Our Team

staff_peterKutlay Kaya
Chairman of the Board

Kutlay has 25 years of combined professional experience in government and business, and he has served as an international trade consultant and broker on five continents. A networker, team builder, and entrepreneur who enjoys meeting the needs of commercial and government customers in a variety of business sectors, Kutlay’s current geographic areas of focus are the United States, Turkey, and the Middle East.

In 1996, Kutlay earned a bachelor’s degree from 19 Mayis University in Samsun, Turkey, and in 1998 he moved to the U.S., where he continued his studies and was employed as a consultant and director for two nonprofit, humanitarian organizations. In 2003, Kutlay earned a master’s degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

In 2014, Kutlay founded Zenith Quest Corporation, both as the parent company of his several U.S. businesses, and as the name by which he would move forward internationally in the firearms, defense, cybersecurity, unmanned aerial systems, and energy industries. In 2015, Kutlay founded ZNT Global — headquartered in Ankara, Turkey — as a sister company to ZQC, and to pioneer similar business operations in Turkey and its region.

Kutlay is both MKEK’s exclusive representative in the United States, and Raytheon’s country partner in Turkey for cybersecurity and tank modernization. He travels regularly between the U.S. and Turkey to develop and oversee his businesses, and to meet and network with leaders in commerce and government.


staff_hanriHanri Kaya
Chief Executive Officer

Hanri worked as both a registered nurse and a part-time business manager for eight years, before transitioning in 2014 to full-time work in various executive roles for Zenith Quest Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Zenith Firearms. She currently serves as the chief executive officer, a position from which she shapes the company’s vision and strives to set a high standard for the staff by her examples of dedication and integrity in the pursuit of excellence. Hanri has earned a bachelor’s degree (2005), and an MBA with international concentration (2014), from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

During her tenure as chief executive, Hanri has overseen the company’s successful execution of a $54 million ammunition contract with Walmart Inc., and presided over Zenith Firearms’ ascendance in the U.S. roller-delayed blowback firearms market. She is currently spearheading the company’s execution of a multi-year asset acquisition plan that will transform Zenith Firearms from being primarily a U.S. importer and distributor of firearms, to being a full-service U.S. manufacturer.

As CEO, Hanri also undertakes administrative, contractual, financial, and regulatory responsibilities across the spectrum of ZQC’s international operations in the firearms, defense, cybersecurity, unmanned aerial systems, and energy industries.


James Williamson
Chief Operations Officer

James is a retired Marine Corps officer with a background in infantry, light armored reconnaissance, and special operations, 20 years of successful management and leadership experience, and a reputation for meeting extremely challenging organizational goals and objectives.

Prior to his employment with Zenith Firearms, James served as chief operations officer for Haley Strategic Partners, LLC and director of training for Haley Strategic Training, LLC. He also owns a thriving small business, Teufelshund Tactical, which has offered roller-delayed firearms training and support services to military, law enforcement and responsible citizens since 2015. Key assignments while serving in the Marine Corps include aide-de-camp to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps liaison for special operations to the United States Army Special Operations Command, regimental operations officer for the School of Infantry — East, and five separate company commands.

In 2018, James became Zenith Firearms’ chief operations officer, in which capacity he is responsible for maintaining, developing, and leading the staff, conceiving and implementing strategy, and coordinating the efforts of all departments toward mission accomplishment and achievement of the company’s vision.


Andy Eckert
Vice President, Corporate Communication

A former U.S. Marine, Andy acquired post-military professional experience in carpentry, nonprofit work and business, before joining Zenith Quest International in 2013 to assist with execution of a $54 million ammunition contract with Walmart Inc. Andy was ZQI’s sales and project manager, and then its vice president for the U.S. market, before becoming a Zenith Quest Corporation employee and serving for two years as vice president and firearms manager.

He is currently Zenith Firearms’ vice president for corporate communication, reporting to the chief operations officer and responsible for writing and editing sales, marketing, public relations, technical and other business content, copy and correspondence. Andy is also charged with procurement functions, product pricing management and advising the executive team on various matters.


Ben Bergamini
Sales Director

Ben holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Carolina University, where he also played football for four years. He joined Zenith Firearms in May 2018 with more than 20 years of wholesale distribution and sales management experience.

Prior to accepting the sales director position, Ben was a regional sales manager for an electrical wholesale distributor, and an adjunct instructor, program coordinator and medic for Haley Strategic Partners. As Zenith’s sales director, Ben is responsible for all aspects of the company’s commercial, law enforcement and domestic military sales programs.

Outside of his work at Zenith, Ben makes time to serve as a medic with his county’s EMS department.


Marci Malinowski
Marketing Director

Marci is an award winning graphic designer who has been part of the Zenith marketing team since 2015. Originally the graphic design and digital media manager, her role has since expanded to include planning, coordination and direction of the company’s marketing efforts. She has served in leading design roles for more than twenty years, creating compelling designs for clients in diverse markets. She previously held the position of Art Director for Key Communications in Stafford, Virginia where she earned best new publication awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

She received her BFA in graphic design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her professional work is focused on creating enriching design experiences in print and on the web.

Marci is tall, but admittedly a terrible basketball player. She is fully-immersed in the chaos of raising three daughters with her husband of 22 years, Ken. In addition to her full-time job at Zenith, she is also fully committed to her second full-time job as a soccer mom. She enjoys walks with her Great Dane, Lucy, time with friends, seeing new places and is a life-long lover of the arts.


staff_donDon Leckrone
Director, Client Engagements, Defense and Intelligence

Don joined Zenith Firearms in December 2016, following a career in the U.S. intelligence and defense communities during which he focused on detecting and defeating improvised explosive devices, supporting warfighters and their missions with multisource intelligence data, and depicting near real-time geospatial threats using advanced persistent analysis techniques.

Don has also worked in business development, sales, and product management for such corporations as Panasonic, Digital Equipment Corporation, Mitsubishi, Silicon Graphics, Santa Cruz Operation and Novetta, in addition to co-founding several startup companies. He also served for six years in the U.S. Navy as a P-3 Orion flight engineer. Don holds a U.S. patent for a novel communications system, and has led the technical development of multimillion-dollar government programs.

Don’s motto is “mission first, last and always,” and he is proud to now be investing his talents and experience at Zenith Firearms. Don enjoys Nelson County and the beauty that surrounds the company headquarters in Virginia. His hobbies include fly fishing, keeping his aging Range Rover running and baking baguettes when the mood strikes.


staff_robRob Moses
Armory Manager

Even though Rob grew up in one of the least gun-friendly states, he has always loved firearms and shooting sports. After completing an associate’s degree, Rob spent a semester studying in South America. While there, he met his future wife, who happened to be from Central Virginia. He moved to the East Coast soon after returning to the U.S., and worked as a crisis intervention counselor for many years before landing a job at Zenith Firearms.

As Zenith’s Armory Manager, Rob assists in shipping and receiving, maintenance, repairs and customization, and inventory management. Over the last couple of years, he has gained a strong understanding of the roller-delayed blowback platform by working closely with Zenith’s gunsmiths.

Rob and his wife are the proud parents of two beautiful children. Rob enjoys spending his days off with his family, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, working on cars, and shooting with friends.


Danielle Yancey
Compliance Officer

Born and raised in the Shenandoah valley, Danielle has worked in the firearms and hunting industry for the past 12 years. She began right after high school as a front desk cashier at a local gun and hunting shop, and worked through college, accruing experience in various departments, to eventually become a manager.

Danielle joined Zenith Firearms in June 2017 as the company’s compliance officer. In addition to her primary duties, Danielle also handles many of Zenith’s warranty-related customer service calls.

Danielle has an associate’s degree in business management from Blue Ridge Community College. She still lives in the Shenandoah Valley, now with her husband and son, and she is expecting a daughter in November. She enjoys spending time with her family and, most of all, being a mom!


staff_paulPaul Voska
Commercial Sales and Customer Service Representative

Paul served a tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force as an avionics technician, and then plied his trade for two years in the private sector before embarking on a 20-plus year career in information technology. Throughout most of his career as an IT specialist, Paul also worked part time selling real estate.

In 2015, Paul landed his dream job with Zenith Firearms. Paul’s love for firearms and shooting harks back to his childhood, plinking with slingshots and pellet guns in the woods behind his house in rural Ohio. In his teens, he graduated to shotguns, and .22 caliber rifles and pistols. Then, shortly after leaving active service with the Air Force, Paul shot his first practical-action pistol match in Panama City, Florida, and knew he had found his niche. Decades later, Paul has provided practical shooting instruction to civilians, local law enforcement officers, SWAT teams, and professional bodyguards. He still loves to shoot and compete himself, and he loves that his job involves extolling the benefits of shooting and training to others.


Derek Tyree
Law Enforcement Sales Representative

Derek is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantryman who attained the rank of sergeant before leaving the Corps for a career in law enforcement. He worked for nine years as a Virginia state trooper and K-9 handler, followed by four years as a Virginia State Police special agent in the Drug Enforcement Section, before joining Zenith Firearms in September 2017 as a law enforcement sales representative.

Derek was raised in Amherst County, Virginia. A lifelong outdoorsman, he particularly loves bear hunting. He also maintains a connection to the law enforcement profession by serving as an auxiliary sheriff’s deputy in Bath County, Virginia.


staff_jrJR Pannell
Master Gunsmith

JR has lived in Nelson County, Virginia for almost all of his life. He grew up hunting and fishing, and has had the privilege of doing both in many places, including Africa. He has always loved firearms, and has been shooting competitively since he was 21 years old. A former volunteer firefighter and a 35-year veteran of the United Parcel Service, JR transitioned to work as a full-time gunsmith, and served as the head gunsmith at a nearby firearm and outdoor sporting goods store before Zenith recruited him in August 2016. 

JR loves God, his family and friends, and working at Zenith Firearms. He and his wife of 33 years have two children and six grandchildren.


staff_deD.E. Williams
Gunsmith

As a young man, D.E. worked as a professional musician, a truck driver and a private investigator, before beginning a career in law enforcement and accepting a job with the Charlottesville Police Department. He retired from the Charlottesville PD with 25 years of service (27 total as an LEO), and joined Zenith Firearms as a gunsmith in 2015.

Firearms are D.E.’s passion, and over the course of his career he has acquired substantial training and experience in their employment and repair. D.E. has been a DCJS certified firearms instructor, a special weapons instructor, a SWAT officer and a counter sniper, and has received training as an armorer or gunsmith from local, state, and federal government entities, as well as from companies such as H&K, Glock, Remington, S&W and the American Gunsmithing Institute.


staff_jamieJamie Slaughter
Historian and Militaria Consultant

As Zenith’s historian, Jamie mines the annals of military and firearms history to compose material of interest to roller-delayed blowback enthusiasts for the company’s semimonthly blog. Additionally, he serves as a consultant on Zenith’s forthcoming expansion into the U.S. market for militaria and military surplus.

Jamie is a native of South Charleston, West Virginia. His lifelong interest is the development of military technology, theory and doctrine. He is also interested in the historical, current and future development of small arms and armored vehicles. His scholarly publications include “Military Communication on the Western Front 1914-1918: Similar Experiences, Different Outcomes.” in Information History of the First World War, “Allied Close Air Support during Operation Market Garden: A Lesson in Planning.” in Operation Market Garden. The Campaign for the Low Countries Autumn 1944: Seventy Years On., and entries in the Mount Vernon Digital Encyclopedia. He also writes for popular publications such as Recoil Magazine and Skirmish Magazine. Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in history from West Virginia University, a master of arts in teaching from Marshall University, and a master’s degree in military history from Norwich University. He is currently completing doctoral studies at the University of Wolverhampton.

Jamie is an avid militaria collector, bibliophile, and wargamer. He lives in rural Virginia with his wife, Stacy, and his son, Logan.

 

Zenith FirearmsOur Team