Gogo is home to a fast paced, challenging, and rewarding group of people, making in-flight 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!
Congratulations Antonio for being selected for the January High Flyer! Your focus on our mission and all your hard work has really impressed us. Tell me, what has been your proudest moment at Gogo?
Last year, we completed a $500M+ high yield financing and did so despite having some major challenges during the process. Our team was deeply involved with preparing the financial projections used to execute the offering and provided the story that gave investors the comfort to fund the significant deal. This funding round was a significant step in getting Gogo to reach its long term objectives of connecting more aircraft and passengers.
What do you love most about your job?
Having worked at very large companies, Gogo is still a very small team, and in Finance I get exposure to a broader range of opportunities than I did at larger companies. I’ve worked on due diligence materials for several rounds of financing, was involved in explaining performance for earning calls and set external guidance on both short-term new airline opportunities and long term planning.
How would you describe what it is like to work at Gogo?
Fast paced and somewhat unpredictable because our industry is still young, and many things have not yet been figured out. I like to say that Gogo’s story hasn’t been written yet (although we’ve published a couple of books). The actions we take each day still play a large role in whether we ultimately succeed or fail. We can’t take success for granted. We need to work hard and be smart to achieve it.
What is your background? How did you come to Gogo?
I was born in Guatemala, but my family immigrated to the US when I was just 2. We grew up in Chicago around the Logan Square / Humboldt Park area most of my life. My parents were typical first-generation immigrants, working long hours and multiple jobs but eventually succeeded by starting a small family business selling cash registers and other restaurant supplies. They provided for and encouraged my brothers and I to each attend college. I went to the University of Illinois and received my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout college, I interned with United Technologies where I got my first taste of the aerospace industry. I had the opportunity to work on flight control systems and other electric systems for commercial and military aircraft. However, the unfortunate events of 9/11 resulted in a slowdown for them and a lack of job opportunities at graduation. Instead, my first job out of college was with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, where I worked on designing and trouble-shooting production lines for many familiar household products. After a few years, I decided to pursue my MBA at the University of Chicago, completing the program by traveling on weekends from Cincinnati to Chicago. Around that time, I married my wife Lisa, and we had our two girls (Elsa and Lena). With the kids both very young, my wife and I found opportunities to work at Starbucks in Seattle. After a couple of years of the rainy weather and long distance from family in the Midwest, we decided to come back to Chicago, and that is when I found out about Gogo. I was excited to once again work on products and services for aircraft.
What inspires you?
I get inspiration from my daughters, who at just 6 and 8 years old, are already dreaming so big. My older daughter in particular has grown an interest in reading about famous historical figures and uses them as inspiration. When she tells me a story of one of these people and looks at me asking, “why don’t we do this?” it really makes you think. She’s found a few charitable causes to support, and I want to continue to succeed to help her support those causes and her own dreams.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career and why?
My very first manager at P&G was excellent and provided a lot of great advice that helped early in my career. She was very focused on building the skills to succeed but also keeping work/life balance as a key priority in life. By not getting too stressed with day-to-day challenges (“we’re not curing cancer here” she would say), she would keep us level-headed, and the team engaged and positive. She often hand-wrote notes of encouragement or praise for jobs well done while also pushing us to improve in the areas we needed to. She set high expectations (and documented them) of herself and of the team
What advice would you give to new hires to set them up for success?
You have to take a bit of an entrepreneurial approach to get things done. Find opportunities to create or improve processes and don’t be afraid to find new opportunities in other areas when the time is right.
What is an interesting or unknown fact about yourself most people don’t know?
Despite my geeky/technical background, I used to aspire to be a writer and wrote some poetry and short stories!
Thank you again Antonio for your hard work. You are a valuable part of the Gogo team and we appreciate how you demonstrate our values. Keep on being mission minded, performance obsessed, boldly solving problems and working in extraordinary harmony!
Ready to make a difference on a daily basis yet? Check out our current jobs openings on our Careers page or our video here:
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