Biography: Rod Rakic is an FAA commercial rated pilot, volunteer Civil Air Patrol officer, and co-founder of FlyOtto. He is an established entrepreneur focused on aviation innovation and has spent the past two decades creating online tools to improve and manage brands in the aviation industry as well as enhance the end user experience. Rakic has had a passion for aviation since he began flying airplanes at the age of 16. After studying aviation, communications, and telecommunications management at Western Michigan University, he went on to pursue an extensive career in advertising strategy, media and account management.
Rakic has worked with respected companies around Chicago. He left Sears Holdings in 2013, where he worked as the managing director of the Digital Innovation Group. His previous experience includes agency work with brands such as Boeing, Jeep, Bose, Harley-Davidson, Mercedes-Benz, Circuit City, Comedy Central, Warner Bros. Pictures and Wired magazine. His entrepreneurial career took off in 2007 when he co-founded MyTransponder, a pioneering social media tool for aviation. In 2013, he co-founded OpenAirplane, making airplane rentals more accessible to certified pilots; and then most recently, in 2016 the company launched FlyOtto, an online service that connects travelers with professional pilots and their certified aircraft on-demand, making private aviation accessible to anyone.
He was nominated for Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year at Oshbash 2013, a social media meetup for aviation communicators hosted by Airplanista magazine. His company, OpenAirplane, went on to receive the most prestigious award and named, Airplanista of the Year. In 2015 Rakic was also selected by a panel of investors as a winner of The FUND Conference, a leadership conference dedicated to bridging the gap between investors and growing companies. A trailblazer in the development of creative and user-friendly online aviation experiences, Rakic is dedicated to innovation, helping people get more value out of flying, so more travelers have positive in-flight experiences.
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