As a little boy, Eric Veal accompanied his father, Glen Veal, to Jet Away, an FBO located at Wiley Post Airport in Bethany, Okla. Glen Veal worked with the FAA and was an investigator and flight instructor for FAA pilots. Eric watched his dad prepare accident reports and ramp checks for the pilots at the FBO. By the time Eric turned 16, he had his first line service job at Jet Away. Today, Eric is the day shift line supervisor at Banyan Air Service located at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. When asked what he likes about working the ramp, Eric replies, “I chose line service instead of becoming a pilot because I wanted to be around aviation, but didn’t want to be a pilot on-call and away from home all the time. Line service gives me the best of both worlds.”
Eric has been at Banyan for 10 years and supervises between eight and 12 line service technicians. There are approximately 400 aircraft based on the Banyan property and including transient aircraft, the ground support team tows and fuels more than 100 aircraft a day.
Eric attributes his longevity with Banyan to the company atmosphere and company values. “When I first started at Banyan, I was waiting for a wing walker so I could tow some planes. Don Campion, president of Banyan, asked me if I needed help and when I said yes, to my surprise he personally spotted for me even though it was pouring rain. I knew I was working in a special place when this happened. At Banyan, teammates are not numbers, they are individuals and they are recognized on their company anniversary and their birthday. Managers are empowered to give bonuses to teammates that go the extra mile. In addition, teammates are encouraged to share their ideas and everyone at every level has access to the president, Don Campion,” Eric says.
Eric’s days are varied with all aspects of ramp work. In addition, Eric provides direction for his team and trains other line service technicians. He is noted for his organizational skills and he easily keeps track of inbound and outbound aircraft. He has a great memory for tail numbers and knows if the aircraft is new to Banyan or a returning customer. He is personable, greets everyone with respect and goes out of his way to help.
Pilots, passengers and teammates can easily recognize Eric by his signature attire. To protect himself from the Florida sun, he wears a blue brimmed hat, sunglasses, a long-sleeved white shirt and long pants. In addition, he always wears his 10-pound tool belt. Wearing this tool belt would exhaust a lesser man especially in the South Florida sun, but Eric wears it to save time. He prides himself on having the tools needed to fix little situations that occur on the line.
Eric has come full circle from his days at Jet Away. When visiting pilots see his name tag and ask if he is related to Glen Veal who flew for the FAA in Oklahoma, Eric feels a sense of pride and smiles as he replies, “That’s my Dad.”