Aviation for Women

SEP-OCT 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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28 AviationforWomen S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 with customers, while the majority of time is focused on proj- ect management. As a manager, Courtney travels less than her designers do. Now that she is in management, she really likes the problem-solving aspect of her job and helping the designers with the challenges they face. While Courtney still has a few ac- counts she handles personally, she spends most of her time man- aging her team and troubleshooting as needed. "I enjoy leading a strong team of women and working through the challenges and issues together," she says. Across the company, nearly all designers are female, which is not always the case. In addition to Savannah, Courtney also manages the designers based in Brunswick, Georgia, and St. Louis, Missouri. She has a counter-part based in Dallas, Texas, who is responsible for the Dallas; Appleton, Wisconsin; and Long Beach facilities. The in- terior design team works together with the visualization team, who create the actual visual renderings of the aircraft. At the mo- ment, this team is mostly male. Both groups report to Tray Crow, director of interior design. There is also a completion and delivery executive assigned to each aircraft customer. They liaise with the customer through the entire completion and delivery process and work hand-in- hand with the designers. When a designer and account executive meet with a customer, whether at Gulfstream or on the road, they do it as a team. The team follows through on every step of the process, from initial design stage to delivery. Tia says the most intensive phase of each aircraft is the initial definition process. "You are getting to know what the customer wants and bringing what they are looking for into the space of the cabin," and a lot of time and work goes into this portion, she says. At any one time, Tia is working on 12 to 20 accounts, all at different stages in the process. Tia, as well as the other design- ers, travel a fair amount. She is always with her team member and handles a lot of luggage packed with samples of the myri- ad fabrics, carpet, countertops, and other design choices for the customer to consider as they work through ideas and concepts for the perfect interior. Whether the customer comes to a Gulf- stream facility, or the designers travel to them, no detail is over- looked. This detailed process produces a template that the design group, including the visualization team, uses to make sure all the components and customer selections fit together perfectly. All the woodwork and upholstery are produced in-house by highly skilled craftspeople. Other materials, such as carpeting, are ordered from suppliers and are carefully inspected, cut, and installed under the watchful eye of the designers. "We are the eyes and ears of the customer," Tia says. "We advocate for them, as well as for Gulfstream." Courtney adds that is why using 3D renderings and having everything laid out on a template, as well as making sure the customer is happy with the materials—before taking the final installation steps—is so important. "Our clients have a very high level of expectations, and we want to deliver that and then some," Courtney says. "We have a high standard of ex- cellence, and as the design team, we don't let things slide on be- half of our clients." When asked what she is most proud of in her career, Courtney says it's the position she has right now. "I knew I wanted to work toward a leadership position when I started my career," Court- ney says. That is one of the reasons she made the move from Long Beach to Savannah in 2016. Courtney says it has been a good move both professionally and for her family, which includes her husband and two children. "My children (who are now 5 and 8) grew up with me on the road quite a bit," she says. The move to Savannah was a chance to advance her career and also lessen the amount of travel, though now that she is overseeing two additional facilities that will increase. Courtney admits having a spouse with a nontraveling job makes things easier, but like most working adults today, you have to enjoy the balance. "It is a lot easier when you love what you do," Courtney says. And she definitely does. When asked about her future career plans, Courtney says, "I do see myself moving on and up. I don't see this as the last stop for me." While Courtney aspires to a director level position, she adds no one knows what the future holds. She definitely sees herself in the design/creative side of the company, and says, "I am a designer through and through." Tia too sees her future in design. She is very grateful for the op- portunity she has, and loves both what she does and the team she works with. "I look forward to continuing to be an integral part of the design team and look for ways to elevate the experience for cus- tomers," she says. Tia also likes to mentor others and open the world of aviation to those interested in design and creative endeavors.

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