The Bedford file Featured

7:37am EDT July 29, 2006
Born: 1961, Clearwater, Fla.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
Make Jesus the CEO. I can’t say that’s something I’ve always practiced. It’s certainly been reinforced to me here.

When you rely on Jesus to make the big decisions, it takes a lot weight off your shoulders. There are some burdens that no one person should have to carry.

What is the most difficult business challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
9/11 — it was not just an attack on U.S. soil, it was an attack on what we do, our way of life, using aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction. Emotionally and psychologically, it was very damaging to everybody in the business.

It was profoundly impactful to our company, our industry and our people.

Within two weeks, it was very clear that our short-haul turbo business, which we intended to exit anyway but had intended to do it in a much more orderly, long-term fashion, meant those markets became huge cash flow burners. Those markets were all over and done with. As a result, we grounded a huge chunk of our turboprop fleet.

We had to eliminate 25 percent of the jobs in this company in two weeks. Thankfully, within seven or eight months, we were able to bring all those people back. It was the worst month of my life, for sure.

Republic Airways’ vision statement:
We believe that every employee, regardless of personal beliefs or world-view, has been created in the image and likeness of God. We seek to become stronger from our diversity. We seek personal respect and fulfillment from our work. Most of all, we seek to recognize the dignity and potential of each member of our Republic Airways Holdings family.