Ep. #2: Joe Zvada on Ballooning, Optimization and Finding Ways to Help Out


"Having a strong work ethic and not being afraid to do what other people maybe don't want to do has served me well." - Joe Zvada

This episode's guest is Joe Zvada, who is currently Vice President at Ultimate Jetcharters.

Joe is a graduate of Kent State University, where his did his Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation and Airway Management and Operations.

Joe has been with Ultimate for almost 10 years, and started there doing data entry, entering actual flight times into the computer system.  He grew into the position of Lead Flight Coordinator, and then Operations Manager, where he was responsible for all scheduling and operational logistics of Ultimate’s fleet movements.

This past June he was promoted to Vice President, where his focus has been on improving cross departmental communication and workflow, as well as the short and long-term network planning for the Ultimate Air Shuttle program.

In his spare time, Joe is a competitive hot air balloon pilot, and he’s competed all over the world representing the United States.

Joe and I share a love for optimization and efficiency, and we get into depth on how Joe has incorporated that into his work at Ultimate, as well as some of the things he’s learned from ballooning that apply to his work, and his advice for newcomers to the aviation world.

Where you can find Joe

Instagram | LinkedIn | Ultimate Jetcharters

Selected links from episode

Show notes

  • Joe talks about his hobby of competitively flying hot air balloons [01:58]

  • The differences and similarities between hot air balloon training and fixed-wing pilot training [03:25]

  • How a ballooning competition works [06:33]

  • Joe talks about how he got into aviation and studying aviation management in college [13:23]

  • Joe's first job experience at Flight Options [16:46]

  • Joe talks about moving on from Flight Options to Ultimate Jetcharters as the recession was hitting [20:36]

  • Joe talks about the habits that led to his first promotion to Lead Scheduler at Ultimate Jet [22:16]

  • How Joe's work focus has changed after being promoted to VP [30:28]

  • Joe talks about the challenges and benefits of having a fleet split between scheduled and charter flights [35:24]

  • Where optimization plays a big role in the business at Ultimate Jet [38:58]

  • The metrics, both qualitative and quantitative, that they track at Ultimate Jet [44:26]

  • The skills that are common between ballooning and operations that have helped Joe succeed [48:17]

  • Joe's dream place to fly a hot air balloon [59:22]

  • The most interesting charter trip Joe has ever scheduled [1:02:40]

  • Joe's advice for anyone getting into aviation and looking to be successful [1:03:42]