Miami Executive Aviation
By Sean Ballent
He embodies unrivaled success as a sportsman and a businessman. His records and legacy are ageless. And he knows a winner when he sees one.
It’s a typical South Florida summer afternoon that you’ve flown into. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s sticky. The bloated storm clouds you’ve just descended out of are seconds from bursting wide open with a downpour. As you touch down (remember this), the rain follows. But you’re not worried about getting drenched. You taxi by the parked Hawkers and Embraers and Bombardiers on the tarmac, and eye the G4 that’s parked just outside the terminal building’s doors, under a red canopy. As your BBJ pulls up and you pop out, all you feel is the cool breeze from the refreshing rain, while what you think is, “This sure doesn’t seem like your typical FBO.”
And in a few short steps you’ll find out it’s not. It’s Miami Executive Aviation, the brainchild of Fabio Alexander. Since putting everything on the line to start the firm up with two credit cards in 1996, Alexander has been on a quest to not only become the nation’s premier Fixed Based Operation, but to also be an asset to both the community and the aviation industry, to be bigger than just a successful business. Alexander’s accomplishing that, and it’s not only because he’s been a whiz at envisioning and executing forward thinking concepts and strategies. It’s also due to his realization that he’s a member of a team. He relies on the team. He defers to it and sacrifices for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion. Alexander learned that from a legend.
And that’s why Miami Executive Aviation is the only FBO endorsed by that legend, the great Don Shula. The endorsement wasn’t immediate. It wasn’t cajoled. It wasn’t bought. It wasn’t traded for or bartered. Don Shula doesn’t do that dance. He doesn’t need to; he’s an institution. He owns the all-time NFL-coaching records of 347 total wins and 328 in the regular-season. Over the course of 33 years, he had only two losing seasons, coached the Super Bowl six times, won two championships (one each with the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins), led the Dolphins to the perfect 17-0 season in 1972, and shaped the careers of pigskin immortals like Marino, Unitas, Csonka, and Griese. Shula knows about longevity. He embodies unrivaled success as a sportsman and a businessman. His records and legacy are ageless. And he knows a winner when he sees one.
That’s how you know that when Alexander’s MEA team got Shula’s endorsement, it was done the old-fashioned way, the way Shula got to the Football Hall of Fame: it was straight-up earned. It took four months, after Alexander met Shula for this first time and told him that he’d only want an endorsement if it was deserved; and Shula proceeded to give him a mini-master class about the ultimate importance of “team” and winning with good people.
Four months later, out of the blue, Shula called. He asked Alexander if he had earned it. Alexander was having a brain freeze; he didn’t know what the Hall of Famer was getting at. Shula asked a few more times until Alexander finally answered that he has earned everything he’d ever worked for and Shula told him, “Good, you’ve got my endorsement.” As Alexander says, “That’s when I really began to instill that religion of teammate and team play in our companies. And now that’s what we inspire in our people.”
The inspiration’s worked-at MEA the dedication is palpable, especially now that it’s part of the Ross Aviation family of FBOs. From aircraft service, charter, sales, hangar leasing, and management, to grade-A services and amenities for passengers and flight crew, everything runs ridiculously smooth, and everyone’s ready to accommodate any desire. So whether you need ground transportation, golf reservations, concierge service (it’s 24/7), or simply a great meal, the MEA squad is on top of it. It’s also easy to see the painstaking care and thought put into the top-of-the-line facilities (60,000 square feet of hangar space for overnight or long-term parking, 30,000 square feet of office space, and a recently constructed 80,000-square-foot hangar, capable of housing three BBJs or Airbuses right next to the U.S Customs building which is open from 9am-9pm, 7 days a week). And then there’s that ingenious valet-like aircraft red canopy, which allows cars to drive straight up to jets for “curbside” pick-ups and drop-offs.
Of course, Alexander sees the bigger picture about what impact his hub can have on the community as a whole. From corporate sponsorship (Super Bowl XXXIII and XLI, the Breeder’s Cup, 2007 Chanel Fashion Show, Barrington Irving’s histroical flight around the world, Miami International Boat Show, and the Ford Championship at Doral) to investing in today’s youth via educational aviation initiatives, it’s about what’s valuable. People. Time. Relationships. Community. That’s how, together, we all make a winning team.
MIAMI EXECUTIVE AVIATION
Email: [email protected]