June 17, 2020

Q&A with Sean Johnson – F/LIST Canada

Sean Johnson, CEO, F/LIST Canada

How long have you been at your current organization?

Just over 2 years

What are your responsibilities within your organization?

I am responsible for all of F/LIST Group’s activity for North America and the CEO of our Canadian facility

Describe a typical day or week in your role.

Typically it’s a balance between meeting customers, following up and ensuring they are happy with our products and services, and engaging with our people to make sure that the business is running smoothly and they have everything they need to do a great job. Lately with COVID, obviously, we have been very focused on the safety of our people, and being incredibly flexible to adapt to the changing landscape of the aviation business. In fact, one area where we pivoted quickly was in protecting aircraft surfaces against contamination. We were one of the first licensed to apply the product MicroShield 360 to aircraft interiors (https://microshield360.com/). This product kills over 99% of germs on any surface and protects for a full year against the spread of germs. Given the current climate, we felt being able to apply this was one way we could pitch in and help ensure the safety of our customers.

What do you love most about your job?

I love working with people, and the culture and environment we’ve created as a team. The F/LIST spirit has been a part of our company since it was founded in 1950, but bringing that to Canada and North America has been one of the greatest parts of the job. We believe in putting our people first, and upholding our relentless pursuit of quality to be the finest producer of luxury interiors in homes, yachts, and airplanes. And being a family-owned business, we are focused on long-term relationships with our customers and not interested in the quick buck.

Why did working in the Business Aviation industry interest you, and how did you get started?

I have always had a love of airplanes. My father was a pilot in the Canadian Air Force so I’ve been around them all my life. I joined Bombardier in 1995 in aerodynamics and been part of the industry ever since. I spent many years on the aircraft technical side of the business, leading teams supporting the engineering of the ‘green aircraft’ of the Global, participating in the customer Advisory Boards and ensuring the aircraft had great reliability. My introduction to Business Aircraft interiors came in 2007 when I moved to Montreal and took over the customer account management, interior design and engineering for the cabin interiors of the Global Express (now Global 6500). I fell in love with the close connection to the interior with the end customer, and how it is so important to the overall experience the customer has with the aircraft. I love the challenge of matching their dreams and desires to personalize the interior with the technical requirements of designing, building and certifying something that flies at 51,000 feet. It’s such a dynamic industry because every aircraft and customer is unique, and there’s such a sense of accomplishment when you can delight your customer at the end with the experience they dreamed of.

Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

It’s hard to pin down to one influence, as there have been many. For leadership, I think a coach I had named Robert Shereck taught me a lot about changing my view on things to be a better and more flexible leader. He came along at a time when I really needed a kick to unblock some issues I was having. Professionally, I think learning about human-centered design and applying it to the Global 7000 interior was the biggest Business Aviation influence. I learned so much on that program on how to really listen to human needs and create products that would revolutionize how they are perceived.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Creative. Entrepreneurial. Stubborn. Not always in that order.

What one item would you never travel without on a long haul flight?

My Kindle. I usually have 3 or 4 books on the go and it’s great for those long hours of solitude.

Finally, what is your hidden talent or hobby?

Despite being 50 this year, I am a true Canadian and love playing hockey. I am a goalie so I guess that makes me a sucker for punishment in some way.

About F/LIST Canada

F. LIST CANADA CORP. (or F/LIST CANADA), based in the Montreal aerospace cluster, provides high-quality wood veneers, aircraft aftermarket services and autonomous production capabilities for business and private jet cabin interior to customers all across North America. F/LIST CANADA is a subsidiary of F. LIST GMBH, a worldwide provider of interiors for business jets, yachts and residences, and engages more than 900 employees at eight locations in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Passion, reliability and a visionary spirit determine every step of this Austrian family-run business.


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