Recently, we sat down with Fran Hume, Manager of North America Sales – Galley Equipment, to share her story with our readers.
Welcome to Aereos, Fran! You were recently at ACPC 2019, subject of a previous blog post. What are your opinions of that conference?
It is fair to say, it is my favorite conference. The ACPC is an opportunity to engage with many people from the aviation world, I would describe the event as an icon of the industry. I have met many people who are not only customers, but many have turned into personal friends. I would not be the first person to say that. This year, I was excited to talk about our five divisions; Aereos is growing rapidly, and, as a group, we manufacture hundreds of products. It is extremely beneficial to talk to a customer about more than one offering, and to share in the benefits of working together to satisfy all aspects of a customer’s needs. The event is, and has always been an outstanding opportunity to meet, connect and network with the best in the industry, and you must take full advantage of it.
What was your opinion of the Aereos family before you began to work here?
My opinion of Aereos in the market was always positive. I met a number of the Aereos team previously at industry events, including ACPC. Since joining, I have been very impressed. I see firsthand the personal drive from the leaders, their willingness to support their teams, the vision of excellence, and the very positive team spirit. Aereos is full of highly experienced people across the divisions, many of whom have been with the company for years. To state the obvious: they are all very well equipped personally to achieve great things. I feel very honored to be part of it.
Is there a specific reason you chose to join the Aereos team?
For the last six-plus years, I have worked in the aviation industry. I held a previous position as an International Business Development Manager. Prior to that, I have over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in both aviation and information technology.
The startup of Aereos Interior Solutions was very attractive to me, as I love the challenge of growing a business. Aereos looked very exciting and I could immediately see the company is in a growth phase. Added to that, they have an excellent reputation, and each company compliments each other well. I really wanted to be part of their exciting future, so I waited patiently for the right time to join. Now I am looking forward to adding significant input into the growth and sales of Aereos Interior Solutions. We are a new company, with huge opportunities and a fantastic team; I see a very positive future for us.
You are now an important part at Aereos Interior Solutions. What do you bring from your previous experience that you rely on at Aereos?
I actually started my own business many years ago from scratch. It was in a completely left-field industry – Food and Beverage. While I was on maternity leave, I decided to research better food products for young children. I started the company in my own kitchen and subsequently grew it rapidly into a frozen food business, including nationwide distribution via supermarkets in New Zealand. It was successful because we outsourced manufacturing, sales and accounting etc. We deliberately kept overheads to a minimum, with one small office, and we only required three employees full time: myself, my husband and a delivery driver. Following a period of significant growth, and needing additional investment to continue to grow, our business was eventually acquired by another company. My life lesson learned through that experience was that we can do anything if we commit ourselves to it. We had huge mountains to climb, but we believed in our product and capability. We were successful because I also networked effectively with people who could help me. My theory is, “Never dismiss the power of connections with great people.”
That’s an excellent mantra! It belongs on a poster! Here’s a two-part question now: In your opinion, where do you see the aviation industry going in the future? And do you believe that Aereos is well-positioned for that future?
The aviation industry has been on a growth path for many years. The competition between airlines is constant, from technology and satisfying customer needs, to comfort and safety. All of these things require significant investment from airlines, and interiors is one of those great industries where airlines will always spend and invest. Airlines need to save money but also capture additional revenue, therefore Aereos Interior Solutions will continue to develop new and exciting products to cover those airline needs. Aereos and its divisions are positioned very well to keep up with airline demands. I see a huge growth path for all our business units beyond 2020.
Aereos is a manufacturer, so we have an edge over many of our competitors right there. Aereos and Aereos Interior Solutions have multiple new products about to be released. We are adaptable and pioneering. Aereos listens to their customers needs and are able to develop new capabilities or master new ways to serve our customers accordingly. We have our own superior engineering and design team who can immediately create a simple idea into a product with the potential of huge sales. Our in-house experts are leaders in their field and give us a distinct advantage with speed to market and innovation. Very few places in the industry can do what Aereos does.
What should a new Aereos Interior Solution client know about you and working with your team of experts?
I am a very strong team player and will step up to help anybody. In business, it is a team effort, and I am very willing to share ideas, appointments, connections and industry experience. It is a very positive experience to win a customer’s business as a team and even more positive celebrating those successes. Call me, I’m all in. My direct co-workers are also a positive, hardworking bunch, and we bounce off each other very well. We all seem to gel and understand our responsibilities, but we also enjoy positive and fun energy. While I work in a remote office, I sincerely enjoy spending time in the business office with my colleagues.
You also believe that you are on the same page with everyone at Aereos, too. Is that fair to say?
Absolutely. We are a team.
Excellent. All right, let’s talk about something a little less technical. How did you get bitten with the #LoveOfFlying bug?
My husband worked for Air New Zealand for over 19 years. When we married, it began my fascination with aviation. I distinctly remember a tour of a 747-400, which was in a heavy check. The aircraft was literally in pieces including the removal of the interior panels. I was amazed at how complicated and fascinating the aircraft was with thousands of miles of wire, engines removed and the cockpit in pieces. We took a photograph of my son who was 2 years old at the time; standing inside the 747 engine. It was an incredible day, and my interest in aviation soared from then on. I was later invited to fly in the cockpit from New Zealand to Los Angeles, landing at LAX with headphones on, listening to air traffic. It was an experience I will never forget, and I was lucky to enjoy that.
Speaking of your family, what would you consider your greatest accomplishments?
I am a very proud mother and wife. In business, I successfully started two businesses and achieved exceptional results in both, but that doesn’t compare to my two talented children. My son is a PGA Junior Golfer who earned a golf scholarship in college, and my daughter is an accomplished, nationally recognized High School Scholar. My husband is also rated an expert in his field in aviation, so naturally, I am incredibly proud of my family. I travel, and my husband often works odd hours at a major airline, so our downtime is usually spent together as a family. We spend a lot of time supporting our kids at sports, (golf tournaments and horse riding), and of course we have an open door policy for our friends. We live in wine country, and enjoy visiting local vineyards with family and friends. We are very much an outdoor family.
That sounds lovely! I hope you’ll invite me along sometime! Thank you for your time and for letting all of us get to know you better.