Cheers to Five
When Chandler Hartley accepted a position with Jet Linx Atlanta in 2014, she found herself working alongside the Base President and one other Client Service Specialist. Hartley recalls being on call every-other weekend, working every-other holiday, and working tirelessly with a small team to ensure the success of the Atlanta Base. The operation has expanded in many facets since then, which is something that Hartley takes great pride in.
“To see us add more team members, Jet Card clients, and aircraft – it’s been rewarding. We were setting up events, selling Jet Cards, and doing anything it took to help the Base succeed,” she reflected. “It was sink or swim, and the exposure to all the different facets of the business has helped me immensely. I was cross-trained in nearly everything.”
Jet Linx Atlanta started operations with zero aircraft, zero Jet Card clients, and three team members. They currently manage 13 aircraft, cater to 189 Jet Card clients, and boast a team of 33 employees. With more than 12,000 legs flown and more than 14,000 hours of flight time in five years, the Atlanta base is humming with momentum.
Hartley, now the Director of Administration, was responsible for planning the private terminal’s five-year anniversary event. The anniversary party included complimentary valet parking, cocktails, delicious food including a carving table, and even a cigar rolling station featuring two blends of tobacco which were then rolled and wrapped by a professional. The event also featured a dazzling static display, with Bombardier’s Challenger 350, Embraer’s Legacy 500, and a Gulfstream G280 on the ramp for guests to explore.
Nearly 120 Jet Card members, aircraft owners, partners, and friends of the Base gathered in Atlanta’s private terminal at Peachtree-Dekalb Airport to celebrate the milestone. Team members and guests reflected on the memories made after five years, and they shared hopes for the future.
“I’m most proud of having had the opportunity to help build a respectable business, one that started with no Jet Card members or aircraft,” stated Ron Smith, Jet Linx Atlanta Base President. “I’m proud that we have brought a quality, safe aviation solution and service to a great city like Atlanta. I’m proud of the team we have built, clients that have come in to our family and the great brand that we represent.”
Five years in, Smith says that people not only know about Jet Linx as a company, they associate the brand with quality. “I’m proud that when you talk to people in the community, more and more people know who we are and associate us with quality. I’m proud after five years, Jet Linx Atlanta is the largest, most well-respected aviation management company in our region.”
Scott Wilbanks, Vice President of Sales at Jet Linx Atlanta, shared a similar sentiment. “Jet Linx Atlanta was truly a green field with no clients, aircraft or location. So, establishing the trust of our clients in the early days has required a lot of work. To see how we have been accepted in the market has been very rewarding,” he said.
It’s been a memorable five years for everyone in Atlanta. When asked to share a favorite memory, many team members couldn’t name just one. “There are so many. Reaching our 50th and 100th Jet Card, adding our third and fourth Client Services team members, creating an active Advisory Board, assisting one of our long standing Jet Card members with his special travel needs as he battled cancer and recovered, doing well enough that we could participate in local charity work and contribute financially,” Smith reflected.
Making an impact – no matter how great or small – is what the Atlanta team strives for each day. Client Service Specialist Leslie Gutierrez recalled a touching moment when she had a chance to meet former Purdue mega-fan and cancer activist, Tyler Trent, on his way to receive Disney’s Wide World of Sports Spirit Award. “Getting to meet his family and be a part of their Atlanta experience is one I will never forget,” she mused. “Now he has his forever wings.” Trent lost his battle with a rare form of bone cancer on New Year’s Day in 2019. His positive spirit left an impact on the entire Atlanta team.
Smith noted that his fondest memories are all full of laughter. “Hearing our team and clients interact with each other, seeing our clients enjoy the time they spend here and hearing our people share a laugh within the walls of this private terminal are some of my most special memories,” he said.
While everyone took time to soak in the milestone, the Atlanta Base is already considering what things will look like for their 10th anniversary celebration. Whether that means adopting new strategies for success or modifying their own proven methods, every team member is eager to keep moving onward and upward.
Wilbanks believes that, guided by the core values shared by all Jet Linx team members, not even the skies will be the limit. “Our goal will always be to exceed our clients’ expectations and deliver daily on our Supply the High Five Core Values,” said Wilbanks. “By focusing on this, I feel confident our future will continue to climb to new heights.”
Smith would like to continue to add aircraft and carve pipelines into local universities and schools for recruiting the best young talent available. “My vision includes a more rounded offering of aircraft, especially Super Midsize Jets, and a larger hangar operation,” he said. “I also see us more entrenched in the aviation community, getting involved with local and regional colleges, technical schools, and Universities to help promote our industry in the region.”
The team also recognizes the continued importance of their strong work unit to overcome organizational challenges. LeeAnn Sturgeon, Jet Linx Atlanta Lead Client Service Specialist, noted that the shared experiences among the team “give us ammunition to overcome even greater obstacles in the future.”