Mr. Kutlay Kaya
CEO/CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Kutlay has 26 years of combined professional experience in government and business, and he has served as an international business consultant and broker on five continents. He is a tireless networker, team builder, and entrepreneur who employs his talents to meet the needs of commercial and government customers in his chosen business sectors. Kutlay’s current geographic areas of focus are the United States, Turkey, Europe, and the Middle East.
In 1996 Kutlay earned an engineering 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 2005 Kutlay founded Zenith Quest Corporation (ZQC), headquartered in Virginia, to help Turkish producers of consumer goods, and to foster improved trade relations between Turkey and the United States. Today ZQC is a multinational corporation that has imported and distributed more than $200 million in ammunition and firearms to U.S. customers through its subsidiaries ZQI Ammunition and Zenith Firearms. In 2015 Kutlay founded ZNT Global (ZNT), headquartered in Ankara, Turkey, to provide select defense, cybersecurity, and IT products and services to customers in Turkey and the Middle East region. In 2020, Kutlay relocated ZNT’s UAS division to the U.S. as an expanded endeavor under the name Zenith AeroTech, for the development and manufacture of its high-altitude tethered drone solutions.
Mr. Kaya travels internationally regularly to develop and oversee his businesses, and to meet and network with leaders in commerce and government.
Mrs. Hanri Kaya
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Mrs. Kaya 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. She currently serves as ZQC’s 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. Mrs. Kaya has earned a bachelor’s degree (2005), and an MBA with international concentration (2014), from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
During her tenure as ZQC’s chief executive, Mrs. Kaya has overseen the company’s successful execution of a $54 million ammunition contract with Walmart Inc., and presided over Zenith Firearms’ ascendance to the top of the U.S. 9mm roller-delayed blowback firearms market. She is currently spearheading the company’s execution of a multi-year asset acquisition plan that will transform ZQC from being primarily a U.S. importer and distributor of firearms, to being a full-service U.S. manufacturer.
As CEO, Mrs. Kaya 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.
Retired Brigadier General Steven Salazar
chief strategy officer
Brig. Gen. Steven Salazar retired from the U.S. Army in 2012 following 32 years of enlisted and commissioned service. His last active duty assignment was as director, joint development, Joint Staff J7, where he led the Department of Defense’s concept development and experimentation program. Brig. Gen. Salazar also served as commanding general, Joint Multinational Training Command, U.S. Army Europe, where his principle focus was the training of U.S., NATO, and other contributing forces in Afghanistan, and as commanding general, Coalition Army Advisory Team-Iraq, where he was responsible for the development of a self-sustaining Iraqi Army.
Brig. Gen. Salazar is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, and the Australian Command and General Staff College’s Management program. He earned a master’s degree in strategic studies, graduating with honors from the U.S. Army War College. Brig. Gen. Salazar is also a distinguished honor graduate of U.S. Army Ranger Course 3-83.
Since retiring from the U.S. Army, Mr. Salazar has served as vice president of international marketing for DynCorp International’s DynGlobal Group. Mr. Salazar has deep experience in Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa, and is a foreign military sales expert. Currently Mr. Salazar serves as Zenith Quest Corporation’s chief strategy officer.
Mr. Ahmet Koray
senior defense projects manager
Mr. Koray retired from the Turkish Navy in 2002 after 25 years of service as an engineer. Key assignments during his naval career include Turkish deputy at the NATO Seasparrow Project Office, technical liaison officer for the transfer of U.S. frigates to the Turkish Navy at Naval Sea Systems Command, and director of the Weapon and Electronic Systems Department at Turkish Naval Forces headquarters in Ankara.
Mr. Koray graduated valedictorian from the Turkish Naval Academy, and with distinction from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering. He completed technical training in the U.S. and Europe on various naval weapons and systems, to include the 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun, which coursework he completed with the distinction of honor at Service School Command, Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois.
Upon retiring from the Navy, Mr. Koray joined the consulting firm AMI International, where he served as a naval consultant from 2002-2016. From 2008-2012, he was additionally employed as a senior program manager for Havelsan, a Turkish software and systems company, and in 2014 he joined Zenith Quest Corporation as a defense consultant. Mr. Koray is currently ZQC’s senior defense projects manager, a position in which he leverages his strong network within defense industry circles, and his considerable experience in business development and technical program management, to serve the company’s international customers.
Mr. Bahadir Harmanci
Bahadir received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering in 2015 and MSc in Management in 2017. He has worked internationally for construction companies, and for investment and consulting firms in the renewable energy sector. He also began three start-up initiatives before joining the Zenith family in 2017.
Bahadir has worked in several capacities for the company, but by far his biggest effort to date is overseeing the design and manufacturing of Zenith’s introductory US-made model, the ZF-5. He is now tasked with planning and execution of a full line of Zenith models and accessories.
Ms. Kathleen F. Ortega
Director of Legal Services
Kathleen graduated from Louisiana State University Law School and was admitted to practice Law in Louisiana in 1988. She grew a successful law practice in Louisiana for six years before moving to Washington DC., where she became a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Litigation Division at the United States Attorney in Washington, DC.
In 1995, Kaythleen joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent where she worked in the National Security Division assigned to the Overseas Espionage Squad and worked on numerous high-profile domestic espionage investigations. During her tenor at the FBI she was assigned to the Attorney General’s Review Team to oversee the controversial Win Ho Lee espionage investigation. She was Chief of the Appellate Unit, and was also assigned to the Cyber Division, and Inspection Division, as well as working in the Office of Professional Responsibility. As part of the investigation team, she worked events such as the Bombing of US Embassy in Nairobi, and the Investigation of the 911 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon.
She was a hostage negotiator, part of the Evidence Response Team, and taught at the FBI Academy. After retiring as a Supervisory Special Agent, she conducted background investigations for the White House.
Mr. Jim Bell
SPECIAL projectS Coordinator
Jim came to Virginia from Rhode Island after a 35 year career in business and politics. He has most recently worked as a small business consultant and advisor to elected officials and political campaigns.
Jim holds a B.S. degree from Liberty University in Political Science and Master’s Degrees in Administration and Public Policy from both Liberty University and The University of Rhode Island.
As Special Projects Coordinator at Zenith, Jim strives to build mutually beneficial relationships with both the public and private sectors through personal outreach and public engagement in many diverse arenas. Jim is also developing and assisting in the implementation of Human Resource plans that will ensure a continuous vibrant workforce for our growing enterprise.