I have learned two very valuable lessons in the 25 years I have been working at Duncan Aviation. The first is that you should surround yourself with the best. The second is that you absolutely must be involved in something bigger than you.
I work with some phenomenally smart and innovative people. They make me better. The same goes for the company as a whole. Over the last 36 months, Duncan Aviation has conducted business with 79 of the 86 Fortune 100 companies that own aircraft. For a variety of reasons, the exposure to these companies has made Duncan Aviation better.
Let me give you a specific example. Our Continuous Improvement team recently began collaborating with representatives from a large fleet customer to improve aircraft delivery rates for their projects. While researching past deliveries, we discovered that 25% of a project’s paperwork was being completed in the last three days of the project. Delays in this paperwork would negatively impact delivery rates. Not to over-simplify the issue, but in essence, when we moved paperwork completion up in the schedule, delivery rates improved. Not only did the lessons learned apply to this customer, but we were able to take them and apply them to other projects and positively impact other customer deliveries.
Over the years, business aviation has been very good to my family. We love to fly, and the industry has allowed us to not only fly, but to make a living doing what we love. One of the best ways I have found to give back to the industry is to be involved with the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association). In October, I will take over as Chairman of the NBAA Associate Member Advisory Council, a group that was established to advise the NBAA Board of Directors on issues of interest to NBAA’s Associate Members and to help support and share goals of the NBAA. Working to prevent ATC (Air Traffic Control) privatization, to raise awareness of business aviation careers for high school and college students, and to ensure ethical business practices are just a few of the industry hot points right now.
In addition to serving on the council, I personally visited our senators in Washington, D.C., this May to discuss concerns over ATC privatization. Duncan Aviation has hosted visits and tours for various elected officials at our hangars in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Provo, Utah. We encourage our team members and customers to be involved and make their voices heard.