Executive Leadership Team
Simon Chen, CEO and Founder
Simon is Australian and has lived in Colorado for ten years. Prior to moving to the US, Simon and his family were based in Singapore. He has spent the past 20-years consulting with technology companies across Asia Pacific and the US and has held several senior management positions for large multinationals.
He understands the demands that travel places on the busy executive and their families – given that during his career he logged in excess of 6 million miles in the air. He was a customer and user of many “black” car services and instinctively knows what clients want.
Simon taught for 15 years for Australia’s largest and most respected Advanced Driver Training company. His motto is “safety before schedule” and one look at the Eight Black fleet will tell you that safety is never compromised. He also spent 8 years in the Australian military (Army) and leads the company’s Security and Executive Protection division – and considers it a privilege to work with some of the most talented security professionals in the world.
While he will admit that the business today is a lot different to when he started 7-years ago with just one car, he is determined to keep pushing the company forward, and is passionate about contributing to the ground transportation and security industries.
Nadia Pettignano, Executive Vice President
Nadia is a native New Yorker. She has been in the Executive Ground Transportation industry for over 20-years.
Always positive, always committed to serving the needs of our clients no matter what time and ready to help her team – no matter what, sets her apart as one of the best people we have had the pleasure of working with.
Nadia is responsible for overall company function, global affiliates, customer service and operations.
Connor Magyar, Vice President – Technology
Connor built the company’s very first website 7 years ago. He owns a Colorado Marketing agency called DogCat Marketing. We consider ourselves an eCommerce business first and foremost.
Connor has been instrumental in creating a formidable digital presence for us. He is always calm, has experience and wisdom beyond his years and we would not have had the online success today if it wasn’t for his expertise and talent. Digital takes hard work and persistence – qualities that Connor has in spades.
Connor is responsible for all information and systems technology, marketing and communications at Eight Black.
Luke Skerpon, Vice President – Finance
Luke brings years of experience handling different aspects of operations, finance and management to the Eight Black team. He has worked with small businesses, civic and community organizations, and was a management team member with the PA Future Business Leaders of America for a decade.
In addition to this experience, Luke is a seasoned educator, having taught at the high school level for years in the Performing Arts and as a Department Chair. Luke also supervises student teachers at the collegiate level.
Luke has a Master’s degree in Educational Administration with coursework in finance, leadership, operations, management and human resources, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Secondary Education and Broadcast Journalism.
Luke is responsible for financial strategy, budgeting, AP/AR, expense management, payroll, performance management, administrative leadership function, and company policies for Eight Black.
Grace Palo, Director – HR & Executive Assistant
Grace brings a fresh and new perspective as the youngest member of the Eight Black team, being a novice in the transportation and business industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Acting, and a minor in dance from the University of Northern Colorado. Her experience and background working with people individually and in group settings is an asset to the leadership team as the company continues to grow and expand.
Grace oversees all human resource functions, hiring and personnel management, scheduling and travel, and serves as the CEO’s executive assistant.
LaRae Palo, Director of Transportation
LaRae is easily the best “driver” we have ever hired. She has 30 years of driving experience across all platforms (including CDL – large motorcoaches). There is nothing she can’t operate. In addition, she has owned her own businesses and brings that knowledge to the transportation industry and the Eight Black team.
Always smiling, always positive in her outlook, no matter what traffic or weather issues we are facing, she is a breath of fresh air.
LaRae is responsible for all transportation operations – both shuttle and black car services, driver recruitment, training and retention, fleet readiness and management and driver compliance.
Michele Pullo, Business Development Manager
Michele has worked as an account manager for many years and enjoys creating relationships with clients to provide them with quality service through communication and problem solving. She’s also a local mom of two teenagers, which offers plenty of practice with problem solving!
Michele is responsible for new and existing business development, working closely with hotels and clients to fulfill their transportation needs.