Ryan DeBrusk is the Vice President at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, responsible for Sales in Europe, Russia and CIS countries. A big believer in developing strong, lasting relationships with clients, he was an “instrumental” person behind the famous airBaltic and Bombardier’s C Series (now A220) synergy. DeBrusk shares what were the key elements of building this particular relationship, what it takes to build a lasting connection with a client and in what ways aviation industry never ceases to amaze and inspire.
Considering your involvement in the growth of CS300 fleet at airBaltic, why do you think C Series was favored so much by the airline? What were the key elements of building this relationship?
airBaltic has been Bombardier’s customer for many years before the C Series (now A220) with its large fleet of Q400 turboprops. As the airline started to look at replacement options for its aging B737 fleet, it was clear that the C Series was hands down the best aircraft in its class and is undoubtedly the best aircraft for airBaltic. With this expanding business relationship, the management teams of both Bombardier and airBaltic worked very closely and developed a strong degree of trust between us. It is no secret that there were difficult times through the aircraft development but it was due to the strong relationship that we were able to move past the obstacles and be a stronger Team afterwards.
In a way, airBaltic has become an ambassador for C Series aircraft. Now, when the program has been sold to Airbus, are you building similar relationships between other Bombardier aircraft and airline operators? If yes, which ones?
airBaltic has without a doubt been a fantastic ambassador for the C Series (now A220). Martin Gauss and his management team have done an outstanding job of not only turning around the fortunes of airBaltic but also firmly setting it up on a path of growth and stability. They are great partners of Bombardier and we (and I) will forever cherish the friendships we have made with this great team.
As for building similar relationships with other Bombardier clients, I am a very big proponent of developing and maintaining strong partnerships with our customers; from those partnerships come close relationships. I and my team are very focused on this across the region and will continue to be so as we refocus our product strategy around the Q400 and CRJ product lines.
Why did you choose to work in aviation?
I took my first flight at the age of three on a Wardair’s (no longer in business) B747-100 from Toronto to Orlando. To this day, I still remember being amazed as I gazed out a window while climbing through the clouds. Since then, airplanes have never failed to fascinate me. After studying International Business, I had the opportunity to begin work with Bombardier and not only be around airplanes every day but also travel the world and meet great people in a great industry…. that was something I could not say no to!
What is the most remarkable change in aircraft manufacturing you are looking for?
Being someone who spends a significant amount of time on airplanes, I have to say I am looking forward to the day when supersonic flight becomes ‘mainstream’ and one can spend less time away from family and friends but still be just as effective in their daily job.
What is the most interesting thing people do not know about your field?
Aviation itself is a fascinating business and being on the aircraft sales side of the business is very exciting. That said, it involves countless hours spent away from family and often involves last minute travel to far off places around the world. This, I think, is the one thing people not in Aviation have a tough time understanding…. It is not out of the ordinary to depart early in a week for travel around the world for a meeting with a customer, only to be home again for dinner by Friday evening. Face to face discussions, especially on sensitive topics, are the best way to evolve and strengthen relationships to the benefit of both parties.
What are your personal inspirations?
Every day I get to engage with people that are both great leaders and represent inspiring success stories in their own right. I am always inspired by examples of perseverance of which there is no shortage of in aviation. I have been fortunate to be friends with a number of industry veterans who, despite facing uphill battles at points in their careers, have overcome challenges and found ways to succeed. Never giving up and always searching for a new way to get the job done is something I strongly believe in.
Also, as a father, I am inspired every single day by the enthusiasm and fresh views of the world which one can get just by observing, listening and spending time with their children. This is the most inspiring of all!
About the speaker
Ryan DeBrusk was appointed to the position of Vice President, Sales – Europe, Russia & CIS at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft in August 2014. He leads a team of Sales Directors based in London and Toronto and places significant emphasis on relationship development skills both for himself, as well as his team. Ryan joined the European Regions Airline Association as a Board Member in October 2016.
Mr. DeBrusk’s track record of success in sales campaigns includes significant expansion of the Q400 aircraft fleet at All Nippon Airways (ANA) in Japan; CRJ700 regional jet introduction to the Japanese market with IBEX Airlines; launching the Q400 aircraft in the Indian market with SpiceJet; securing Korean Air as the C Series aircraft launch customer in the Asia/Pacific region; sustained Q400 fleet growth with Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air; and the sale and introduction of Q400 aircraft to WestJet Airlines in Canada and Island Air of Hawaii. He was also instrumental in the introduction and growth of new CRJ900s in Europe with Cityjet and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) as well as C Series CS300 fleet growth at airBaltic.
Prior to joining Bombardier’s Sales team, Mr. DeBrusk managed aircraft introduction and customer support activities for airlines in the Asia/Pacific region, and also served in the company’s Procurement organization. He has been with Bombardier for more than 18 years.
Mr. DeBrusk holds a Bachelors in International Business and Marketing from Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada. He also studied at the University of Malta and has completed the Negotiation and Leadership Program at Harvard Law School as well as the Executive Program in Sales Management at York University – Schulich School of Business.