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Jet OUT Employee Profile: Doug Rutledge


Meet Doug Rutledge, Jet OUT’s Director of Customer Experience.

In this role, Doug leads a group of talented Concierge staff members who are inspired to win more customers through the relentless pursuit of creating exceptional experiences. Under Doug’s supervision, customers, team members, and guests feel welcomed, pampered, and appreciated!


Doug was born and raised in Palatine, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, adopted when he was an infant, and raised by two wonderful parents, both of whom worked in the airline industry.  

He graduated from Ohio State University in 1991, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Aviation and achieving a commercial pilot certificate. 

With an airline career that spans nearly three decades, Doug brings a wealth of experience to the service side of the Jet OUT business and is here to win your business!


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Jet OUT: Doug, what do you love about the aviation industry?  

Doug Rutledge: The travel, people, planes, and the fascination of flying!  

JO: Can you discuss your previous experience in the aviation industry? 

DR: I started as a part-time ramp agent for Continental Airlines in 1992, and that role jump-started my career. I worked for some of the world’s most renowned airlines, Trans World Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Air France, and Southwest Airlines, in many capacities. From the ramp, customer service, operations, supervisor, assistant manager, manager, general manager, regional manager, director, and pilot, I did it all! I retired from Southwest in 2019 and went to work for Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport as the Director of Operations and Maintenance. In this role, I had oversight for the following departments: Operations, Maintenance, Public Safety & Security, Crash Fire and Rescue, and Environmental. 

JO: How do you feel this experience will help Jet OUT grow the customer service side of our business?  

DR: During my career, I realized what customers want is hospitality. It's not the cost of the gesture that matters, it's how it makes people feel. Our job is to connect people to what's important in their lives.

JO: Can you elaborate on what hospitality means to you?

DR: Sure. Hospitality is what distinguishes great companies from just good companies. It’s the experience that customers get right from the get-go when they pick up the phone all the way to the point of check-in. They get on the plane; the flight departs on time, and they arrive at their destination with their bags. You provide a great experience. Hospitality is built into all that. 

We've lost a lot of the human touch nowadays when it comes to engaging customers. The human element is missing from our transactions. We're human beings. We're meant to interact with one another face-to-face. And if you have that opportunity, specifically here at the airport, to develop that relationship, that's what it's all about. 

If the customer has a good feeling about you, a good feeling about the company, and a good feeling about the service, you are going to win a customer for a very long time. They are going to spread the word. They'll be an advocate for your business, and that's ultimately what you want. Hospitality is so critically and vitally important, and it doesn't cost anything. It doesn't cost anything to be nice. It doesn't cost to have empathy.

JO: Can you tell me a bit about the group of talented Concierge staff members you manage and what the future holds for this team?

DR: This team has a lot of passion to provide a high level of hospitality. They understand the significant role they play in making their client's experience a special one. Business is about people and if you are able to make a connection to form that relationship, it's something special for everyone. This team is able to make these connections daily. In the future, the team will be given even more opportunities to provide exceptional hospitality as some responsibilities are transferred over to flight dispatch.

JO: What do you believe are the key qualities that make a successful Director of Customer Experience, and how do you embody these traits?  

DR: The key quality is servant leadership; be an advocate for the people you lead and your external customers. 

JO: How will your past experience help you create exceptional experiences for the Jet OUT team members and our guests so that they feel welcomed, cared for, and appreciated?

DR: I follow the golden rule. This approach has served me well in whatever I do. Treat other people how you want to be treated and serve people how they want to be served.      

JO: What are you most excited about when it comes to helping Jet OUT grow its business and bring more customers from the airlines over to try our service?

DR: The experience of flying on your own aircraft, on your time, getting to know the people you are traveling with, and embracing the flexibility it provides is very exciting. Once people fly, they are hooked.



JO: Tell me a bit about your family and what your hobbies are away from the ramp?

DR: My wife Jo-Marie and I have been married for twenty-five years. She is from Green Bay, WI and currently works at Amazon in Oak Creek, WI, in workforce staffing. We have one child, Jackson, age twenty. He’s working part-time at Rogans Shoes and attends UW - Milwaukee, majoring in computer hardware engineering. My interests are family, flying, yard work, travel, helping others and upholding my Catholic Faith.  



JO: Do you fly? 

DR: I do fly. I like to fly a  Cessna 172. It's a nice aircraft. It's easy to handle, and it's great for people who are first time flyers. I'm only about 10 hours away from 1500 hours. 

JO: How about those brand new Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen 2 aircraft we fly at Jet OUT!

DR: I love it. What a great aircraft. I mean, it's brand new. That's first and foremost. That's a big selling point right there. Being able to get on something that's brand new, very economical, very powerful, and in its size. It’s great choice for any company or individual to just kind of dip your toe in the water, so to speak.