December 22, 2020

The New Flame Presents the Art of the Pivot

MEETING A NEED IN A PANDEMIC: The magazine looks at how Drucker alumnus Tom Hsieh and his partners are keeping their new business going and helping Alaskan communities at the same time.

As the end of a tough year approaches, many people use this time to catch up on their reading.

Along with various bestsellers and glossy magazines on your nightstand this season, make room for the new issue of the university’s magazine, The Flame, featuring a cover story about a dilemma faced by Drucker alumnus Tom Hsieh (EMBA, ’04) and his partners.

Should you start a new business during a global pandemic?

Probably not, but unfortunately Hsieh’s commuter plane venture FLOAT — “Fly Over All Traffic” — was already underway as quarantines and shelter-at-home orders were put in place in March.

Most businesses would simply give up in this situation, but Hsieh and his colleagues didn’t. They realized an opportunity and a real need for a commuter flight service in Alaska. While traffic may have vanished on Southern California freeways, Alaskans still counted on such flights as an essential service. Hsieh describes the genesis of this business and how it managed to pivot and avoid closure.

FLOAT’s on the cover of the fall 2020 issue of CGU’s award-winning The Flame magazine.