Top 40 Under 40: Megan Delk Barnes

Dec. 3, 2014


Megan was born and raised in Salem, Oregon with her parents and three sisters.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Psychology from San Diego State University. Since then, she has worked for both independent FBOs as well as chains ranging from a small few up to over 30 locations. Her responsibilities ranged from acquiring information to setup systems, combining marketing efforts, creating training manuals, managing pricing, training all FBO personnel, to implementing processes and procedures. She has extensive experience working directly with the FBO management team as well as the front line personnel to assist in process efficiency, improved service levels and network consistency implementation. As a corporate employee for much of her chain experience, she was involved in FBO Acquisitions for over five years and personally transitioned over thirty locations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

In addition to the transition experience, Megan has also been involved in both the start-up of an FBO as well as an FBO chain as the Director of Customer Service and Marketing. The success of that company eventually acquired a larger chain that is now one of the largest FBO chains in the US.

Megan is a wife and mother of two (almost 3) children, under the age of five, plus an amazing stepson.  She currently resides in Cypress, TX, where she has the pleasure of working with friends and family in the industry as an EVP of Paragon Aviation Group.

Top 40 Under 40 Questions        

1)      Why did you select aviation as a career?  With my father as the owner/president of Valley Oil Co., which later became AirBP/EPIC, I grew up in the business.  I worked holidays/summers at my dad’s office as the “grunt girl” doing everything from filing to office assistant to account research and collections.  Doesn’t sound glamorous, but it was pretty great getting to watch my dad in action and learn from him.  Having a father as a private pilot also gave me taste for general aviation and the joy and convenience that went along with it. 

2)      What advice from a mentor helped you the most in your career? I was fortunate growing up with such great parents and received a lot of good advice.  From my dad, I’d have to say one piece that stuck with me is - “Always put family first.  If you are not successful in your personal life, you will never feel successful in your professional life.”  From my mom, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”.  She would say that people are who they are.  If they are honest to the core (like your father) they will be true, trustworthy, and trusting (almost to a fault at times).  If they are all about “what is in it for me” you can’t change them, you can only learn how to work with them—there are a lot of people like this, so learn as quickly as you can. J 

3)      What is the biggest challenge you see facing aviation today?  I believe that a big challenge is independent FBOs today competing with the larger chains.  Economies of scale and having a large network are true factors and it makes it tough at times to compete with.  Networking with other FBOs and participating in group savings programs, like the chains are able to do, are essential to leveling the playing field.  My advice – join and independent network.

4)      What advice would you give to others in the industry?  If you don’t love this industry, you should consider finding another one to work in.  There are so many great people who are in this business and they are great because they love what they do. 

5)      What are three things we don’t know about you?  I received my pilots license my summer going into college.  My pride and joy are my children – they are an absolute blessing to me and a joy to anybody around them (not that I am bias).  I have a wonderful husband, who also happens to compete with my company J.