September 20, 2017

Q&A with Chad Anderson

Chad Anderson, President – Jetcraft
Location: Minneapolis, MN

How long have you been at Jetcraft?

I started at Jetcraft on April 1, 2005 as a sales person, so I’ve been with the company over 12 years. I remember the date because John Ames (my boss) came in on my first day and advised me the job offer was an April Fool’s Joke. I was newly married and we had our first born (Max) on the way, so my heart skipped a beat! I eventually became the Sr. VP of Sales, and am now President.

When I first started in 2005 the market was booming. This lasted until late 2008 when Jetcraft and the entire industry was challenged with the crash of our economy. We emerged in early 2009 as current day Jetcraft with the addition of Jahid as a shareholder and a move toward globalization. I became President shortly thereafter.

What are your responsibilities within the global Jetcraft team?

I oversee management and continuous development of our Sales, Transaction Management, Finance, Marketing, Administration, and Aircraft Operations teams worldwide. And, just as important, I focus on continuous development of our valued clientele, both the existing group and those to come in the future. I see myself as the Business Development Officer for whoever needs help regardless of their role in our company.

Describe a typical day or week in your role

My day is always different, but it really varies whether I’m on the road or in the office. If I’m on the road, the focus is on the client or key vendor that I am traveling to see. Most travel is based around a client or organizational objective, so I stay focused on that during my time away. If I am in the office, I start my day in, which gives me a barometer of deals that are pending and maturing, offers being made, etc. From there I see where my focus ought to be for the day and what is needed. In the evenings I head home for some time with my wife and kids (Max is 12, Ava is 10). They are young enough that they still think I’m cool so they like to hang out with us in the evenings. My son is learning to play lacrosse so I like to practice with him, and my daughter loves to dance so we get a lot of evening dance recitals in our living room.

What do you love most about your job?

I really value getting to know our clients and vendors around the world. Given that we cater to the best of the best around the world, getting to know our clients teaches me more about how to be a better business person, more about different cultures, and lets me experience aviation on a global scale. I remember in high school thinking I should learn how to fly so I could sell private jets. I had no idea that goal would become my reality in such a rewarding way.

Describe the company culture at Jetcraft and what it means to you?

Jetcraft is really like a big family and I believe that people outside our company notice it as much as we do inside the company. Being like family means that everyone at Jetcraft feels the joy when something exciting happens, and the pain when something doesn’t go so right. Having a family culture means our entire team has a back-up in many different disciplines, always ready to support a business or family challenge. That’s a culture that has been with Jetcraft ever since its founding over 55 years ago, and one that will survive.

What do you want your customers to experience when dealing with Jetcraft?

I want our customers to experience enough confidence in their dealings with Jetcraft that they won’t hesitate to call us regardless of their questions or needs in the future. Yes we buy and sell airplanes – that is the mechanics and core of our business, but we strive to gain trust and confidence through all of the efforts that we take on above and beyond the traditional sale efforts. The ultimate compliment is a repeat and referral client, and with this compliment comes a higher obligation to continuously improve the resources we can offer.

I have a couple of examples of things that we’ve done for clients that have been above and beyond the realm of a sale. We had one client taking delivery of a new Global 5000 in Bradley, CT. The closing happened, and shortly thereafter we saw an approaching storm that was producing hail. There was no hangar space available in Bradley, so we called another client in New York to see if they had any hangar space. That client granted us their extra space, and our new Global 5000 owner was able to beat the hail to New York to keep his new airplane safe from the weather.

In another instance we had a customer whose older GIVSP was going down for a lot of maintenance. They had an around the world trip that they wanted a GIVSP for, so they called us. We knew of another client that had a GIVSP who could provide for the mission. We put the two customers in touch, and they were able to work something out. Many people wouldn’t have thought to call Jetcraft for a scenario like that, but we’re always happy to offer help and ideas to anyone who has a need.

Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

I’ve had the pleasure of working for GREAT companies prior to Jetcraft including Cessna Finance Corporation and Bank of America. Each of those roles gave me incredible exposure to the greatest financial and aviation minds in the business from whom the lessons are numerous.

As a salesperson, however, I once had a high school job in a tuxedo rental store. The owner of that store could handle happy or disappointed clients better than anyone I had ever seen. One day a terribly upset client came in raging mad about a tux that didn’t fit him right. Wally, the boss, turned the situation around, and by the time the client left they were hugging each other. I asked Wally how he does it, he said, “Chad – if you kill people with kindness, they have no choice but to realize you’re a friend and can help.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson…

Describe yourself in 3 words

Focused, Relentless, Devoted

If you were to buy a business jet, which aircraft would suit your needs and why?

I’m an owner pilot with a desire to use aircraft for business and personal reasons. I need a plane that can make if from Minneapolis to the east coast non-stop with 4-5 pax plus bags (and my wife is an “above average” packer). While the Cirrus we own now is great for regional flights, it doesn’t quite hack the heavier loads. I often find myself glimpsing at the TBM turboprops, or any of the single-pilot authorized light jets such as the Citation Mustang. We have a few years before the next airplane is in site, so for the time being we are happy with the Cirrus.

What stands out to you as good customer service?

Any time a customer feels good enough with their experience that they want to work with you again and again, that means they received good customer service. The best customer service is realized when Jetcraft takes care of things above and beyond the call of duty. These experiences often turn customers into clients, and clients into friends.

Finally, what is your hidden talent or hobby?

In high school and college I was a diver and swimmer. After college I took up distance running and ran 7 marathons. Now my hobby is flying the Cirrus SR22T and having lots of fun with my wife and kids.

Header photo: Chad took a Sales Engineer and Karen Watkins (Administrative Assistant) up in his Cirrus.