Carla Keeney | Jet Access
In 2022, Carla Keeney—Customer Service Manager at Jet Access Indianapolis—received NATA’s FBO Customer Service Representative Award, recognizing outstanding service to the aviation business community.
Read the following excerpt from the Aviation Business Journal to learn more about how Carla got her start in aviation and the advice she gives to next generation of aviation professionals.
“I’m looking forward to attending NATA’s Business Aviation Conference in November and was really shocked and surprised to be among the NATA Awards winners,” says Carla Keeney, who has worked as Customer Service Manager at Jet Access for seven years and in the general aviation industry since 1993, including a 22-year stint in customer service at Million Air.
Keeney says she got her start in the industry when, after completing flight attendant training for Southwest Airlines, a friend put her on a different path entirely by introducing her to the world of general aviation.
“One of my girlfriends went to work for Beechcraft at the time at their FBO, and she said, ‘Have you ever thought about private aviation? Why don’t you come and talk to my line manager?’ I visited, talked to them, and fell in love with the general aviation side. That was 29 years ago; I’ve been in aviation ever since.”
Keeney attributes much of her success in customer service to the simplest of ideas.
“I feel like you should get to know your customers,” she says. “Between colleagues and customers, I have made lifelong friends in this industry, so coming to work is not really work. I just want to take care of the customers and do my very best job for them, whether they’re traveling for work or vacation. To me it’s all about the relationships I’ve formed over the years.”
Another secret to her success: Teamwork makes the dream work. “There’s not an ‘I’ when everyone is working towards the same goal: taking care of our customers and making sure every passenger has a great experience,” Keeney says. “Watching our company grow is also super exciting. We’re building a brand new FBO and a new hangar, and we keep adding additional team members, which makes it even more awesome.”
And a third secret: mentors. Keeney says she’s grateful to have had good guidance throughout her career and wants to share that advice with new colleagues.
“Jim Manning is now retired after 36 years in aviation; he taught me basically everything, because I knew nothing about private aviation when I first came into this industry,” she says. “Another mentor was Cherri Gott; I learned a great deal from her when I was at Million Air. And here at Jet Access, I’ve had so many mentors over the last seven years, especially Peter Uberto, who has been very instrumental in teaching me to make the most of new computer systems and new technologies to make the job more efficient. I try to do the same for younger colleagues and new teammates, thinking, ‘What can I offer this person that can help ease the learning curve?’ And it’s always something to help make the customer experience smoother.”