Texas Jet kicked off 2021 on a positive note, despite the obvious struggles that impacted the nation. The top ranked fixed-base operator (FBO) significantly expanded its presence at Meacham International Airport (KFTW) in Fort Worth, Texas, in addition to earning Professional Pilot Magazine’s 2021 PRASE Awards title as the No. 1 Independent FBO in the U.S. for the fifth time since 2016.
Recently, Texas Jet expanded its state-of-the-art hangar facilities by 65,000 square feet, to accommodate an additional 20 aircraft. The family-owned FBO now serves more than 100 aircraft across 23 hangars at KFTW, and that number is rising. This past February, Texas Jet broke ground on another hangar that’s expected to be completed later this year, adding 39,000 square feet and bringing its total hangar space at KFTW to more than a half-million square feet.
But Texas Jet Founder and President, Reed Pigman Jr., who launched the company in 1978 with a single 35,000-square-foot hangar, isn’t quite ready to stop growing. He plans to add two more hangars over the next few years, bringing Texas Jet’s total hangar space to around 570,000 square feet. When asked how his business is doing so well, he credited a few things, including Texas Jet’s focused business model.
“We stick with pumping fuel and operating our executive terminal and try to do it better than anyone else,” he said referring to the business’s focus solely on fueling, renting hangar space and towing airplanes.
Pigman also credits the city of Fort Worth.
“Fort Worth is very business friendly with no state income tax. A lot of people really like doing business in Fort Worth,” he said. “As a result, we’re picking up approximately two to three new transient turbine customers per week.”
However, the single largest factor that Pigman credits to the success is their Culture of Excellence. In fact, Pigman and his Customer Service Manager Holly Hopkins have invested heavily into the company’s culture and customer-service training—beginning 15 years ago when the two of them traveled to Chevy Chase, Maryland, to train under The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.
“It’s one thing to have great customer service training, but if you don’t have the underlying culture where employees and team members treat each other with respect, you can’t really expect a team member to go out and take care of the customer and form emotional bonds with them,” he said. “Our team members become micro brands, so when a pilot comes in and out of Texas Jet, they look forward to specific employees being there.”
Both Pigman and Hopkins spent a few years developing their Culture of Excellence, using some of what they learned from The Ritz-Carlton training and a blend of other training courses and philosophies.
“It was not an easy thing to convince our employees to buy-in on the training,” Pigman said. “There was fear from the employees, who saw the difference in us and were wondering what they were going to have to do. But once it sunk in, and there was complete buy-in, they saw the value as well, and that’s when things took off.”
As the years progressed, the culture became embedded into Texas Jet, helping to ensure the right people were hired for the job at the outset.
“We try to find people who like to serve others,” Pigman said. “If they don’t have that basic desire to serve others, the best they’re ever going to be is an order taker. We don’t want an order taker. We want someone who is going to read the mind of the customers.”
The Culture of Excellence has since become a staple at Texas Jet, with many pilots choosing to fly in and out of KFTW because of the service they receive from Pigman, Hopkins and the rest of their 40 employees. Hopkins, herself, has been a shining example to her team and has consistently ranked as a top Customer Service Representative in both the Aviation International News (AIN) FBO Survey and Professional Pilot Magazine’s PRASE Awards.
It also helps that Texas Jet can be relied on to always have fuel ready to go. As a loyal Phillips 66® Aviation partner for 40 years, Texas Jet has developed a reputation for offering the best fuel quality and service, according to Pigman.
“I know that Phillips 66 is in it for the long haul,” he said. “When you look at other fuel providers, they’re in aviation and then out of aviation, and they don’t seem to make up their mind. Phillips 66 has always been there and has always made sure we have fuel.”
To learn more about Texas Jet, visit texasjet.com.