Forging the bonds of business

Our Team

Mr. Kutlay Kaya

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Mr. Kaya 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, Mr. Kaya’s current geographic areas of focus are the United States, Turkey, and the Middle East.

In 1996, Mr. Kaya 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, Mr. Kaya earned a master’s degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

In 2014, Mr. Kaya 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, Mr. Kaya founded ZNT Global — headquartered in Ankara, Turkey — as a sister company to ZQC, and to pioneer similar business operations in Turkey and its region.

Mr. Kaya is both MKEK’s exclusive representative in the United States, and Raytheon’s country partner in Turkey for cybersecurity and tank modernization. Mr. Kaya 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. Mr. Kaya maintains strong ties with Turkish authorities in government, the Ministry of National Defense, the Turkish Armed Forces and the General Directorate of Security, in order to effectively represent global companies that aspire to work in Turkey.

Mrs. Hanri Kaya

CHEIF EXECUTIVE 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.

Mr. James Williamson

chief operations officer

Mr. Williamson 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 ZQC, Mr. Williamson 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, Mr. Williamson became ZQC’s 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.

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. Andrew Eckert

vice president, corporate communication

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

He is currently ZQC’s 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. Mr. Eckert is also charged with procurement functions, product pricing management and advising the executive team on various matters.

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.