Greg believed in better...
Only the luckiest businesses experience the moment. The chemical reaction when an idea kicks open a door and explodes into in a flash of OZ-like gold and red.
My father is a pilot. He loved to fly and would use any excuse to take to the air. So naturally, when he was building his chemical business, if he was needed, the airways sang their pilot call. He would fly around the province taking care of his customers. It made sense. He could service his customers, make his airplane tax deductible, and be home to read me Dr. Seuss at night. I was surprised when I heard other kids talk about missing their Dads when they were away on business trips. My Dad traveled every week. But he was always home for the important stuff. As a kid, I never really thought about it. I just want to be like him.
Of course. When your Dad flies, what do you want to do? Be a pilot like Dad. And when I got older… but I am getting ahead of myself. Dad found that using private planes made so much sense that he kept adding planes to the business. And the business grew. He added planes. The business grew, but Dad was still home for the important stuff. I grew from Dad and Dr. Seuss to Dad yelling encouragement from the stands. The best was when he took me on trips. I loved flying with him. Flying was fun. So, I became a pilot, like Dad.
Then I entered the business. And I started to look at flying differently. I saw how the successful friends of mine lived their lives. Slowly being killed by the crappy food in airports, the stress of confined spaces, and the weight of security lines. The strength of their family being slowly eroded by the weight of business travel. My soul could feel the dust collecting on the Dr. Seuss books that lay ignored in kid’s bedrooms. The slow, insistent, creeping pressure of business travel was crushing my friends’ souls and sapping them of life. I knew it should be different. I knew what my life was like. I also knew our business results. I knew our numbers. I knew that using private airplanes was the key to our success. The results did not lie. I had an idea. But also a frustration.
Remember that gold and red flash. Sometimes it is driven by frustration. And frustration is an interesting thing.
Every executive and business owner has had this happen. You are the customer, and the relationship is not going well. You are not being treated the way you would like. Then it happens. The moment that you decide you have had enough, and you are moving your business elsewhere. But what if there is no good alternative?
This is what happen to me.
Commercial aviation is different than recreational flying. The plane must be ready at all times. This means properly maintained, paperwork filed, and ready to go. That means hiring a company to take care of the plane. I also found, that while he is a pilot himself, productivity came when the plane was flown by someone else. Leaving me to more productive tasks.
Being a pilot gave me a unique view on how this service should be delivered. And I was not happy. When I took over the PIC business from Dad he was flying over 200 hours a year. And the experience along with the service was terrible.
Then it happened. The frustration became motivation. It was in that moment the door blew opened, the colour of Oz became real, and Dr. Seuss kicked off the dust of neglect. KREOS was born.
I had enough. I decided I was going to get into the business of maintaining aircraft. What I also knew was that there were other people like me who were frustrated. Step 1 – I found someone who had done this for others and hired him. I then made a deal with a maintenance company. But first before I could make any of this happen, I needed a hangar. So, I bought the steel for a hangar. But did not yet have the land. I can tell you a fun story about the day the steel company called wanting to know where to deliver the steel to. I did not have the land yet. That was a fun call. Things were moving quickly.
But it all worked out. Later we even secured a deal with Esso for supplying fuel. Kreos was born out of the frustration that I felt as a customer. About not being treated well. Not having needs met. Being overcharged. I knew that it could be a better experience. So, we built a better experience. Then offered it to others.
My experience formed the core DNA of KREOS Aviation. It is why this company was born.