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Augusta native named in Forbes' "30 Under 30"

Augustan receives recognition

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Augusta native Jamail Larkins continues to make news as a private aviation entrepreneur.

Jamail Larkins, a private aviation entrepreneur who founded Ascension Aircraft, was featured in Forbes' magazine's "30 Under 30" issue for adding fractional or time-share ownership of private planes to his company.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Jamail Larkins, a private aviation entrepreneur who founded Ascension Aircraft, was featured in Forbes' magazine's "30 Under 30" issue for adding fractional or time-share ownership of private planes to his company.

Just 10 days shy of his 30th birthday, the founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Ascension Aircraft was featured Monday in Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” issue. This is the third year the financial publication has honored ambitious, up-and-coming “stars” in 15 business fields.

The 2002 Evans High School graduate, who placed in the energy and industry category, joined NBA star LeBron James, Tumblr founder David Karp, musician Bruno Mars, Snapchat app creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.

The newest division of Larkins’ company, fractional or “time-share” ownership of private planes, led to the national recognition, he said.

The idea originated in 2010. Larkins wanted to expand and saw fractional ownership of small aircraft, a concept that had worked well with larger corporate aviation companies, as a profitable venture that could translate to his operations.

Owning a plane is just too expensive for many private pilots, he said.

The average general aviation pilot flies only three to five days a month, he said, and the most popular single-engine plane, a Cirrus SR22, can cost more than $800,000.

After more than a year of research, Larkins gambled and started the division in January 2012.

“Within 18 months of our very first flight with our first customer, we became No. 1 in market share here in Atlanta and looking now to expand to our second location, and hopefully duplicate that throughout the country,” he said.

Ascension Aircraft also offers aircraft sales, leasing and charter services. By the end of 2013, the company had 20 full-time employees, generated more than $9 million in revenue and announced plans to open his second base, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this spring.

Larkins’ first company, Larkins Enterprises, started when he was still in high school and continues to offer consulting to aviation companies throughout the U.S.

In addition to his recent Forbes’ recognition, Larkins was named “No. 1 Entrepreneur in the United Sates” in 2009 by Inc. Magazine, one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under the Age of 25” in 2009 by Business Week and “The 100 History Makers in the Making” in 2010 by CNBC.

Larkins has been flying since he was 14 years old, in Canada because he was too young to meet U.S. age limitations. At 15, he formed Larkins Enterprises and started selling flight training materials to local pilots and later online to fund his passion.

“I looked around at my local airport, and everybody I saw that was flying as often as I wanted to fly, they were professionals or they owned their own company,” Larkins said. “I was like, ‘I can’t get a full-time job while I’m in high school, but nothing says I can’t start up my own company that will allow me to be able to do this.’”

While attending aviation school at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2004, Larkins started Aviation Marketing Group as a way to provide marketing solutions for aviation-related firms. The company expanded in 2006 to include leasing and sales, and Larkins changed the name two years later to Ascension Aircraft.

Larkins said that although he feels proud of his accomplishments, it also gives him motivation for the future.

“You may start up a company and have a little bit of success, but you always realize that there’s more that can be accomplished,” he said.

Larkins serves as an ambassador for the Federal Aviation Administration, acting as a spokesman to raise awareness that the aviation industry will be facing a pilot shortage in coming years and attracting more people into the field.

JAMAIL LARKINS

TITLE: Founder of Ascension Aircraft

BORN: Jan. 30, 1984, at Fort Gordon

FAMILY: Parents, Sylvester and Renetha Larkins; sister, Kenisha Larkins

EDUCATION: Evans High School; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

HONORS: Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” Inc. Magazine’s “No. 1 Entrepreneur in the United States,” Business Week’s “Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under the Age of 25,” CNBC’s “The 100 History Makers in the Making”

HOBBIES: Flying, dining, movies

MARCH APPEARANCE

WHAT: Young Professionals of Augusta meeting, featuring Larkins as guest speaker

WHEN: March 11; networking at 5:30 p.m.; program at 6:15 p.m.

WHERE: Enterprise Mill event center, 1450 Greene St., Augusta

COST: Free to the public

Comments (12) Add comment
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itsanotherday1
41710
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itsanotherday1 01/22/14 - 07:06 pm
11
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You go boy!!

Awesome to see local folks do well.

Riverman1
81977
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Riverman1 01/22/14 - 08:34 pm
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When In High School

I remembered stories about him when he was in high school. What a great young man. Here is the link to a high school story. He was the senior class president at Evans.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2001/10/12/met_325799.shtml

carcraft
25142
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carcraft 01/22/14 - 09:03 pm
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What a brilliant young man!

What a brilliant young man!

dichotomy
31942
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dichotomy 01/22/14 - 09:46 pm
8
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An amazing young

An amazing young man....apparently from the very beginning. Hope he has continued success.

internationallyunknown
4022
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internationallyunknown 01/22/14 - 10:15 pm
8
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You go boy!

You go boy!

deestafford
25921
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deestafford 01/22/14 - 11:36 pm
8
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Now, This is a role model!!!

Now, This is a role model!!! Please someone local take this story to the young people on the east side and south side of Augusta and show them what can be done with education and passion.

GnipGnop
11810
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GnipGnop 01/23/14 - 01:22 am
9
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Judged by the content of his character

not the color of his skin...as it should be...well done young man....well done!!

JRC2024
8457
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JRC2024 01/23/14 - 09:05 am
6
1
Good for you. And all the

Good for you. And all the best. Motivation is what it takes and not falling victim to the temptations of everyday life.

GiantsAllDay
9353
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GiantsAllDay 01/23/14 - 09:57 am
8
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Something, FINALLY SOMETHING

Something, FINALLY SOMETHING the community can be proud of. This is guy is already going places.

juantez
233
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juantez 01/23/14 - 09:26 am
0
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Feel Good
Unpublished

This is the way I like to start my morning out, with a good story in the news..CAN WE SAY ROLE MODEL.

CobaltGeorge
154525
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CobaltGeorge 01/23/14 - 10:16 am
2
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JRC2024

What type of mind would give you a downer for your comment? They walk among us!

countyman
19654
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countyman 01/23/14 - 10:43 am
2
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Congratulations to the young

Congratulations to the young man. The only problem is the people who believe young black men aren't doing positive things in the community daily. Blame the media and not the young men..

Dee stafford.. What about the lower income black residents who don't reside in South Augusta or East Augusta? What about Bradleyville rd in North Augusta or across the railroad tracks in Grovetown?

I know both places have large black populations but the public housing is located in East Augusta. Why are you putting South Augusta and East Augusta together when the new subdivision on Willis Foreman begins in the $190's?,

Bulldog
1319
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Bulldog 01/23/14 - 03:04 pm
1
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Great Accomplishments

This is a really great result in an industry that is famous for chewing up and spitting out newcomers. Particularly in tough economic times! Way to go!

pja5529
1483
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pja5529 01/23/14 - 05:04 pm
1
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Good job!!

Every young person in the area should be inspired by him!

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