ServiceElements is proud to celebrate 20 years of service to the aviation industry. To recap the evolution of ServiceElements and it's humble beginnings, we sat down with Founder and President, Bob Hobbi.
Bob, how did you get started in the aviation industry?
After graduating from college, I moved to New York City and started working with FlightSafety at Laguardia as a file clerk. I worked my way up the ranks and 16 years later I was wearing a number of different hats. When we ran into challenges, I took the opportunity to jump in and find a solution. Along the way I realized that people are the most important part of any organization.
What was that trigger that inspired you to start ServiceElements?
I was recruited by Honeywell to run The Aerospace Academy with multiple training facilities around the globe. We were responsible for training thousands of aviation professionals per year. At that point, I realized that the industry was uber focused on technical proficiency, which is very important, but I saw that very little was being done for professional and people development.
It was interesting to me that if someone was a good pilot or a good technician, they were not necessarily a good leader. The expectation was that they would naturally possess soft skills to lead, serve, communicate, strategize and build teams. That wasn’t what I had seen. We knew the industry was going to be continually challenged with people issues, and there wasn't really a place they could go to get training in essential core skills necessary to strategically interact with people. So, I founded ServiceElements in 2003 to provide much needed "people skills" and professional development training for the industry.
If you had to pick one area that is the most critical to the success of an organization, what would that be?
It would have to be professional and interpersonal skills. Clarity of communication is something that I’m pretty militant about. I spend a lot of time in interviews with executives and frontline staff ensuring candidates and leaders understand the importance of today's communication challenges. This is more important today than ever. Technology has provided us with amazing tools and additional options to help us with our jobs. But the other side of the coin has introduced us to more complexity in decision making. Technology provides more options which ultimately creates flexibility. And flexibility is demanded and required by our customers. However, the result of this is a need--or requirement--for a MUCH higher degree of leadership and higher level of organizational development.
Can you mention some of the achievements you are most proud of in the past 20 years?
We have trained and helped develop thousands of people in aviation, and other industries. It is rewarding to see the organizations that we work with achieve higher levels of excellence. The results speak for themselves.
In addition, we formed professional partnerships with a number of leading aviation organizations. We are proud of our affiliation with NBAA, providing the PDP Professional Development Program courses, offering a number of workshops within that program that people can easily participate in at NBAA events. Those are always fun for the NBAA members and our ServiceElements team.
Also, we have long-standing relationships with a number of OEM's. We learned early on that every organization is unique, therefore we customize our programs specific to each company's needs. We developed a process to elevate the value and outcome of our training programs. As a result, the feedback from our customers is evidence of exponential results.
It definitely has been a wonderful 20 years for ServiceElements, but in some way, I feel like we are only getting started. I am excited about where the aviation industry is headed and the impact that we can have on it. The best is yet to come!