“Just let me keep jumping out of airplanes.”
— Jim Davis, West Coast Sr. Sales Manager
FPI often celebrates their unique “entrepreneurial family reunion” spirit due to 90% of the team having previously worked together decades ago at Air Routing International (ARI).
Jim Davis, FPI’s newest addition to the team, continues the trend and regales what originally led him to aviation, to ARI, and now back into the FPI family fold.
After serving our Country in the Army, in an Airborne Unit, and in Air National Guard, Jim Davis eventually served Air Routing International (ARI) in the mid-2000s alongside many of FPI’s current flight planners, trip coordinators, and operations team members.
At the start of Jim’s career, however, his interests ran towards airplanes thanks to his passion for running out the back door of them.
“Like many who grew up in my era, Top Gun lit the original spark. I clearly remember the moment that fire took root: I was a young paratrooper waddling up the tailgate of a roaring C130 at Ft. Benning, GA, with the smell and the rush of the exhaust from the engines. That’s when all cylinders fired in me, everything clicked, and I said to myself: ‘I’ve GOT to be in aviation for the rest of my life.’ For now, just let me keep jumping out of airplanes.”
Jim did just that by jumping directly from the Army into the Aviation Management program at Western Michigan University during weekdays and working line services with Pentastar on nights and weekends.
Although this grueling season commanded substantial grit, this experience laid a smart foundation for Jim’s aviation future. Learning fuel services, crew member coordination, and interfacing with passengers developed an early “boots on the ground” understanding of fast-moving aviation management details.
Jim continued post-university with Pentastar’s Flight Operations and Charter Sales departments, and simultaneously served in the Air National Guard to train as an Air Crew Life Support Specialist, specifically with an A10 Warthog squadron. This training continued fine-tuning his rapid response techniques when managing aircraft supply details.
After several years with the Air National Guard and Pentastar, Jim discovered ARI and relocated to the Houston office to be the Central US Representative of trip management services and thus became part of the “pre-FPI family.”
To further his aviation management expertise, Jim later accepted the Directorship role of Pentastar’s newly-formed FBO in Van Nuys, CA, from 2007 to 2013. There he was tasked with assembling a team, forming the FBO’s triage process, preparing the property for redevelopment, and developing the culture among other regular FBO management duties.
It was during this tenure that the Pentastar PTK achieved AIN’s “#1 FBO in the Americas” status for three consecutive years, no doubt with the Van Nuys FBO’s enhancements being a contributing factor.
“All the progress accomplished at Van Nuys FBO occurred due to a collective team effort. It was a great experience with the Pentastar FBO team, working directly with a lot of really great people, from staff to clients,” states Jim.
Never one to sit idly by, Jim pursued and graduated from the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Executive Program while residing in California.
When the FBO sold, Jim became Director of FBO Services in Pentastar’s Michigan headquarters for over a decade, bringing a total of 16 years of consecutive service with Pentastar.
“I was blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Pentastar’s Executive Leadership team, and I wouldn’t trade that season for the world. There will always be a place in my heart for Mr. Ford and the entire team. They are a phenomenal group to work with,” Jim states.
Fast-forward to 2023, FPI’s growth included adding a Sr. Manager of West Coast Sales, and it was a natural fit for Jim. He quickly saw the opportunity to recapture one of the most important aspects of aviation management that he’d been greatly missing: Routine and meaningful interaction directly with the clients, crew, operations, contractors, and passengers.
With FPI known for providing a highly personalized, deep-detail style of customer service, the position was a perfect fit for Jim’s expertise and his desire to return to the energetic, one-on-one communication approach with aviation clients.
“What I truly enjoyed about my time leading the FBO and my time previously with Air Routing was the close interaction with clients of all categories. It’s a very “touchpoint” type of industry, and I valued being able to understand in real time clients’ concerns as well as the gratifications that made their jobs enjoyable,” Jim stated.
“I wanted to get back with the customers, and it had to be within a company in which I strongly believed, such as FPI. I truly believe in FPI’s people and admire the expertise that resides here.”
Matt Pahl, FPI’s President and COO, states, “Flight Pro International is excited and honored to have Jim Davis join our team as the West Coast Sr. Sales Manager. Jim brings over 25 years of business aviation experience and a strong network of industry relationships to our organization. He strengthens FPI’s sales presence and enhances our capabilities to drive trusting client relationships. Please join me in welcoming Jim to the Flight Pro International family.”
Jim concludes, “This team was an excellent family setting back then and yet the culture’s even better now, if that’s possible. It was a real pleasure to see familiar faces again and to know I’m working with the best of the best. Stepping foot in the Houston headquarters door felt like coming home.”
From stepping out the back door of airplanes to stepping in the front door of FPI, we’re glad you’re back, Jim. Welcome home!
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