January 28, 2015

Thunderous Success: Private Jet Partner Supports Phoenix Open


private-jet-jon-hulburd-thunderbirdGoing to “The Greatest Show on Grass,” the Phoenix Open? Then you’d better get to know Jon Hulburd, Jet Linx Scottsdale Private Jet Base Partner, and the Thunderbirds, the elite group of men who founded and host the largest annual PGA golf tournament.

The Thunderbirds began as part of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Five members of the community were selected to lead a committee as part of the Chamber’s expansion in its convention and tourism bureau. One of its early members, Bob Goldwater, founded and chaired the first Phoenix Open in 1934. In 1938, at the Chamber’s recommendation, the committee became an official organization and expanded its membership from the original five members to a total of 55 active members.

Jet Linx Scottsdale Base Partner, Jon Hulburd, has been a member of the Thunderbirds since 1997. “I was very surprised and very honored to be invited to be part of the organization,” Hulburd said. Today, Hulburd has a reduced commitment as a lifetime member. “When a member turns 45, you become a Lifebird, as opposed to one of the 55 active members of the group,” Hulburd added. “I have now been a Lifebird for … let’s just say, a few years now,” Hulburd laughed.

The Thunderbirds are known for their commitment to sport, but few realize how far the outreach extends. “A lot of folks out here associate us with our amazing golf tournament but we also provide critical funding and staffing of the Special Olympics we host each spring,” Hulburd said. “We write a big check, hang lots of medals around the athletes’ necks and even participate in the opening ceremony.”

The Phoenix Open includes a four-night music festival, the Coors Light Birds Nest. The Birds Nest boasts an energized atmosphere, with national bands headlining the four-day concert experience. It’s unique to the area, and considered “the spot to see and be seen… the ultimate golf party” by Arizona Foothills Magazine. “Opening night represents a year’s worth of pent-up energy and is pretty crazy for a Wednesday night,” Hulburd said. “The party ends on Saturday night with all tickets long-since sold out. My older kids fly in from all parts of the country to show their out-of-town friends our version of Mardi Gras.”

All members of the Thunderbirds band together during the tournament to make the event a success. “As a Lifebird member, we can still help out the year-long sales effort,” Hulburd explained. “During the week of the tournament, I walk with an assigned group of players each day as part of our Hoofer program. This lends an additional level of security as well as an official Thunderbird presence on the golf course.”

In Arizona Native American mythology, a thunderbird displayed great strength and power. Today, the Thunderbirds are living up to the folklore by raising over $86 million for charities based in or with significant outreach in Arizona.

This year, Scottsdale will be home to a second major sporting event: the Super Bowl. If you’re headed to the big game, check with your Client Service Specialists so they can make arrangements.

Contact Us