Spending some time with businessman and author, Hunter Gaylor, will compel you to ponder on another plane. (pun, absolutely intended) At 29 years old, Hunter is perspicacious and understands how small details make a profound impact on a successful venture. He embodies a strong sense of wherewithal, intuition, and vigor.
To say Hunter operates a private aviation company would be a broad statement. He does much more. What he is accomplishing, makes one reflect the minutes in a day, mental mindset, and possibilities.
In college, Harvard educated, he started a series of technological companies, one of which called “Howler” competed with Groupon. He has worked for the Greek Consulate, embassies, and government entities at the Prime Minister level. As he says, “Aviation makes the world a smaller place.” In this vein, he looks at the world in reverse, realizing that a better world starts with a better you. His intent is helping others get to where they want to go, and as one develops a path of success, it, in turn, drives positivity into society.
I met Hunter through a great friend Cheryl Moody, a branding expert who also works with the private travel industry. She highly recommended Hunter. Once, I had a client who needed to know if an offered plane in a deal was of suitable value, and another time a friend of mine required a person to help him get the most ROI out of his private planes. One thing Hunter can do is rent out planes for video shoots, or other creative purposes when not in the air. I called Hunter, and he answered right away and got on the phone with the clients when needed. He was present and insightful. It left an impression on me as an entrepreneur and left me wanting to recommend him to everyone who needed this sort of advice and service. When I heard he wrote a book, I wanted to talk about it. I feel like what he can impart, can navigate people into a spirit of bettering themselves, resulting in more significant results in their lives
He is humble enough to admit it hasn’t always been a home run. He acknowledges that you have to be open and honest and that you aren’t going to impress everyone; it’s overcoming these trials and tribulations that empower oneself with the right mindset. He is open to learning from every circumstance. He has one resounding piece of advice, when people ask him how he does it all, “You wake up, and you work!” Every day you get up, every day you hustle, and one day it will happen.”
I spoke to him recently about his new book, Planes, Plants, and Politics and what he is working on now.
How did you take something you were zealous about and make it a business? What was your first step?
HG- Zealous is a pretty strong word, but customer service and attention to detail are critical, and when you do not get those two things right, your whole business will be affected. This rings very true for the aviation, travel, and hospitality industries. The first step was to start solving the problem one step at a time. When I consult with family offices all around the world on there various holding and business investments, I always ask the question are those brands offering superior customer service. If they are, it is probably a good investment.
We all know there are hiccups in business, what does your inside voice say that keeps you on target and focused, no matter the circumstance?
HG- Just focus on the customer. No matter what, focus on the customer and give them the best experience possible.
What part of being true to you has an impact on intuition and circumstances in the end game?
HG- People want to deal with people that have Integrity. I was raised to be forthright and honest, even if it meant being less profitable. Having this reputation within the industry changes how far you can go in the end game. “As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours.” being true to yourself in knowing who you are. The end game for me isn’t really about creating famous brands, but instead creating effective ones if we are effective in an industry that is when we will have the greatest impact.
How do you balance and manage expectations on getting things done when you are dealing with different cultures and time zones?
HG- Fortunately, I have a great assistant and a great timepiece. Knowing my travel schedule in advance and the expected deliverables for all my projects allow me always to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Dealing all around the world, I have to work with different people with different beliefs and different motivations. This can be difficult to handle at times. I always encourage people to come together around the table or (Skype) and work to our common goal. You see, our beliefs affect our attitude, and if we can believe in cooperation, we will always get the deal done.
How do you better yourself regularly?
HG- Meditation and exercise. I find that taking time each day to have moments of quiet and reflection, which can be hard at times, helps me recenter what my priorities are. Building and designing an Airline is no small task. Writing a book is no small task. Launching beverage brands is no small task. But every day, by taking the time to reflect on the Why, we can move closer to better ourselves by bettering others. I have a saying I always try to impart to my colleges in the aviation industry. “We are ladies and gentlemen flying ladies and gentlemen.”
Tell me about Hunter Airways? The airline we discussed all first/ business class? (If I remember the name correctly.)
HG- I have always been an entrepreneur and believe in Going Big…so why not start an airline. Hunter Airways (Great Name!!) is simple, and our goal is simple. Upgrade the Flying Experience. Hunter Airways’ goal is to always provide the best value proposition in the market: To truly be ladies and gentlemen flying ladies and gentlemen. The absolute highest levels of excellence in private travel, service, and comfort.
There was a time when first-class air travel in the United States was the standard in the industry, synonymous with luxury and the finest customer service money could buy. That deteriorated over the years as airlines increased seats and decreased amenities in an effort to reduce costs. The only true area of luxury in the air that a consumer can find is flying private. We hope to try and move the needle in the industry by working with various stakeholders in upgrading the flight experience globally.
Who is it Planes, Plants, and Politics written for?
HG- Planes, Plants, and Politics is written for both the aspiring businessman and the seasoned entrepreneur who wants to take their business success to greater heights.
What was the catalyst in the writing of the book, and what is the message you are imparting?
HG- When my co-author, Joseph Del Prete, and I sat down to write Planes Planets and Politics, we wanted to focus on the fundamental traits needed for business success regardless of the industry that the individual works. Throughout our life experience, we’ve encountered numerous individuals that lack the fundamentals to properly succeed in a business environment, despite otherwise being great people in other areas of life. We hope the readers will gain insight into the aviation industry, the agricultural industry, domestic politics, and beyond. An individual’s business is the reflection of its operator, which is explored in the cross-industry parallels and lessons expounded upon in the book.
Tell me the top three benefits of private air travel.
HG- Time, Security, and Convenience. I always look at things from a business perspective — time and Opportunity cost. The majority of my clients are High Net Worth Individuals, which means it’s not exclusively about the luxury of flying private, but rather the ability to save time so they can get from point A to point B efficiently and still make it home to their families for dinner.
How can you help someone with their private jet experience, and how can they get in touch with you?
HG- Whether it is buying or selling, charting, or leasing, I am here to help guide our clients through the process. Having the pleasure of working and learning with Mr. Foulkrod at Avjet Global Sales, we are able to focus on the client and their mission profile. You can always contact me at HunterGaylor.com or AvjetGlobal.com or follow me on Instagram @HunterSGaylor
How do you think small details enhance the big picture?
HG- They say, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but in my world, the small details are everything. By giving great attention to detail, we can enhance the bigger picture. In the art world, a simple brush stroke on the canvas can affect the entire picture, and in turn, change how someone sees something. I always try and put myself in the mindset of a formula one driver. They have 25 buttons on their steering wheel, and one small button can affect the entire race. What button will you press?
How do you prioritize your goals?
HG- First, I always write things down. Even though we live in a digitally connected age, I always find that writing something down helps me focus on my goals. I always prioritize my goals first by knowing when something needs to be done and who it needs to be done.
What are you passionate about in your growth professionally speaking?
HG- I am continually making a more significant impact on the industry by developing my unique expertise and perspective to empower the right teams to solve real problems. I am very passionate about global business and connecting different cultures. Perhaps that is why I enjoy art so much. Building global coalitions that bring about large economic opportunities is something I am very passionate about. I look to be hopefully running very large corporations as my professional journey continues.
Is private aviation more in people’s reach than they think?
HG- Yes, to a point. The industry is always evolving with technology and innovation to bring flying closer to everyone, and you see this with companies like UBER elevate and Jetsmarter; however, private aviation remains a luxury industry with price points that target the affluent. In the years to come, we feel Hunter Airways will succeed in blending the luxury aspects of private aviation with the shared cost affordability offered by commercial jet travel.