20 Questions

Kenn Ricci

Kenn Ricci Illustration by Graham Smith

Illustration by Graham Smith

As principal of Directional Aviation Capital, a holding company that includes Sentient Jet, Flight Options and Flexjet, Kenn Ricci has initiated some of the biggest innovations in private aviation over the last 30 years, from new forms of fractional ownership to aircraft remanufacturing.

The former full-time pilot is chairman of Flexjet, which just opened its second private terminal in the U.S., in White Plains, N.Y.

01 What are you reading? 1944, by Jay Winik, which is about Franklin Roosevelt. 02 What’s your favorite city? Domestically, Phoenix. I moved there in 2002. Internationally, Cape Town. I used to fly Richard Branson there in the early ’90s. 03 How many days a year do you travel? Normally, 150. We have our children skip eighth grade, and we homeschool and travel with them. Last year we visited 29 countries, so well over 220 days. 04 Do you ever fly commercial? [Laughs] We do not. I wouldn’t want to be seen on commercial; I’d want to be seen on our product. 05 When was the last time you flew commercial? I went to North Korea last September on Air Koryo. You can’t fly there privately. 06 What’s your favorite plane as a passenger? As a pilot? They’d be the same: the Gulfstream G550. 07 Who’s the most interesting person you’ve ever flown? Without a doubt, Bill Clinton. [Ricci was Clinton’s pilot during his first presidential campaign.] Hillary’s a hoot—she’s fun, and makes you feel happy to be around her. 08 Outside of private aviation, what’s been your best recent service experience? Villa d’Este at Lake Como. They had closed the outside dining area because of weather, but they set up one table outside for us. 09 What is your investment philosophy? Overweight in cash, and invest in things you know. 10 What’s been your worst investing mistake? A real estate development in Florida. I didn’t understand how the project worked or how it was funded. 11 Your favorite movie? Field of Dreams. Everyone thinks it’s a baseball movie, but it’s about your parents. 12 TV show? Real Time with Bill Maher. I love to hear that contrarian view. 13 Beer, wine or spirits? Beer after a round of golf, a nice Italian wine with an Italian meal and a martini on date night with my wife. 14 Best restaurant? The Office in Cabo San Lucas. 15 What type of watch do you wear? Hublot. Every time I have a successful business transaction, I give myself a watch. I have probably eight or nine. Every time I wear one, it means something. 16 Favorite designer? Donald J. Pliner for shoes; Isaia and Canali for suits—usually made to measure. 17 What do you drive? A Tesla, and my wife’s Bentley whenever she’ll let me. 18 What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome? My youngest son has cystic fibrosis—it took 18 months to figure it out. For someone who can add numbers and read sales contracts, that’s really out of your comfort zone. 19 What keeps you up at night? Aircraft safety. 20 What’s your favorite philanthropy? We have a family foundation, and we support Able Flight, a program that teaches disabled people and vets who’ve lost a limb to fly. To see a paraplegic fly a plane is amazing.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Worth.

David Boies

David Boies Illustration by Graham Smith

Illustration by Graham Smith

Sometimes it seems that whenever a lawsuit hits the headlines, David Boies, cofounder of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, is at the center of it.

From United States v. Microsoft to Bush v. Gore to Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the Sony hacking case and the Theranos controversy, Boies has established himself as one of the world’s foremost attorneys.

01 What are you listening to these days? The Beatles, Janis Joplin, some Frank Sinatra. 02 Favorite book? The Bible. As a text and for religious reasons. 03 What are you reading now?  I watch television shows more than I read. 04 Do you have a favorite show? The Americans. It deals with an era that is part of my memory but also far enough away to reflect on. 05 Favorite film? The Searchers. Casablanca. The Left Hand of God—it’s a Humphrey Bogart movie. 06 What’s the best film about a lawyer? There are a number of good movies about lawyers: A Time to Kill. The Verdict. To Kill a Mockingbird. Anatomy of a Murder. They all tell you something important about the law and the practice of law. 07 Favorite legal character? Perry Mason—but not of the TV show, of the Erle Stanley Gardner books. The Perry Mason of the books was grittier. 08 Most important rule for winning a case? Preparation and patience. Why patience? It’s about learning everything that you can before you put your stake in the ground. 09 Beer, wine or spirits? Wine. I’d recommend Hawk and Horse cabernet sauvignon—that’s my vineyard. And the 2012 Opus One and 2012 Quintessa are really good wines. 10 Do you have a favorite watch? Not really. I’ve been given watches, and I always give them to members of my family who appreciate them more. 11 What do you drive? My favorite car for many years was a 6.6-liter Trans Am convertible. But I’ve got a Tesla right now, and it is an amazing car. 12 Sailboat or motorboat? Sailboat. I like blending in with the wind and the water as opposed to trying to overcome them. 13 Exercise of choice? Bicycling. Mary, my wife, and I go on at least two bicycle trips a year. 14 Biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? For any parent, it’s dealing with your children, trying to find the right mix between letting them develop and protecting them. 15 Best advice you’ve ever received? “Listen before you speak.” That’s what my father told me and what I told my children. 16 Guilty pleasure? Hot fudge sundaes, fried chicken, watching television—too many to count. 17 Who are your heroes? Jesus Christ. Daniel Webster. Abraham Lincoln. 18 What’s one thing about you that would surprise judges? Maybe how nervous I still get. If you’re doing something that you care about, you’re always going to be nervous. 19 What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned about power? To respect the obligations that possession of power gives you. Power is a trust. 20 How would you like to be remembered? As somebody who cared about his family, and cared about justice.

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2016 issue of Worth.

Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson Illustration by Graham Smith

Illustration by Graham Smith

Ethiopia-born, Sweden-raised Marcus Samuelsson has been a culinary star since he first made his mark at New York’s Aquavit in the mid ’90s.

Today Samuelsson is chef-owner of 11 restaurants around the world, including Red Rooster, Ginny’s Supper Club and Streetbird Rotisserie in Harlem, where he lives. He recently opened Marcus’ in Bermuda and plans to debut a Red Rooster in London in early 2017.

01 What are you reading? A Swedish translation of Miles: The Autobiography. I always find new things to learn—about culture, about race—in the story of Miles Davis. 02 What do you never travel without?  I’ve always needed to write down my experiences, food ideas, thoughts. So it used to be a notebook; now it’s my iPad. 03 Favorite movie? Anything by Terrence Malick. 04 TV show? I like the silliness of The Mindy Project05 Beer, wine or spirits? Beer after playing soccer. Wine if I’m hanging with Daniel [Boulud]—I like anything from the Brown family in Napa. Late night, brown liquor like something from Glenmorangie. 06 Your go-to meal? My wife’s Ethiopian cooking. 07 Favorite restaurant, outside of your own? Places that help you understand the DNA of an area, like the Boqueria in Barcelona or the hawker stalls in Singapore. 08 Who’s your biggest culinary influence? It begins with my grandmother. [Then, Chicago’s] Charlie Trotter was probably the biggest hand I ever got. And [New Orleans creole legend] Leah Chase, who’s been at it for 70 years. 09 As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I thought I’d be a soccer pro. 10 Favorite shoes? Old-school sneakers, like Stan Smith white Adidas or Chuck Taylor Converse. 11 What’s your watch of choice?  I have a gorgeous Tiffany that was given to me, but I can’t wear it often. It would get destroyed. 12 Favorite designer? Duro Olowu, a Nigerian designer in London, paired with Ralph Lauren—that’s a look you can ride. 13 Best outfit? I’m most comfortable in my chef outfit. But I have a fitted Valentino suit that I can wear anywhere. 14 What do you drive? At home, the Q and 3 trains and a Shinola bike. In Stockholm, my sister’s really nice Volvo. 15 If your house were on fire, what object would you save? As much of my art collection as I could. I would go two-fisted with a Julie Mehretu and a Lorna Simpson. 16 What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?  I luxuriate in being a black man. But there are obstacles. You have to learn to jump above them—and learn how they can be a bridge to something better. 17 What keeps you up at night? My wife [Maya Haile] is about to have a baby, so right now, it’s a 3:30 a.m. snack with her. 18 What causes are closest to your heart? Three Goats, a foundation that my wife and I created to get girls on the border of Ethiopia and Somalia access to clean water, food and an education, and C-CAP, which gives young adults culinary skills. 19 Who is your role model? I was 23 when I lost my dad. He was a fisherman who became a geologist, and watching him move between blue-collar and white-collar worlds taught me a lot. 20 How would you like to be remembered? Please—I’m just starting! Come back in 48 years, and we can talk.

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Worth.

Keb’ Mo’

Keb' Mo' Illustration by Graham Smith

Illustration by Graham Smith

Nashville resident Keb’ Mo’—his full name is Kevin Roosevelt Moore, a drummer gave him the nickname—is a singer, songwriter and guitar player.

Keb’ Mo’ has won three Grammys for his music that draws on blues, folk, rock, soul and jazz. His latest record is a live double album called That Hot Pink Blues Album.

01 What are you listening to these days? James Taylor’s new record [Before This World]. I’ve been a big fan for years. 02 What are you reading? Herbie Hancock’s autobiography, Possibilities. I’ve known him for 40 years, but it was like, “Holy crap, really?” There were things I didn’t know. 03 As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? An architect. I wanted to have a straight job. But I found I wasn’t good at jobs. 04 Favorite album, other than one of your own? Any album by Steely Dan. The subject matter and the music are so interesting. 05 Favorite movie? The Matrix. I love the story of Neo and his journey to realizing his potential. Everyone is Neo. 06 Favorite TV show? I’ll binge-watch Breaking Bad or House of Cards, until I can’t watch anymore, because it’s too evil. So I’ll go watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt07 Do you have a favorite guitar? My favorite electric guitar is one that Paul Reed Smith made for me. My favorite acoustic is my Keb’ Mo’ Gibson. And my favorite steel guitar is my National Reso-Phonic. 08 What do you drive? An Acura RLX. I love that car. It’s like a sled. 09 Favorite musician? Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel—I think he’s the greatest guitar player in the world. 10 Who was your biggest musical influence? Taj Mahal. I saw him in high school and I was like, “Man, what is that?” 11 Person living or dead you’d most like to jam with? Prince. He came into a club I was playing in LA one night in the early ’90s, and played my guitar. I was like, “Oh, man, what am I supposed to play now? You just played all the good stuff.” But he was very complimentary. 12 Best concert you’ve ever attended? Bob Marley at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in 1979. 13 Musician you’d most like to have seen live? Muddy Waters. 14 Favorite stage? The Britt, in Jacksonville, Ore. It’s an outdoor stadium. Acoustically, it’s perfect. 15 If your house were on fire, what one object would you save? My banjo, because a banjo is like a happy pill. If you’re feeling bad about anything, you go play your banjo, and within three minutes you forget about everything. 16 One piece of technology you can’t live without? Hot and cold running water. That kicks everything’s ass. 17 Your best habit? Kindness to everyone I meet. I think that can be contagious. 18 Top philanthropy? Playing for Change. They make videos of musicians around the world playing together to raise money to build schools in Africa and South America. 19 Best advice you’ve ever received? My Uncle Cary always said, “Cain’t died and Couldn’t found out he could.” It means, you can do whatever you set your mind to. 20 How would you like to be remembered? I don’t care about being remembered. I just want to have influenced some people to do good things.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of Worth.

Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly Illustration by Graham Smith

Illustration by Graham Smith

A retired U.S. Navy captain, engineer and NASA astronaut, Mark Kelly knows a few things about safety and security.

His wife, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in a 2011 assassination attempt, and the couple founded the group Americans for Responsible Solutions  in 2013, following the Sandy Hook mass shooting, to support gun safety legislation.

01 What are you reading? I’m in the middle of The Martian [by Andy Weir] even though I’ve seen 02 How often do you travel? I traveled 216 days last year. 03 What’s your favorite city? New York. In New York, you’re not missing anything. 04 Do you fly private or commercial? Commercial—usually American Airlines because it’s the most convenient out of Tucson [where he lives]. 05 What do you never travel without? My iPad, laptop and Bose noise-canceling headphones. 06 What is the worst mistake you’ve made? Having flown in space four times and commanded the space shuttle, it’s hard to say I’ve made a major mistake. That doesn’t mean that I made all the right decisions, either. I might’ve been lucky. 07 Do you have a favorite space shuttle? Endeavour. It’s the space shuttle I flew on my first flight and my last flight, which was also the last flight of Endeavour. 08 What is your favorite film? A long-standing favorite is Rocky. It’s the classic underdog story. 09 What are you watching on TV? I like Game of Thrones. Recently I started watching The Big Bang Theory. 10 Beer, wine or spirits? I drink a little beer and wine. I like a good cabernet, like a Jordan or a Canis. With beer, I’m good with a Budweiser. 11 What watch do you wear? I really like the new Breitling Emergency. It communicates with the SARSAT [Search and Rescue Satellite] network. If you crash an airplane or are out on a sailboat and need to be rescued, this watch has its own emergency personal locator beacon that communicates with a satellite. [Kelly is a Breitling ambassador.] 12 Favorite restaurant? Mastro’s Steakhouse. They’re in multiple cities I travel to frequently, so I don’t have to go searching for a good restaurant. 13 What do you drive? My wife Gabby got me a Corvette for my 50th birthday. It’s a 2014 C7 Corvette white convertible. It’s your typical Apollo-era astronaut car. 14 Do you race it? There’s a track that I drive on, but I’ve spun around and off the track before—I don’t want to do that in my own car. 15 What keeps you up at night? I’m a pretty good sleeper. But like any parent, I worry about my kids even when there’s nothing to worry about. 16 What’s your worst habit? Running. Not sharing enough information with my mother-in-law. 17 What the best advice you’ve ever received? Always take care of your people. 18 Favorite philanthropy? The organization Gabby and I run, Americans for Responsible Solutions. I’m a gun owner. I’ve got six or seven guns.19 Favorite gun? My 9mm Glock. When I was in my 20s and flying for the Navy, it was the gun I flew into combat with. 20 How would you like to be remembered? As somebody who made a difference in regard to exploration, science and STEM education, and with regard to how violence affects our communities.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Worth.

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