Insight F1 Air Dynamic - RJ Valentine Racing and Business

rjvalentine.com

Insight F1 Air Dynamic - RJ Valentine Racing and Business

GHIThe alterations in commercial developed by The MBA Group of Companies, then national. In 1978 Valentine went profesairtravel resulting from (www.mbagroup.com). Some companies in their sional in the International Motor Sports As-September 11 sent many care include, F1 Boston (America's premier sociation. Yes, he is driven! ;..a businessman on a quest 106,000 square-foot corporate event, racing andFor most, 2004 may not have seemea llKe anfor alternative commuting entertainment venue), F1 Outdoors (recognizedopportune time to purchase a plane or two andmethods. Richard "RJ" as the "gold strand" of US outdoor kart racingdive into the aircraft industty, however this sortValentine was no exception. venues), Arrayworks (a firm specializing inof timing and risk-taking is clearly an asset ofA Boston-based entrepreneur and motor sports customized CRM software), SSC East (exclusiveValentine,s character and success. When askeddynamo, Valentine realized that to continue to distributor of state-of-the-artconduct business efficiently, and at the pace hewas accustomed, he must re-evaluate his travelpractices. "I said to myself, 'there's got to bea better way.' So I did some investigation anddecided I wanted to buy a plane." Discouragedby many but dissuaded by no one, Valentinedid just that. Then, to top it off, bought asubsequent plane. In 2004, F1 Air, an executiveaircraft charter business, was founded.Before diving into the company it serves toknow a little background about the man. Valentine,as mentioned, is a successful entrepreneur.He established The Massachusetts BusinessAssociation (MBA) in 1969. With 37 years ofsuccess to date, The MBA is a holding companyfor a diversity of operations some owned andoperated by The MBA and others invested inby the company. Valentine is Chairman of TheMBA Group and a principal in all the entities4 1 CAMP SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL r AUGUST ZCO6European racing karts andequipment to the eastern USand Bermuda), and, yes,F 1 Air.You may have noticed,among the list of thrivingbusinesses above, there existsthe theme of racing. Valentinealso has a prestigiousauto-racing career. Havinghad a love for cars and speedhis entire life, Valentine'sadmiration for racing aspiredto action after attending hisfirst Rokx 24 Hours ofDaytona sports-car race.In 1975 he went to racingschool. He began participatingin regional race events,


-IRichard "RJ" Vakntine, enhepreneur andprofessional race car driver. Photo provided courtesy of Fl Air.what his personal business philosophy is, made my life a lot easier working with him."Valentine replied, "Do the right thingF1 Air's staff consists of about 12 employees.when is looking'" It seems safe Its fleet consists of a Raytheon Hawker 800XPto say that was looking (atand a Bombardier Learjet 60. The planes keep athe market in the same way Valen- schedule of about 450-500 hours a year; cateringtine was) when F1 Air was l aunched ' to charter and meeting ownership needs. BothThe aircraft, as you may recall, were. . - lanes are ~ristine and reflective of Valentinespurchased to serve as convenient, effectivehigh standards of quality. "When I fly I want thecorporate transportation for Valentine and hisplanes to be in tip-top shape," says Valentine,business ventures. So, how did a charter business"Being a racer, equipment is extremely imporemerge?Nina Anderson, pilot for F1 Air, givestant to me. Therefore, our aircraft are clean andthis explanation of Valentine's establishment andmaintained, with pilots well trained."talent, "He has the incredible ability to see theforest through the trees. He can pick things upand instantly see a marketing outcome for them.He is a genius that way, an absolute genius! Healways amazes me."When starting the business, Valentine acknowledgesthat there was a lot to learn aboutcharter. In the process of Fl Air's founding he"learned that you have to get with a good 135operator, one that is relatively strict. You don'tskimp on pilots, training and things of thatnature or on maintenance and safety. And youmust have procedures in place." All of these arelessons learned and aptly applied. The companyoffers its charter services under New World Jet'scharter certificate with the management of theaircraft by Jet Aviation.Also essential to F1 Air's management is EdGoldberg, Valentine's partner. Goldberg workedat Merrill Lynch. He was "a senior guy, runningtheir air force," as Valentine puts it. He continues,"Ed plays an integral part in what goes onin the aircraft business [Fl Air]. He is instrumental;he's high-quality, smart business. It hasThe maintenance needs of the planes areunder the dedicated care of Andy Bearor, Chiefof Maintenance. Bearor has worked for F1 Airsince the company's start in 2004. Regardingthe company's growth he reflects positivelyand observes, "The owners are motivated. Inthe ownership, you will find the best supportstructure in existence." Always on call and everdevoted, Bearor is hands-on and does most ofthe maintenance himself. From "scheduling, dueitems, engine times to painting," Bearor explainshe "does everything from the nose to the tail onthe airplanes." Of course there are jobs too largefor one man to conquer alone. For these, theplanes are contracted out to their correspondingmanufacturers: the Hawker to a Raytheonfacility and the Learjet to a Bombardier for themaintenance. Of his responsibilities, Bearorwill tell you that he enjoys his job and that,"Anytime our planes need maintenance or leavefor maintenance, I'll be there with the plane. I'llmake sure, from start to finish, the plane andmaintenance is taken care of properly." Truededication and attention to safety.Another facet of F 1 Air's success since thecompany's introduction has been CAMP'SMaintenance Tracking system. When asked,'Why CAMP?' Valentine firmly answered,"CAMP is the gold standard of the business.After investigating everybody, CAMP was thename of the game." Bearor confirms this factthrough his daily use of the web application.Initially a little overwhelmed while becomingacquainted with the system, Bearor now assuresthat, "CAMP does streamline procedure for me.Once you figure it out it is the easiest thing."He shares what he sees as some of the severalbenefits of CAMP: "The web application isphenomenal. One of the big things with CAMPis that you can check it at home, in the office,anywhere you are! This is great. When I get acall, and I'm always on call, I don't necessarilyhave to leave my house to go to the hangar toget the answer. I can check from home. Othertracking systems are behind CAMP on this."He continues, "Also, why would I, or anyonefor that matter, use say two or three differentprograms when I can use one?" Bearor concludesby saying, "Between doing-it-yourself, usingCMP (the previous application Bearor utilizedon the job), and now CAME I never want to useanother program again. I will always want to beon the CAMP system. I love using it!"So, what else makes F1 Air unique, contributesto the company's success, and makes it acharter business worthy for hire? Well, it has todo with more of Valentine's philosophy. Let'srevisit Nina Anderson for the answer. Andersonis a rotational pilot for F1 Air's Hawker. Shejoined the company in the summer of 2005 afterdoing a contracted flight for Valentine. Abouther experience with F 1 Air and RJ Valentine,she shares that, "He is very insistent that, whilehe wants to make sure that the airplanes keepbusy, the pilots/[staffl have a life. He knows thata good employee is one that is happy, and if[continued on page 141AUGUST 2006 .> CAMP SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL 5


[Dynamic, continuedfrom page 51you don't have a life, you're not happy." Additionally, Anderson attributesthe company's success to the fact that, "He [Valentine] talks to you like afriend rather than some sort of geek employee. He understands business,yes he wants to make money, but he also cares about the people whowork for him. Which is unusual. Usually in a company you are like a taxidriver, that's all you are, but not with RJ. He hires people that not onlycan do the job but that he has some sort of personal rapport with. He isvery fair and he's treating you like family, which is totally why he is soAnother observation on the company's prosperous nature: "It is areally great crew found in the MBA Group that runs the airplanes. Itis an extremely safe operation. RJ will not skimp on safety. He is verypicky on who flies the aircraft. He only hires trained pilots who he feelsare safety conscious. He wants to make sure that there are no hot-shotsthat are going to endanger him." And, as seen earlier, the same applies tothe employee chosen to maintain the aircraft.. . no carelessness hot-shotlurking there either. She continues, "The coordination with our personalities[among the staff] is the best I've probably ever seen. That's a big, bigthing. Keeping a corporate flight department happy is a key to safety. WeAbout business and racing, Valentine explains that racing is a greatmarketing tool, with entertainment and bonding factors incorporatedin the experience. And the correlation between racing and aviation? "Attentionto detail, by all means," states Valentine, "Safety overall has to bewithout equal. Those two things along with a sense of always realizingthat you are dealing with very sophisticated equipment and you have toWhen asked what Valentine is most proud of about F1 Air he answers,"Obviously, it is our service. We are very proud of the fact that our pilotshave a lot of experience. We work hard to achieve a standard that I wantand expect of my all my businesses and a standard that I want when Ifly. We try to do everything according to our 135 operator, New WorldJet and Jet Aviation. They are involved with us in a big way and we workUnquestionably, undeniably.. . dynamic!PAIR135 Wood RoadBraintree, MA 02184781.228.2200CAMP SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL +AUGUST 2006

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