Since he was 13, Bart Gray loved airplanes and he loved to fly. After getting his pilots license shortly after his drivers license and graduating with a degree in Aviation, Gray moved to Denver as a certified flight instructor.
“At age 23 I started flying for a medical transport company out of Denver and I absolutely loved the job,” he said. “The company offered me a move to Florida to do more international flying, so I relocated to Clearwater.”
Gray explained shortly after relocating, the September 11th attacks happened, crippling the aviation industry.
“I worked for an airline for a few months and that company folded. I then worked for another medical transport company and was slowly watching them die due to poor management,” he said.
After watching other business fall, Gray decided he had what it took to run his own company, learning from the mistakes of others.
“I started my own business in 2003 at age 25 and I ran that for 6 years and sold it in 2009,” he said. “Then I started a new medical transport company, Global Jetcare, Inc., in 2009 with my mother as my primary business partner.”
Global Jetcare, Inc. is a medical transport company specializing in worldwide long-distance air ambulance. They have built a team of aviation, maintenance, and medical experts to provide the highest quality of patient care and aviation excellence in the medical transport field.
“We have a fleet of Learjet aircraft equipped as dedicated critical care air ambulances,” Gray said. “Due to our large fleet size and our high volume of flights we can offer reduced pricing to the insurance and private pay market by filling empty flight legs with patients.”
Keeping a Competitive Edge
Gray says Global Jetcare, Inc.’s success can be credited to their large fleet of aircraft, efficient processes and innovative custom quoting software.
“We have a large fleet of aircraft and can link trip together which reduces our operating costs,” he said. “I also personally arrange all airport handling and permits rather than contracting with an aviation dispatch company, further reducing our operating costs.”
Customers who are interested in transporting patients require a price quote that includes information like how long the flight takes, when it can be performed, configuration of medical crew, number of passengers and where the airplane will stop.
“We developed software to perform the quotes quickly and email our customers the required information in an easy to read format with a map showing all stops and distances,” Gray said. “The software also maintains a database of customer information to help quickly identify where to send the information.”
The software was developed to run as an iPhone and iPad application allowing 24/7 coverage that is seamless to their client base.
Overcoming Challenges and Looking Toward the Future
Since 2009, Gray has faced his share of challenges while growing Global Jetcare, Inc., specifically around the Learjet 36A aircraft they use.
“They’re not easy to come by, with less than 60 built and approximately 40 aircraft still flying. Acquiring these multi-million-dollar assets and converting them to our specific needs can be expensive and challenging,” he said.
Also a challenge, Gray says, is keeping up with the ever changing aviation technology.
“New and improved aircraft systems become required by regulation quite often,” he said. “Different countries can have different equipment requirements, so aircraft must be equipped to meet the requirements of all countries we operate in. Crews must be trained on different equipment requirements too.”
Looking toward the future, Gray has both short-term and long-term goals for his company. Short-term, efforts are already underway to add retirement benefits for their employees. Long-term, they plan to increase their fleet of aircraft and add to their global capabilities.
What it’s like to Work at Global Jetcare, Inc.
For Gray, it was crucial to make the employees at Global Jetcare, Inc. feel more like a team.
“It all starts with management setting the right example of not putting profits ahead of the cost of doing the best thing for the employees,” he said. “Building a team that understands there is no room for egos in this job and every person is equally important to making each transport a success, no matter what position they hold in the company.”
Creating a team with camaraderie allows both employees and management to operate with transparency, especially when issues arise.
“Being able to discuss all good and bad experiences and using them as learning moments of what to do and not to do is important for everyone,” he said.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
For other entrepreneurs, Gray says most importantly, font be afraid to take the leap.
“Always solicit advice and direction for other professional business operators,” he said. “It is much easier to start things the right way from the very beginning than try to fix them later.”
What it Means to be an Honoree
Global Jetcare, Inc. was selected as one of the top 50 second stage companies in the state, celebrated by GrowFL as a Florida Companies to Watch.
Gray says being an honoree this year is a great reward for all the hard work him and his team have put into Global Jetcare, Inc. over the years.
“We work extremely hard and being selected as an honoree helps our employees see that their hard work and dedication pay off,” he said.
Notable Community Involvement
To get involved in their community, Global Jetcare, Inc. offers their facility to the Army National Guard, Bayflight Helicopter EMS, fire department, flight school, police department, corporate aviation departments and private operators to bring their equipment to their location.
In doing so, they give adults and children the chance to have access to and observe up close airplanes, helicopters, fire trucks, police vehicles and the staff that operate them. This gives them an opportunity to learn about numerous career paths such as opportunities in aviation, medical, law enforcement, emergency response, military and numerous business.
They also support The ARC, Boy Scouts of America, PACE, Kiwanis and Shriners and sponsor a local youth baseball and basketball team.