Over the last 19 years, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented and professional people in the aviation industry. They come from all ranks such as visionary leaders, office personnel, warehouse staff, and legends in the industry. Through all of the trips to the office, travels to meet with customers, and meetings at conferences, I am never short of awe as to the talent and hard work that people put into our business to make the airline industry a better place. When you really think about it, it’s the people that run that airline, that OEM, that aftermarket company, that logistics company, and so on. They are all working collectively to bring us together for the holidays, to meet with our customers, to visit our relatives, to go on vacation, to ship that box from store to door, and allow our businesses to explore new markets.
I have carried with me a passion for aviation which is larger than the plane itself. My hope is that I can pass it down to others with whom I work, and who will ultimately succeed me, over time. At GA Telesis, I look for that same passion in my team day in and day out. As a matter of fact, my team will tell you that the major factor that I look for when working with people is passion. Being surrounded by team members that are passionate, means being surrounded by people that are experienced, cultured, professional, and most importantly, willing to go above and beyond. This not only emanates with me but everybody in the organization. To this day, I carry with me an event that impacted me and really defined what good people do to an organization and ultimately in our aviation industry. The best part of it all was that nobody involved had a title of Manager, Director, or Vice President.
In April 2012, Dallas was hit by a tornado leaving many aircraft stranded and/or damaged on the tarmac. Now a normal day in the life of my AOG (aircraft on ground) team would be to handle a major AOG or two a month, but on this day my team was suddenly faced with 12 aircraft down with damage, and all at the same time. One can imagine the sheer number of parts required to handle such a request, but in the end, having the parts available was the easy part. It was the coordination and communication that would make or break us. I watched nine passionate team members roll into action pulling together IT system info, engineering data, configuration management data, warehousing, logistics, and building an impromptu communication network between, themselves, six different airline field service offices and our team in Europe (don’t forget the six-hour time difference). Essentially, on that day, those nine people threw out their job descriptions and did whatever they had to get the job done. The moment they were briefed on the situation they went into action with one goal; to ensure those aircraft went immediately back into service. That team, that passionate team of aviation professionals, none of which even held the title of manager, had all 12 aircraft back in the air in less than 48 hours — and keep in mind that at least half of the parts were shipped from Europe. The end result, people got to their destinations, packages were delivered, and the world of aviation was back into equilibrium. As the leader of that organization, that was my proudest moment, to be working alongside such a dedicated and passionate team. Learning from that example, this is the environment and culture I have built at GA Telesis.
Wanna hear another good one? In 1962, President Kennedy was visiting NASA. You will recall, at the time, NASA was hard at work developing the Apollo missions to the moon with slide rule technology. Everyone on that Apollo development team had an important role. During the tour, Kennedy stopped to introduce himself to the janitor who was tightly grasping his broom as he watched the President of the United States walk towards him and ask what he was doing. The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” Did that passion lead to a purpose or did the purpose lead to the passion? Regardless, that is the passion I seek when I hire at GA Telesis.