Welcome to 2018 and A World of Air Elite.
I have had a number of sayings come across my desk in my career which have inspired me at some level. I’m not sure any of them have moved me more than a concept that was often shared with many of us in Ft. Worth by its’ former Mayor, Bob Bolen. On many occasions, he would go out of his way to remind his constituents to, “leave it better than you found it.” Having grown up in upstate New York, gone to school outside of Boston and worked in a number of cities across the country, I can tell you that a lot of folks have kept that notion at the forefront of their minds here in Ft. Worth over the years. Having lived and worked here since the early part of 1990, this community continues to thrive on all fronts, in large part because of tremendous leadership, from both the business community and our political leaders.
After having served on the Board over the last few years, I was humbled when I was asked recently to become the Chairman of the Air Elite Board. I view it as a tremendous opportunity and I’m honored to fill this leadership position representing all of the network members.
I have been fortunate to have been involved with the AllianceTexas project from the beginning, when one of our Network founders, Tim Ward, offered me the opportunity to become part of the Alliance Airport team. After ten years working with Tim and growing the airport businesses, I moved onto the parent organization, Hillwood real estate team as their Senior Vice President of Operations.. When Tim Ward decided to retire, I was asked to come back to lead the aviation side of our business. I gladly accepted and returned to the airport, as President of our aviation companies.
I was sorry to miss our latest network meeting, as I was on leave cycling across the country supporting my daughter’s foundation. The ride gave me an opportunity to think long and hard about how we might continue to grow the value we have created in the 70+ global FBO facilities, now in place. The network has reached a point where it’s important to step back and evaluate our mission and look at our history to review our successes and evaluate our overall performance to date. As a network, we continue to seek new ways to deliver value to flight departments, owned aircraft operators and aviation enthusiasts, alike. 2018 will be different for the network for several reasons. This year we are more organized, better networked, and with World Fuel Services having refined their position in the industry as well as the Business & General Aviation products and services, we know this is a very strong alliance. We have set very specific goals supported by intelligent strategies for 2018 that will add value, structure to our flight departments and operators, and enhance our network offering overall.
We look forward to the opportunities in 2018 for the aviation industry. Change is still the constant in our industry. Those who are adaptive and able to look to the future to determine the most intelligent ways to ensure value and consistent service delivery to the customer, separate themselves from the rest.
As the Air Elite Network Board Chair, I am honored to represent the network and seek to work with our members and World Fuel Services to differentiate the network with high value and consistency in all things. I look forward to the year ahead and feel confident that, at the end of the day, it truly is all about….”leaving it better than you found it!”
Thomas J. Harris
President, Alliance Air/Aviation Services – A Hillwood Company
Air Elite Network Board Chair, Air Elite Network