of doing. Every day I try to chase the best version of me.

I’m currently working on… Growing Sawyer Aviation by adding aircraft, adding people to the team, and driving towards the vision of what this company and our team can be. 

Always… Take the high road and leave yourself options for how to react and respond to a given situation. And always assume positive intent in people.

Never… Assume you’re the smartest person in the room.

Favorite Quote… “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu

Biggest Dream… To raise a family and share everything I know with my future kids so that they don’t make the same mistakes I did and can build on all that I have done. 

My Pet Peeve(s)… Someone who abuses a situation. The “always’” and “nevers’” mentioned above are designed to deal with such individuals. 

Bio-on yourself/company: Scottsdale native, Chad J Verdaglio acquired Sawyer Aviation in 2002. Under Chad’s direction, the company has experienced tremendous growth. So much so Sawyer Aviation landed on the 2022 Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies as the top full-service private-aviation company. Today, Sawyer Aviation is a full-service operation that offers private jet charter, aircraft management, maintenance, sales and has one of the oldest flight academies in the world. 

Chad grew up in Arizona where he earned a bachelor’s in business communications from Arizona State University. Growing up working in his family’s business, he gained hands-on experience in finance, marketing and operation management. After college, he continued to work for the family business until starting his own technology company. 

Chad is a member of the National Business Association(NBAA) and is a supporter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Women in Aviation and local police outreach programs. When he is not working or flying, he enjoys cooking, travel, polo and Formula One racing. 

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