Extreme Success- A One Woman Show!
Let’s face it, before Lynn Tilton pulled out her corporate check book and bought up MD Helicopters in 2005, few people in the male dominated helicopter industry had ever heard of her. That was soon to change however. Today, in 2013 if you fly an MD Helicopter for work or pleasure it is highly unlikely you have not at least heard the name Lynn Tilton.
Most people are involved in aviation as a pilot, student pilot, mechanic, or perhaps even an employee of an aviation company. But one thing is for sure, there is a whole other side to the aviation world that many of us are not familiar with. That is the side of the wealthy business owner who can afford to buy ANY helicopter or airplane he or she wishes, or an entire company such as Ms. Tilton and MD Helicopters.
So just how did this single, blonde, lady come to own an entire helicopter company? Here is her story.
Lynn Tilton-A Business woman powerhouse to be reckoned with
As millionaire success stories go, Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners LLC, is at the extreme upper end of the millionaire success ladder. In fact Ms. Tilton, whose true net worth is not widely reported or known, has passed from the millionaire status into the billionaire success category. Lynn Tilton has become somewhat of a business media darling in the past five years, as she burst seemingly out of nowhere to become a business finance mogul who now owns all or part of 74 companies. And these 74 companies with names like Rand McNally, Stila Cosmetics, Petry Media and Signature Styles-Spiegel/Newport News, brings in annual revenues of more than $8 Billion, and employ around 120,000 people.
All of these companies fall under the banner of Patriarch Partners, the private equity firm that she founded in 2000, and which she is the sole Principal. Lynn Tilton can now be counted among one of the richest self-made women in America, and Patriarch Partners is now the largest woman owned business in America.
And while Ms. Tilton has left little doubt that she is a business finance powerhouse to be reckoned with, she tends to turn heads for other reasons. Tilton doesn't mind letting people know that she is all woman. With her platinum blond hair, tight leather skirts, five inch stilettos, diamond necklaces and the occasional racy remark, Tilton has been mistaken by more than one person as perhaps an exotic dancer instead of the successful business entrepreneur that she is. Tilton makes no apologies for her sexy style of dress stating "I have to remain faithful to my inner truth."
Lynn Tilton Childhood & Education:
Born in the Bronx NY Tilton became a nationally ranked tennis player while still a teenager, often practicing in the middle of the night when court time was free. Tilton would later play tennis for Yale University where she completed a BA with honors in American Studies. As graduation neared Tilton had to make a decision on which career path to pursue. Having already lost her father, one of the great motivational forces in her life, Tilton had to go to friends for advice. Tilton soon began interviewing at investment banking firms of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and others. She was subsequently accepted into Morgan Stanley's analyst program; an early life accomplishment since she was the only candidate in her graduating class to be accepted into the program. Tilton's career in the finance industry had just been set.
Lynn Tilton the Business Woman
By the age of 25 Tilton had snapped up a degree from Columbia Business School and had moved on to positions with Goldman Sachs' corporate finance group-focusing on IPOs, and Merrill Lynch where she focused on leveraged buyouts. Married for a time, she was now a single mother of a 2 year old daughter and working 100 hour work weeks on Wall Street. Over the next nine or so years Tilton would develop not only an expert understanding but also a fascination for restructuring leveraged buyouts gone bad. She eventually took a position with Kidder Peabody where she specialized in distressed debt research and sales, and proprietary investments in distressed assets. After working five more years in the industry Tilton formed her own bank loan research and broker dealer firm, Papillion Partners. Papillion would be the foundation for launching Patriarch Partners in 2000 using solely her own funds.
In simpler terms, here is what Lynn Tilton and Patriarch Partners do today; they identify struggling companies which are headed for bankruptcy but are still salvageable, buy them, revive them, save jobs, and bring the companies back to being profitable American businesses. Tilton has become one America's strongest voices re-building the manufacturing base in the U.S. and putting Americans back to work. Over the last ten years Tilton and Patriarch Partners lay claim to saving some $250,000 American Jobs; A claim that Tilton is obviously proud of. One of Tilton's missions in life is pushing the U.S. to adopt a more coordinated government policy that better supports the country's manufacturers.
Lynn Tilton purchases MD Helicopters
One American company that Lynn Tilton bought around 2005 was the Mesa Arizona based helicopter manufacturer, MD Helicopters. The helicopter company originally founded by Howard Hughes, was spiraling towards bankruptcy when Mrs. Tilton stepped in. It might also be said that this is when the male half of America discovered Lynn Tilton. Who was this, sexy, single blonde billionaire who didn't show up to buy a single helicopter, but the whole company?
After starting his first company at age 16, Jared Isaacman 32, owns and flys an entire fleet of jet aircraft.
Tilton admits that bringing MD Helicopters back from the brink of failure has been one of her tougher challenges, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Speaking to reporters at Heli-Expo the week of March 7th 2011, Tilton announced that MD Helicopters is on the verge of securing a major Middle East contract for its MD 902 Explorer twin helicopter. Tilton stated that the deal would be for 50 to 75 helicopters to bring EMS services to six Middle Eastern countries along with 10 years of support. Tilton called it "divine intervention."
Lynn Tilton the Multi-Millionaire/Billionaire
While Lynn Tilton owns a number of luxury homes around the country, her primary residence is on the Navesink River near Rumson Jew Jersey. From here she can commute by- helicopter of course- to her office in Manhattan, turning a would-be 2 hour commute by ground into a 12 minute commute by air.
(See what I discovered when I analyzed the top 20 search results for "how to get rich.")
When not walking the floors and talking to workers in any of her 74 companies, Ms. Tilton enjoys spending time at her other luxury homes in Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, and the Italian Villa In Lake Como Italy, where she is a neighbor to George Clooney.
As a woman operating at the highest sphere of the male dominated world of business finance, Mrs. Tilton often falls back on Carlos Castaneda's four essential characteristics for the warrior: Cunning, Sweetness, Patience, and Ruthlessness.
For any up and coming entrepreneurs looking to create wealth in America, people like Lynn Tilton not only point the way to becoming a millionaire, she has blazed a super highway for others to follow.
Moms, it's not enough to tell your daughters that they can grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer or even the president. Billionaire business financier with a fierce dedication to saving American jobs and companies should be on your list as well! Today Mrs. Tilton's daughter, now in her late 20s, is one of her deputies at Patriarch Partners.
If MD Helicopters is to survive long term, it will be due in part to the business savvy, hard work and dedication of one of America’s top female billionaires, Mrs. Lynn Tilton.