What would happen if someone threw telecommunications professionals, tech workers and aviation staff into one office and put them to work? At Gogo, it’s not a mystery; it’s what happens every day. What sounds like the plot of a reality television show is actually the unique makeup of employees who work for the world’s premier in-flight connectivity company.
“The corporate culture within each of those industries is very well defined,” said Gogo’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Ash ElDifrawi. “Here, we have a clash of cultures that makes our headquarters more unique than any other business.”
So what does that culture clash look like? At Gogo, it’s a blend of innovative workspaces, cutting edge technology and casual Friday, every day.
Though the dress code at Gogo headquarters just outside of Chicago may be laid back, everything else about the office leans forward. Take the Gogo on the Ground Lab. What looks like just an ordinary conference room is actually a copper-lined vault that blocks out all outside frequencies.
When an issue arises with connectivity on a flight — something Gogo staff is tracking at all times from the “Network Operations Center” — technicians can go into Gogo on the Ground and log on to the flight in question to troubleshoot the issue, just as if they were on the plane themselves.
That’s not the extent of Gogo’s flight-like workspaces. When visitors enter the Usability Lab, they might do a double-take, as it almost feels like stepping onto a plane. A workspace that is actually one half of a commercial flight cabin, the Usability Lab allows Gogo to test products and conduct focus groups to determine exactly how travelers use their devices while connected to on-board Wi-Fi.
If there is a central brain of Gogo headquarters, it is the Engineering Lab. Covered from floor to ceiling in computers, gadgets, modems, screens, wiring and more, the lab is where new ideas are born and tomorrow’s technologies are researched and developed every day. After all, as soon as Gogo comes out with the new best way to keep travelers connected in the air, there is immediate demand for an even newer one.
“We’re constantly on a quest to bring new bandwidth to the aircraft,” ElDifrawi said. “There is an insatiable appetite for it among consumers.”
And so, on will Gogo’s R&D efforts continue as well. From monitoring every Gogo-connected flight in the Network Operations Center to developing the next great product, the unusual mix of techies, telecom and aviation specialists at Gogo headquarters is always soaring toward the next horizon — and having a pretty great time while doing it.
— Written by Natalie Burg