Geoffrey T. Crowley

Northshore Leasing LLC

In recognition of his innovation, entrepreneurship, and national leadership in the aviation industry

Geoff Crowley’s interest in the airline industry started early. “I used to ride my bike out to the airport and watch airplanes take off and land when I was young,” he says. “My fascination grew even stronger in high school when my older sister went to work for American Airlines.”

Purdue’s interdisciplinary engineering program provided Crowley with the knowledge to put his analytical skills to work in the aviation industry. An MBA from Xavier University rounded out his education.

Crowley has provided significant contributions to the aviation industry through consulting, marketing, customer service, and quality assurance.

“My ultimate education was being part of a team that built an airline from scratch and grew it into an $800 million company, with both domestic and international routes,” he says.

Crowley is a good match for an industry battling difficult economic times and tough competition. “I have a constant desire to learn and have found myself unable to accept a job that didn’t offer continual challenges,” he says.

One challenge came in 1993 when he and his partners acquired Air Wisconsin. Close to bankruptcy, the airline had 12 airplanes and 600 frustrated employees who distrusted the previous management and felt they had no future.

In fewer than 10 years, Crowley’s team grew Air Wisconsin to 86 aircraft, 3,500-plus employees, and a route system spreading throughout the United States and Canada. “It was incredibly rewarding to work with the leadership team (most of whom had remained from the previous organization) to create a positive work environment that helped us build an efficient, economically sound organization with exceptional customer service,” Crowley says. “We were also lucky to be appreciated by our major airline partners and given opportunities that made us the largest privately held regional airline in the U.S.”

What does Crowley see in the aviation industry’s future?

“To help offset the changes required since 9/11, we have to improve the product and make traveling more pleasant, particularly for the business customer,” he says. “We need to collaborate with agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration, as well as airports and air traffic control, to ensure that we are as efficient and customer friendly as possible.

“It is critical that the Federal Aviation Administration move quickly to implement the next generation of air traffic control to create more airspace capacity and reduce flight time from one point to another,” he says. “The time reduction will lower costs, require less fuel, and reduce carbon emissions — all positive outcomes for the traveler, the airline, and the environment.”

Career Highlights

Current Director, AirTran Holdings Inc. (Parent of AirTran Airways)
Current President, Northshore Leasing LLC
Current Director, AWAC Aviation Inc. (formerly Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp.)
1993–2006 Chairman, President, and CEO, Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp.
1993 President and CEO, CJT Holdings
1991–1993 Vice President, Marketing Alliances, Northwest Airlines
1989–1991 Vice President, Sales and Service, Trump Shuttle Inc.
1985–1989 Senior Vice President, Marketing and Planning, Presidential Airways
1980–1985 General Manager, People Express Airlines
1977–1980 Director, Customer Service and Quality Assurance, Texas International Airlines
1974–1977 Senior Consultant, Booz, Allen & Hamilton TCD
1977 MBA, Xavier University
1974 BSIDE, Purdue University