Soul searching and a love of aviation propelled a former "Bill Nye the Science Guy" assistant editor into a dizzying job at Kenmore Air.

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DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
Ty Edwards

What do you do? As director of customer service, I am responsible for the customer service experience at Pacific Northwest aviation icon Kenmore Air.

How did you get that job? Much of my professional work experience has been in the production of children’s educational television including the locally-produced series “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” That all changed when the economic recession of 2008 left me without work.

Job prospects were bleak, and soul searching was in order. I began a ground-up assessment of my life passions, and aviation was at the top. Flying right-seat with my dad inspired my love for aviation at a very early age. So, I joined the Kenmore Air team in 2009 and jumped headlong into understanding the operations and a very simple tenet for achieving customer success. If you listen closely to your customers, really listen, the rest comes naturally.

In time, I was selected to lead the group.

What’s a typical day like? My kids ask me the same question, and it’s never easy to distill. Every day begins with an assessment of the day’s operations and a review of our call center stats. Then begins the cadence of an Aaron Sorkin script without the weight of national security decision-making.

Phone rings. It’s an agent with a question.

[A de Havilland Beaver roars overhead on final approach.]

Message social media manager with a few ideas I had on the drive home last night.

IM alert — flight status update from Dispatch. Agent standing before me asking for approval on … phone rings with an update on the upcoming Filson photo shoot.

Remember to write that internal memo on a change in procedure.

Phone rings — customer dropped phone into the water, what to do?

[Another plane overhead … that’s not one of ours. Who was that?]

Latest marketing copy, looks good. Approved. Send.

Phone rings — longtime customer calls to say hello and wish us well on the upcoming season.

[Retrieve that burrito I heated up 40 minutes ago.]

Skype with web development team in New Zealand. Phone rings …

It’s that variety that makes it all interesting and leaves me without a clear answer for my kids at night.

What’s the best part of the job? Any opportunity to fly right-seat is exceptional but rare. I work from three offices, Lake Washington, Lake Union and Boeing Field. Each has a spectacular view on our flight operations and is supported by an equally matched team of talent.

A walk through our hangar reveals the inner workings of our world-class maintenance team, many of whom have decades of service to the company. It’s an environment where an A&P mechanic takes time to explain the restoration process to me in painstaking detail. Theirs is an absolute art. Those aircraft are not machines; they are works of art.

What surprises people about your work? The depth of this little company and the range of my work within it. Exceeding customer expectations is at the core of everything we do. Accordingly, I am a stakeholder in our marketing and social media, our brand partnerships, software development, web development, and a marshal of our brand vision. 2016 marks 70 years since Kenmore Air was founded by Bob Munro. “Success on the Step” by Marin Faure is an exceptional account of that history. It is exhilarating to be at the forefront of the next chapters to that story. Excitement is in the air!

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