Success from Great HeightsAug 09, 2018 09:44AM ● By Kirby Kaufman
The 44-year-old, who serves as president and CEO of Omaha-based Jet Linx Aviation, often finds himself flying to far-off places. That’s not surprising, because he served as a vital component in growing the Midwest company to a national success. The company has 14 locations in the U.S. that provide private jet services.
Jamie says the company was founded by his father, Denny, in 1999 as a means to slice into the market of private airline services for people who don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of more public transportation.
Jamie joined the company in 2002 with one major goal—bring the company to a national scale. Previously, Walker had worked in sales and marketing, and residential development in New York City.
In 2004, he launched Jet Linx Aviation’s Jet Card and Aircraft Management programs. Then in 2009, he established the company’s base partner program, a major win for fulfilling national expansion efforts.
Walker says the program was, and continues to be, a successful effort to establish Jet Linx Aviation hubs in large metro areas. The requirement includes a base partner, who serves as a local buy-in and owns a small portion of the business. Jet Linx Aviation remains the majority stakeholder and primary decision-maker.
Walker was successful in growing the company this way while mitigating financial risks to the company during the Great Recession. Then in 2014, he created the company’s first member-benefits program, Elevated Lifestyle.
“It’s really a challenge,” Walker says of the private flight market. “The company’s goal is to scale and retain a local effort [in Omaha].”
Since taking over leadership, Walker has grown the company from four aircrafts to a fleet of over 100. The company grew from 12 clients to over 1,300. At its start, Jet Linx Aviation had 20 employees. Now it boasts about 475 hard workers across the country.
When Walker is traveling, he’s usually speaking with clients interested in private jet services. In Omaha, he’s helping develop programs that benefit his everyday employees. Part of this includes the management and retention of a positive work culture. Whenever Walker is in Omaha, he makes sure to communicate with his staff to ensure they arrive to a positive atmostphere every day.
“One of the most important things we need to do is keep that culture in place,” Walker says.
In Omaha, Walker is involved with the Knights of Aksarben and YPO, and remains active on the advisory boards for JetSmarter and Stellar Labs. He previously served on the board for Jet Aviation and the local YPO Chapter.
“Jamie was chapter chair [in 2012],” says Lund Co. President Jason Lund of the YPO board. “He recruited me to be on the board. It was at a pivotal time in the local chapter, and I think he’s a very innovative, forward-thinking leader.”
Walker says the single most important thing he’s learned about nonstop travel is that family is more important than anything else.
“It definitely makes me appreciate Omaha much more when I do travel,” Walker says. “The best thing about traveling is coming home.”
Walker spends the majority of his free time with his wife and children. And that’s something he holds close to him, because then he never loses sight of what home really means.
“I love having Omaha as a home base,” Walker says. “To be in Omaha—to call it home—makes it much easier on the life-work balance.”
Visit jetlinx.com for more information.
This article was printed in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.