‘Breaking Barriers Guided By Passion’: An Interview with Ashley King

(Editor’s Note: Just in time for summer travel, NCM Publisher Sara Corcoran found some time to spend with an aviation icon who can really, really improve your flying experience.)
By Sara Corcoran, Courts Monitor Publisher

As she surveys the sea of planes at Montgomery County’s Fixed Base Operator, Ashley King knows she is a lucky woman:

“I’ve always found such beauty in private aircraft, physics of flight, and the opportunity to take customers to new heights.”

Her passion in aviation drove Ashley to create ADAX Aviation—an aviation company that specializes in aircraft sales, acquisitions, and aviation consulting in the private aircraft marketplace, uniting sellers and buyers of premium aircraft in the Washington, DC area. 

For Ashley, it is a passion long nurtured in her:

“I come from a family of generations of working women, and while I have affinity and respect for the many professionals in aviation, my mother-in-law first comes to mind. She started her career and spent several decades as a Captain on the 737 and the A320.”

Ashley put her passion to work after recognizing the opportunity for growth in the industry, and developed a strategic business plan for the ADAX endeavor.

“We know the customers, we know the aircraft, and can assist in the financing or leasing the aircraft.  We expect our industry to experience double digit growth as the pandemic dissipates, and are well positioned in the market to take advantage it.”

Along with expertise in the nuts & bolts of aircraft manufacturing, incomparable customer service is also obligatory for ADAX:

“Our customers are as flight obsessed as we are, and expect great service that comes with the territory. The company offers a unique ‘White Glove Service’, which, unlike other brokerage agencies, dispatches an employee to visit the customer’s aircraft (typically their hanger or local FBO) with a plan in toe designed to meet individual needs, goals, and requirements.  We aren’t just in the aviation business. We are in the people business, too. ADAX aims to exceed the expectations of every client that comes through our gateway.”

As the month of women’s history just reminded us, we pause to remember the many women who have made contributions to the art of flight, starting with Amelia Earhart; and those since; and who continue to do so.  

“While I think that it’s great to designate a month to celebrate the achievements of women, they should be celebrated every day, as women make history every day.” 

As a mother of two, Ashley is but one of millions of women who juggle careers and raise a family:

“It is important to me to show my children the value of hard work and how to maintain the tricky work/life balance and how to break barriers guided by passion.” 

She has backed up her beliefs with action and ADAX is a supporting member of Aviator Mentor, a woman-owned small business that provides mentorship for aspiring pilots. 

With the costs of obtaining a pilot’s license averaging $84,000 a year, Ashley knows that this cost keeps many students from realizing their potential:

“We sponsor scholarship programs in the greater Washington, DC area, provide free flights for those in need of medical care, aid kids in getting SIM time, and provide supplemental assistance in ground school.”

When it comes to employment in the ranks, Ashley is committed to empowering women in her own workforce: “I am pleased to announce that Morgan Moses Allen joined ADAX as Head of Customer Relations. We are honored to have her as part of our Senior Management Team. With decades of experience in Marketing in the Defense Industry, Miss Moses Allen is a master of her craft. She honed her skills with decades of experience in the defense contracting industry, and can often be found jetting off to exotic destinations in a King Air, or an A380, or spending time in the tower at Udvar Hazy.”

One thing is abundantly clear: The pioneering women of ADAX are taking the aviation business to new heights, one aircraft at a time.

You can learn more about ADAX AVIATION.

Clearview AI Inc. facing litigation for violating data privacy laws

Photo Credit: Fractal Pictures/Shutterstock.com as covered in a report by Law.com.

Clearview AI Inc., which uses facial recognition to provide photographic information, is facing litigation in Illinois and New York for violating data privacy laws.

According to Law.com, “Clearview AI Inc., which uses facial recognition to provide photographic information, primarily to law enforcement, lawyers have filed 11 class actions and Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan and the ACLU, represented by Jay Edelson of Edelson PC, have also filed lawsuits… The lawsuits allege that Clearview AI scrapes internet sites for publicly available images without the knowledge or consent of the individuals in the photographs and, at times, in violation of the rules of some social media sites, then sells access to the information to not just law enforcement but to retailers.”

The article indicates that Clearview AI has stated that it will argue a First Amendment defense because the photos are publicly available.

Law.com does a great job of outlining the issues around this case, and it is a good primer as we will likely continue to see an increasing number of cases around facial recognition technology.

California Civil Courts Backlogged

Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Los Angeles. Photo credit: www.lacourt.org

Civil courts in California were already backlogged before they basically shuttered in March. Now with COVID-19, Los Angeles County is not considering civil trials until at least January 2021 and Orange County’s civil trials are on hold through at least November. So, while we don’t know exactly when the courts will open again for trials, one lawyer has ideas about how to jumpstart the court system when it does open: consider less jurors for each trial.

Rob Shwarts, of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco, argues in a recent article in The Recorder, “We need to get over the idea that there must be 12 jurors in the box to conduct a state court civil trial. This number is not legally required, and while COVID-19 persists, it is simply not a practical or feasible count for the jury.”
For those who have suggested using video conferencing technology, such as Zoom, to jumpstart the process, Shwarts thinks it’s “impractical.”

“Indeed, there is no way to know what screen a juror is looking at so long as the video function of his or her computer is on, raising the specter of juror doing research in real time,” notes Shwarts. “In another twist, Alameda County Judge Brad Seligman had to address a motion for mistrial, because, while the attorneys were in a private Zoom room with the court, the plaintiff started a conversation with several jurors about the seemingly harmless topic of Zoom backgrounds. We all surely agree that litigants are not only entitled to an impartial jury, but to a jury paying attention to their case’s evidence and to the court’s admonitions.”

‘Awash in Cash’ Ed-Tech Firms Still Vie for PPP Cash

By Courts Monitor Publisher, Sara Schinella

Collective eyebrows have been raised across several industries as the government discloses just who received those Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans/grants, and education providers are no exception.

The controversy falls well short of Shake Shack returning that $10 million, but several online-education providers have drawn attention. Of course, that could change with California and other states headed to a fall back-to-school period like no other; even edtech firms may find themselves facing more pressure.

For venture-backed companies, the stakeholder-shareholder divide could become a sticking point.

Obviously, the public policy question arises: When a company has access to capital from publicly traded equity, why would they need to access government funds meant to provide a lifeline to small businesses? Yet, as one report noted, “… even an investment firm that has supported dozens of edtech startups appeared on the [PPP] list.”

To make the point more clear, note the opening words of a story in the education community news website EdSurge, where Managing Editor Tony Wan wrote: “Even the biggest names in the education technology industry, awash in private capital, are seeking public support during the pandemic… a review of the data by EdSurge for notable education technology software and service providers found more than 60 for-profit and nonprofit organizations that were approved for a PPP loan between $150,000 to $5 million. (ISTE, the parent organization of EdSurge, was also approved for such a loan.)”

(I should note that ISTE, or International Society for Technology in Education, is a nonprofit educator-membership organization and EdSurge, launched in 2011, is now an “independent news and research” initiative of ISTE. I might also note that PPP approvals offer a range of “up to” an amount and it remains unclear just how much of the approved money firms have accessed and used.)

After setting the table, Mr. Wan underscores his point: “And though the program was designed to help small businesses, some education organizations approved for loans have previously raised hundreds of million from private backers. Even an investment firm that has supported dozens of ed-tech startups appeared on the list. . . investors themselves are also split over whether internet startups should take advantage of an essential lifeline targeted toward local mom-and-pop shops that operate in-person businesses without venture capital support or connections.”

Some companies that seemed to illustrate Wan’s point were called out for special attention, like Altitude Learning, which EdSurge noted has raised the most capital among the listed firms: some $176 million. EdSurge said the San Francisco-based company, “. . .which now offers an online education platform to schools and families, was approved for a loan between $2 million to $5 million.”

In addition, Sphero, the former consumer robotics toy firm that pivoted to the education market, reportedly raised $148 million from investors — and was also approved for a loan between $2 million to $5 million.

RaiseMe, described as “a provider of an online scholarship platform for high school students” that previously raised $31.5 million from investors, was also approved for a PPP loan in April.

I noticed that tutoring outfit Noodle Pros, also made the EdSurge list of potential shame. They were approved for up to a million dollars of PPP funding while listing among the most funded of the firms, at $36.3 million. I know about the Noodle education companies mostly through Noodle Partners, an online program management company, and because Noodle founder John Katzman was also a high-profile founder of 2U, the big OPM that fuels the University of Southern California program I’m attending this fall. Mr. Katzmann left that company several years ago, and Noodle Partners is now a competitor.

So, EdSurge has previously reported that the four Noodle companies have been collectively funded for more than $40 million and that Mr. Katzman determines how that money gets allocated among several of the “Noodles.” It might be argued that, with that sort of clout, it’s another million from Uncle Sam? To its credit, EdSurge has previously disclosed that Mr. Katzman has been an investor in their company.

In June, it was reported that the Noodle raised another $16 million to address the Covid pandemic-fueled interest in remote learning that “significantly accelerated interest in its services.” That was raised through a Series B round led by ValueAct Spring Fund and joined by Lumina Foundation and existing investors.

The industry-focused among us may recall that, way back in April, the Small Business Administration issued guidance for PPP that companies applying for coronavirus relief funds must certify that the loans are necessary and that they cannot tap their sources of funding. The Noodle $16 million was raised through what’s called Series B fundraising, led by Value Act Spring Fund, the Lumina Foundation and existing investors. Clearly, access to venture capital might qualify Noodle companies as seeming to “have other access to funding.”

Actually, we should be slow to judge. Anyone in finance will tell you it remains easy to make the case for even those “awash in private capital” to take the PPP money, and multi-entity setups like Noodle illustrate new advantages for taking taxpayer money in one entity and raising capital in another. We might assume that tutoring and online education companies are enjoying windfalls right now, but could the future be more uncertain? If your job is to “extend the runway,” then an extra million here and there has to be considered.

Now, the only challenge will be if the edtech venture-funded companies must endure the social pushback of other such firms, like chain restaurants or Trump-affiliated operations. My guess is not, because except for very fine industry watchdogs like EdSurge, the public gaze is focused elsewhere.

So, perhaps the lesson is that PPP offers the well-funded an even longer runway, as they say. But that doesn’t mean the runway lacks the occasional pothole.


Update: Court sides with Mary Trump

The Washington Post reports that one day after imposing a restraining order to allow the parties to present arguments at a hearing about whether or not Mary Trump, the President’s niece could publish her tell-all book, “A New York court on Wednesday lifted a temporary restraining order against the publication of a book by President Trump’s niece, enabling publisher Simon & Schuster to continue printing and distributing the explosive insider account by Mary L. Trump.”