Meet Robert Knapel- Gogo’s October High Flyer!
What led to your career at Gogo?
I was looking for my first full-time job after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, where I studied Finance and International Business. I wanted to find something that aligned with my interests: technology, travel, and strategy. As I was looking for opportunities, Gogo popped up. I used the product a couple of times before, and thought that this was a fantastic opportunity that merged all three of interests.
How did you know Gogo was the right place for you?
I was looking for an innovative company that was continuing to grow. Knowing that Gogo had success with their ATG network and was on the verge of launching 2Ku drew me to the company. As I spoke to everyone at Gogo throughout the interview process, I really saw that they were continuing to innovate and that I could play a part in the company’s international expansion. Hearing how they planned to get from where they were, to where they wanted to be, and how I could play a role in that really drew me to the opportunity.
Over your time at Gogo you’ve held a couple positions, each increasing in responsibility. Tell me a little about what you’ve done:
During my first few years at Gogo, I worked on developing pricing for RFP responses to airlines. This required a lot of research about the airlines and it helped me better understand the inflight connectivity business. Additionally, I contributed to the business cases for new products including IPTV and Crew Connect. Throughout my time at Gogo I have also been responsible for doing competitive intelligence work which has helped shaped Gogo’s perspective on the IFC market. In my current role, I am once again working on airline pricing, but my responsibilities have expanded to include driving incremental revenue opportunities for Gogo.
What has been your proudest moment at Gogo?
I have been fortunate to work on deals across the globe with Gogo partners including Japan Airlines, Virgin Australia, International Airlines Group and Alaska Airlines. Out of these engagements, I would have to say that the Alaska deal stands out. It was an incredible team effort and I really enjoyed working day in and day out with the team to help get an important customer to sign up for 2Ku.
FROM OREN LIEBERMAN, VP STRATEGY:
“Robert has been a trusted and critical part of the Strategy team, tackling every problem with equal parts intellect and enthusiasm. With a wide range of contributions from airline pricing to board materials, his work towards Gogo’s success will have a long-lasting impact.”
What do you do for fun when you are not at work?
I play soccer a couple times a week, go on runs, and enjoy travel and photography. My favorite pictures I’ve taken have been from my trip to Iceland.
What is an interesting or unknown fact about yourself most people don’t know?
In my senior year of high school, I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus, which prevented me from playing soccer for 5-6 months. During that time, I began writing for Bleacher Report and eventually became a Featured MLB writer. In the approximately three years that I worked for Bleacher Report, I wrote 4-5 articles a week, had the opportunity to interview a few players, and my articles were read more than 5 million times.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career? What kind of advice did he/she give you?
I would have to say my Dad. He ran a small textiles company and always worked late hours. My brother and I would go in and work in the warehouse and learned early about a hard day’s work. He taught me about work ethic and gave great advice: “If you are always running 100 miles an hour, you are going to trip and fall.” It helped me learn that there will be times when you need to step back, recharge, and look at things with a fresh set of eyes.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a professional athlete for a while, then a corporate lawyer because I wanted to make deals happen. Here at Gogo, I’m still achieving my goal, just in a different way.
What is your favorite Gogo perk?
I’ve been lucky enough to fly on both Gogo airplanes. On Jimmy Ray (our 737), I have taken two flights: one around the Chicago area and another around Hamburg, Germany. I was able to test out 2Ku before it was live commercially. Additionally, I flew on Gogo One (the Challenger) after attending the Future Travel Experience in Las Vegas.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Someone once told me that the best way to succeed is to learn the economics of the company you are working for and the industry that you are in. Once you know this, you will understand how different decisions impact your company and be able to provide valuable guidance on which direction to take.
What inspires you?
I always aspire to be the best that I can be. My approach is to push to be 1% better each time I do something. I want to look back down the road in 2,3,4 years and see just how far I’ve come.
Gogo is home to a fast-paced, challenging, and rewarding group of people, making inflight internet and entertainment easily accessible for all aircraft types and its flyers. But you can’t make a company revolutionary without having awesome people behind the scenes. Find out more about who’s redefining the way you fly!
Ready to make a difference on a daily basis? Check out our current job openings on our Careers page.