Flying with a Fortune 400 CEO

August 23, 2021

A few years ago, I got to experience traveling over 11,500 miles with a top Houston CEO, Jeff Hildebrand, back in 2015. It was a celebration tour. Our transports ranged from a private jet, a small prop 8 seat plane, and even a private chopper. Being behind the lens, photographers blend into the background.

As the photographer in the back of the plane, I gained a unique understanding of the private world of first-class corporate travel. I can say, one of the best perks was literally pulling up on the tarmac, to have my vehicle valet parked and walking straight onto the aircraft. No ticket counter, security checks, long lines, or missing baggage. To say I was completely spoiled after that trip was an understatement.

Maximizing each and every minute...

Tony Robbins often talks about the day he realized the difference between private travel and riding coach. This means of travel is clearly a massive benefit in maximizing each and every minute of their day. The most truly successful business people I have met and worked with in my career are looking for each and every advantage. They do not like to waste time and make every working hour productive.

Time is the great equalizer in life.  We all have the same amount.  It is how we choose to use the time we are given.  Successful entrepreneurs are all about business and productivity, not just from their employees but constantly challenging themselves.

Texas to Pennsylvania, Louisiana and as far away as Alaska, I was on board and part of the legendary Hilcorp culture. The positive vibes and influence could be felt at each and every stop, on this employee benefit tour. Each and every person that worked for this company was receiving a bonus, and for many more than their annual salary. The feeling was infectious as I experienced the excitement they were feeling.

I was there to cover each stop and even got to help out with setups at many of the facilities. It was a pleasure carrying out small jobs that facilitated such joy. It's not every day you get to carry a suitcase full of cash! Being a photographer is not just about taking photos. It is about the relationships and trust we build with the clients with whom we work.

Bare witness to amazing events...

I consider myself very lucky to have been for this job. One of the reasons I was chosen was the level of trust already established. A lot of what we were doing was under the radar, at the time, and not public knowledge. Discretion is everything with our clientele. The company is now celebrating a milestone with the completion of its new offices in downtown Houston and pending changes at the top.

It is not every day, as a commercial photographer, that we are given the opportunity to bear witness to amazing events that touch so many lives. I am so proud of my profession and the ability I have, to tell a story with pictures.


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