Last Friday, we had the pleasure of listening to the CEO of Skywest, Jerry C. Atkin as the special luncheon guest. Jerry has been the CEO of Skywest since 1975. He has taken Skywest from revenues of $1 million to $1 billion.
He had lots of great stories of the early struggles of Skywest to stay afloat and talked about the expansion that led to where Skywest is now.
Jerry seemed to be very down to earth. Skywest has been turning a consistent profit. He talked about their expansion into Brazil as well.
From their annual report:
Another positive development during the year was the consummation of a share purchase agreement with Trip Linhas Aereas, (‘‘TRIP’’) a regional airline headquartered in Campinas, Brazil. TRIP currently operates a fleet of 20 turboprop aircraft consisting of (12) ATR42 and (8) ATR72’s. TRIP has also placed an order for five ERJ175 regional jets that are scheduled to begin delivering in March of 2009. Additionally, they are acquiring new ATR72 aircraft in order to expand their business and take advantage of the growing Brazilian economy. Our agreement allows for an investment of up to $30 million, to be paid in tranches over the next two years, based on TRIP meeting certain defined financial objectives. As of year end, we had invested $5 million in TRIP resulting in an ownership of about 7% of the company.
I found this quite interesting especially since JetBlue’s Founder has been actively working to start an airline in Brazil as well.
Overall it was a very enjoyable time to hear a CEO that has been very successful.