SMALL BUSINESS – Taking fans to new heights – Jet Air teams with Packers for Gateway to Lambeau

Posted on Dec 5, 2011 :: Small Business Spotlight
Sharon Verbeten
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Soaring to stratospheric heights is nothing new for the Jet Air Group, located at Austin Straubel International Airport in Ashwaubenon.

But a recent $2.5 million state-of-the-art aviation facility and new partnership with the Green Bay Packers is creating an even higher profile for the multi-million-dollar corporation – creating the Gateway to Lambeau, offering complete air transportation and flight services for Packers games for fans far and near.

“Being the Gateway to Lambeau will enhance the quality service we already provide to our clients and allow us to share information about our flight and charter services with a new audience as well,” says Al Timmerman, Jet Air’s co-owner and chief operating officer.

The launch of Gateway to Lambeau comes a little over a year after Jet Air opened its approximately 80,000-square-foot facility, complete with U.S. Customs on site, internationally-recognized FAA-certified aircraft repair service, flight training school and avionics services.

Aviation accolades

Although Jet Air has been in business since 1964, the company was recognized recently for its notable growth. This year, it won the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Growth Award, given to a local business that has demonstrated significant or continuous growth in sales, service and number of employees.

In addition to upgrading its venue and adding services, Jet Air increased its workforce by almost one-third, according to Timmerman. And last year, Jet Air’s Frontline Aviation division partnered with Lakeland College in Sheboygan to develop Wisconsin’s only four-year college aviation program.

Timmerman, a retired Green Bay and Ashwaubenon police chief, joined Jet Air in 2007. With more than 30 years’ experience as a licensed pilot, the Green Bay native knows the needs of pilots as well as the community. And he’s confident that the Gateway to Lambeau is a win-win-win – for Jet Air, the Packers and the community as well.

“It brings a lot of money into Green Bay, not just to Jet Air,” he says. “It brings customers into the restaurants [and other local establishments].”

Jet Air also hosts community service events at its hangar.

“Anytime you have these partnerships … this continues to reinforce Brown County and the great amenities that we have. If they continue to build awareness and draw to this area, this will have an impact on the local retail and hospitality industries,” says Brown County Executive Tony Streckenbach.

Creating the Gateway to Lambeau partnership took about a year to finalize, says Timmerman.

“It was just a timing thing,” he adds. “They [the Packers] wanted to wait until we were in our new facility. It has to represent their image.”

Bill Hawker, manager of corporate sales for the Green Bay Packers, agrees.

“The Packers expect to offer nothing less than a first-class experience for our fans at Lambeau Field, and private flight is one way many of our fans, season ticket holders and business partners travel to Green Bay,” he says. “We felt that Jet Air Group would be a good partner in offering those folks a warm welcome to Green Bay the minute they get out of the plane.”

Those “folks” are often other team owners and celebrities.

The Gateway to Lambeau partnership also opened up a new avenue of marketing for Jet Air. The Packers send e-mails about the partnership to its skybox and club seat customers.

But no matter how much marketing you do – or how much cache you may get with the Packers name – Timmerman admits it all comes down to one thing.

“You can do all the marketing you want, but you have to have what people want.”