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Thursday
May182017

Paying Tribute to Gillian and Alain George, Who Are Retiring from AC-U-KWIK, Airportdata.com

After remarkable careers in business aviation, Gillian and Alain George are embarking on new adventures in their retirement. Their vision and vigor spawned Airportdata.com and took AC-U-KWIK to new heights. Their partnership and collaboration have put the AC-U-KWIK team and business in a good place.

With a few weeks before their retirement, we want to share a few tributes to them from our team.

It Won’t Be the Same Without Them

I can’t say when it was that I first met Alain and Gillian George, but I had been aware of them. Before we were bought by the same company, we would smolder at one another across the aisles of various trade shows. My boss at the time had decided to try to put out his own version of an AC-U-KWIK, and relations between our team and the Georges were standoffish at best. I perceived Gillian as polite but chilly, and Alain, well, the Alain George smolder was something to behold and fear.

After becoming part of the same business family, we co-existed for maybe one trade show’s worth of trepidation before the ice melted. The Georges, it turns out, were helpful and insightful. Like us, they worked hard and played hard, only they were better at it.

Gillian was game for anything — a Tuk Tuk ride in India, a shopping trip to an open air market, a turn at the roulette table.

Alain was a master raconteur and a first-class shopper himself with a genuine desire to be of assistance to every member of the team. When a show we went to in Geelong proved to be somewhat of a bust, Alain drove us to the individual airfields around Melbourne so that we could make personal visits to our clients. (We rewarded ourselves with a trip to the Outlet Malls afterward.)

On my first trip to Dubai, Alain walked me around the static display and gave me a detailed overview of what was happening with various business aircraft there. Gillian’s knowledge of business aviation, from FBOs to handlers to charter to people, was something she was happy to share. And wherever the Georges went, people always asked to see them, hoping to settle in for a chat.

A few years ago, I was scheduled to go to LABACE in Sao Paulo; the Georges would meet me there. I started running through my list of possible contacts, thinking that as the Georges were together and worked on a different publication, I should think about fending for myself.

Alain and Gillian greeted me at the airport with a bag of cheese-filled dough balls that all of us were madly in love with from the last trip to Brazil. They insisted that I come to every dinner they were invited to or had initiated. Their friends — clients, really, but friends, too — became my friends.

And this, I figured out, is why they were so sought-after. They were undeniably knowledgeable, and undeniably lovely, treating all of those in their orbit with kindness, respect and friendship. In the most professional way, they made doing business a pleasure. There aren’t too many people who work like this anymore, and it is a shame.

The Georges always upped the game and brought the fun. It won’t be the same without them — not for me, our colleagues or the family of clients that they leave behind.

–Michele Markarian

Throwing the Book

One vivid memory I have is how well Gillian did selling to various accounts and how certain accounts challenged her every year.

The leadership of one large account almost threw an AC-U-KWIK book at her during one sales call for giving the competitor too nice an ad package.

–Jodi Espinoza

Accurate, Quick

Working with Gillian in the early days of the international AC-U-KWIK airport/FBO directory, I remember extended, multi-hour, transatlantic phone calls when she read phone number changes in the final stages of layout.

AC-U-KWIK is a massive undertaking and challenges the staff every day. Her passion for getting the data accurate back then and to this day, I think, set a standard that permeated the culture at AC-U-KWIK and, ultimately, took the entire AC-U-KWIK concept to another level.

–Dylan Goodwin

Dedicated

I don’t know a couple more dedicated to their business than those two! I love them both and hate to see them go.

–Bettina Gentile

Making Their Own Luck

When Gillian and Alain George retire, two daring entrepreneurs and generous people step back from business aviation, and two one-of-a-kind coworkers bow out from the AC-U-KWIK team.

Personally, I am grateful for their leadership, mentorship and collaboration. In my previous production role, I appreciated Gillian’s organization and openness to working together on process improvements and reasonable solutions to unique challenges.

Getting to know Alain more in the last three years, I saw his fierce loyalty shine through tough questions and hours of coaching.

He and Gillian embody Coleman Cox’s words, which Alain quoted in an international AC-U-KWIK directory more than a decade ago: “I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”

Thank you, Gillian and Alain, for sharing your hard work with us and letting your luck rub off on us.

Best of luck to you. Now don’t work so hard.

–Justin Marciniak

Reader Comments (1)

Amigos para Siempre....

The George's whom Manny Sr. and I love for their integrity, for being extraordinary people, and friends forever. Business wise, only good things to say about their professionalism, they have helped us to grow our businesses.

First I met Alain more than sixteen years ago at an IOC in Colorado Springs through my Father who knew him for decades, and from that day we have been seeing each other at the shows. The same year that we met in 2001, just a few weeks later I met Gillian who for years took care of our account very diligently. Just not enough words to express the sweet and sour of not seeing them again, but for certain I will meet them again maybe in Acapulco or taking a Photo Safari with them and my wife in Africa.

–Manuel RomeroVargas
May 19, 2017 | Registered CommenterAC-U-KWIK

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