Kicking the Tires

Feb. 1, 2004
February 2004
This past month I have had the opportunity to ask questions, get to know some of you and get out there and "kick the tires". As I have traveled 40 miles north to Wisconsin Aviation and the Dane County Regional Airport; 30 miles south of the Wisconsin border to the Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport (RFD) and 1000 miles west to SFO, I have been told by several of you that in the field of ground support you won't find a better bunch of more "down-to-earth" people (no pun intended). This I have certainly found to be true. For the cover story of this issue I found myself in 15 degree weather at midnight, UPS' busiest time of the day at RFD where flights were arriving from 20 or more cities all over the US. Highly engineered and measured, each jet unloads, sorts, reloads and departs like clockwork. I definitely have a newfound respect and appreciation for all of you who are on the line, especially during the winter months in the sub-zero north. When out in the field, I relish the stories you have to share about your company's roots, bugaboos, accomplishments and whimsical facts. For example, Steve Thomas, CEO of Emery Air Inc. at RFD, shared with me the term of endearment used for their lavatory service truck - "Crapper John." You've got to admit, what a great double entendre! Historically, GSE, which originated out of the farm implement business using tractors and old pick-up trucks, has been the "tail end of the dog" when it comes to procurement, both militarily and in the airlines. Yet almost 100 years later, it's clear to see that GS is a business, which has metamorphosed into quite a Byzantine industry, RFD being a perfect example. However, with it comes sophisticated equipment and technologies that can make it a challenge to stay abreast of the latest trends. My role in the GS business is to produce a publication that makes it less of a challenge and helps you "talk" to one another about your experiences, operations and best practices. I can do that best if you stay in touch with me. Please see my "call for stories" below.

Thanks for reading.