Posted: February 19, 2012
GENxyz Top Five: Josh Stewart
Founder saw need to fortify aircraft owners with more than fuelBy Maria Martin
Ask the president of XJet what it takes to make a business fly in a bad economy, and he's quick to answer.
"A great idea, a lot of passion and a strong team," Josh Stewart says. "We've worked our tails off to make this business a success."
Stewart is a bit out of breath. He's just stepped off the plane and he's calling from his native Ireland. A gentle accent reveals his Irish roots.
"I like to say I was just a wee boy trying to live the American dream when I moved," he says with a laugh.
XJet's success shows that he met his goal. The company, which provides a flight department and amenities to business people and others who own jets, had a 60 percent increase in revenue last year.
"What I noticed was that other companies were really just selling fuel. That's what our competitors are doing," says Stewart, 38. "But we're not a gas station. We flipped the business model."
Service is critical to the success of XJet, which launched in 2005.
"We have a club, and the members of the club own aircraft. We provide the gas, the hangar, everything it takes to run that plane. And then we figure out a way to provide a little more."
Offering more often means getting to know the clients, he says.
"We know what hotels they like to stay in, and we know what movies their children want to watch," he says. "This business model - this focus on great service - really works."
Among the many awards the company has won, Stewart is particularly proud of the fact that the facility at Centennial Airport has won an American Architecture award for design. It makes XJet an ideal location to host charitable events for such groups as Men for the Cure and the Boys and Girls Club.
XJet is in the process of expanding; it's setting up international offices in Dubai and Paris. But despite the company's growth, some things
"We have around 40 people now, and they're all great at what they do," Stewart says. "They're what make this company great."
It was the team, not one individual, that nominated Stewart for the Gen XYZ Award.
"Josh has invited many of the XJet team to attend seminars that focus on maximizing the human potential," the team wrote when nominating him. "XJet is run on the belief that we are all active participants in the success of the company and that success is something we can all be proud of."
Henning Schymik, general manager of XJet, says Stewart has the faith of his employees because of his passion.
"He truly believes in what he's doing," Schymik says. "His ideas come nonstop. He's intuitive and inspirational, and he truly loves his job and all of us who work for him."
Maria Martin is a freelance writer.