This article is the second in a continuing series
A Career Change: Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business
As I said before I did not come into this business completely blind. I have been listening to the stories of the deals around my family’s kitchen table my entire life. I have also had a lot of business development, corporate and strategic thinking experience from working in the entertainment industry. I am now just applying that knowledge and training to the aviation industry. The best part of it all is I am learning this new industry surrounded by family who will take the time to train me, mentor me and make sure I succeed. Not to knock entertainment, but that warmth just wasn’t always there. There is also an amazing aviation community that has known my family for years, and many of them have congratulated my father on the new addition and welcomed me personally. Thank you.
But here is where it starts to get interesting. I just finished my first full week at J. Mesinger and here is a little rundown of what has happened so far. Of course day 1, you get your computer, set up your desk and fill out your start paperwork. N.B.D. But day 2 I was off and running, I sold my first plane! That’s just a little joke to make sure you’re paying attention. I did, however, sit in on a meeting with a major bank to discuss lending on older aircraft. It was an educational conversation about some new realities in the world of finance after our recent economic downturn. In the television and movie business the downturn and its affect on financing had its own impacts and it was interesting to see how it has affected aviation as well. Day 3, I listened in on some conversations with people looking to reenter the market after sitting out a bit due to the slowdown. Again, an insightful day and a positive sign that people are reentering the market and talking to us again about selling their aircraft. Soon I was listening to conference calls with major corporations discussing large transactions. There were about 7 people on the phone. Not unlike a network notes call for television, where the different network, studio and creative minds all get together to satisfy everyone’s specific needs regarding a specific episode, the lawyers, CEO’s and brokers all had to refine a contract to satisfy everyone’s specific needs while maintaining an atmosphere conducive to finalizing a transaction. The industries are comparable; the sticking points are just as hard fought in both cases, and hopefully at the end of both situations a mutually agreeable arrangement can be accomplished.
At the end of this week however, it was time to test the waters. I picked up the phone for the first time and began my market research on the Gulfstream GIV SP. These calls are important to us in that they help to compare all of the aircraft in a specific market to create valuations between specific planes. The thing is, I don’t really know this market yet. I just know the questions to ask to satisfy my research. So on about my second call the jig was up. When asking about pricing for a plane and what a particular broker thought his plane might sell for the other broker also asked what my opinion on the Gulfstream GIV SP market was, and I had to say “To tell you the truth sir, this is my second call and I have no idea what the market looks like right now.” We had a good laugh. Thankfully he, like many of the other brokers I called have longstanding relationships with J. Mesinger and had read my father’s announcement email about my joining the business. He went on to give me some better pricing guidance and big welcome to the industry. My first week has been a whirlwind of new information for a new industry, but luckily for me and anyone else in a family business, all anyone wants to see is me succeed. It’s Friday and time to toast to week two!