Jeff Pinneo is CEO of Horizon Air, the 2007 Regional Airline of the Year. He met with me and Jeff Van Duzer, dean of the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University (SPU), for this Conversation on March 24.
To show how volatile the industry is, Pinneo had suggested there might be some bankruptcies in the near term because of the multiple pressures from fuel costs, security, economics, and competition. Four airlines filed for bankruptcy before the issue went to press, so we updated the Conversation. In addition, he said mergers were likely — Delta and Northwest Airlines announced a merger on April 15. Then the press announced the problems with the FAA oversight of airplane safety and we went back to him for another comment.
Finally Pinneo pointed out the airline dependency on the price of oil, where every rise of $1 per barrel shifts Horizon Air’s expenses $10 million. Oil prices hit an all-time high of $115 per barrel on April 16. Tough business! In the face of this volatility, Pinneo offers some great advice on culture and communications that should apply to other industries.
In the last issue I wrote my column on nanotechnology and this brought a thoughtful response from Carl Mitcham, author and professor at Colorado School of Mines. He and a colleague have led a citizen group that wrote a position piece on concerns over nanotechnology (page 18). We also did a followup with brain scientist John Medina (Ethix Conversation four years ago), who has added to his “brain rules” and outlines a process for allowing businesses to better understand the link between employee brains and their work (page 15).
Next Issue will be the 10th anniversary issue and we have some special things planned. Our feature Conversation will be with Steve Bell, Small Business Owner of the Year for the state of Washington in 2005. His cabinet company incorporates corporate social responsibility practices with good people and sound financial management. We intend to use this to launch more small business focus in Ethix.