President’s Column: Your Call to Action

St. Cloud Airport

Dear GSDC Investors and Partners,

By now, many of you have likely been approached any number of times by folks working hard to make the St. Cloud to Chicago flight service a success. Rick Bauerly, a passionate and dedicated leader in the greater St. Cloud business community and founding investor and board member/Corporate Secretary for the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, authored the following message that we encourage you to read and take to heart. We think Rick summarizes the importance of the launch of St. Cloud to Chicago air service well and offers some specific actions and tools for helping us grow air service and the economic vitality and quality of life for our region. Please heed his call and act now!

Thank you,
Patti Gartland, GSDC President


Dear Colleague,
I am writing to ask for your personal assistance in a critically-important and an urgent business and community matter: utilization of United flights between St. Cloud Regional Airport (STC) and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD). Twice daily flights have been in operation since this past May, connecting St. Cloud to the rest of the global economy via Chicago. Since startup, service levels are improving and normalizing and utilization has grown steadily. However, progress on flight bookings and flight utilization is not happening quickly enough; we must accelerate.

I can make a difference and you can make a difference. I’m using the Chicago route to reach 3 business meetings and a family vacation in northern Florida, southern Florida, Boston, and Chicago within the next 3 months. How can your business (and family!) benefit from and utilize the service during the all-important first year of operation?

Business and organizational leaders must act now and in the coming weeks to ensure that all stakeholders in your organization – employees, customers, vendors, channel partners, lenders, advisors, etc. – know about the service and are encouraged to use the service in the coming days, weeks, and months so that our families, businesses, regional economy, and community can benefit from the economic impact and quality of life it can provide across the coming decades.

Here Are The Top 10 Actions You Can Take in the Coming Days to Support Chicago Air Service:

  1. Booking – to book flights, visit www.United.com. Join United’s MileagePlus program too.
  2. Email –send an email to your stakeholders to promote the service.
  3. Voice Mail – send an internal voice mail message to those in your organization to promote the service (GSDC can provide a “template”).
  4. Web – to post an icon and link to www.United.com to your website (GSDC can provide these, too).
  5. LinkedIn – post a message on your LinkedIn and/or Facebook account to promote the St. Cloud-to-Chicago-to-the-World-Service with your networks.
  6. Packages – for vacation and corporate retreat packages to Chicago, contact your travel agent and/or Lee Hurd, EVP at Bursch Travel at LeeH@BurschTravel.com.
  7. Travel Insurance – for relatively inexpensive travel insurance for your company and its employees – to cover lost baggage, flight cancellations, and flight delays that occur with air travel – contact Berkshire Hathaway or other providers. Berkshire Hathaway info here.
  8. Charitable Contributions – if you have not yet contributed financially to the startup of the Chicago service as more than 60 organization have, or if you want to add more to your initial contribution, please do so before December 31, 2014 by mailing a check payable to GSDC noting “Chicago Air Service”. GSDC is a tax exempt 501©3 organization and your personal and corporate contributions are tax deductible. Contributions are used to cover the “revenue guarantees” that airlines require to cover losses during the startup phase in new routes.
  9. Mindset – in the long-run, if all business and leisure travelers used St. Cloud Airport to originate ten percent (10%) of their air travel, the Chicago service (and other routes from St. Cloud) would be sustainable. In the short-run, because many are not yet aware of the service, others have not yet tried it, and still others are not willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains, a committed group of us with the long-view have to use, and direct our employees to use, the St. Cloud Airport for closer to eighty (80%) or one hundred percent (100%) of our originations in the coming weeks and months through the all-important first year of service milestone on April 30, 2015.
  10. Booking – to book flights, visit www.United.com!

For any questions on the actions above, please contact Sonja Gidlow at GSDC at sgidlow@greaterstcloud.com or direct at 320-252-5203. Others working hard on this initiative include Bob White, Patti Gartland, Brian Myres, Al Kremers, Jami Bestgen, Mayor Kleis, Mike Williams, Bill Towle, the Airport Advisory Board, and many, many others. Feel free to reach out to any and all for questions and/or assistance. I thank you in advance for all you have done for this effort and broader efforts for business, economic, and community development. Feel free to call me with any questions, ideas, or for additional information on this topic.

Best Regards,
Rick Bauerly
Corporate Secretary
Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
P.O. Box 1662, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1662
Rick@GraniteEquity.com

Posted on December 31, 2014 and filed under President's Column.