Meet Bill Hampton
The XD Agency is preparing to launch a new industry practice, led by Bill Hampton, Managing Director of Aviation, Aerospace, and Defense.
With nearly 20 years of experience in aviation and a wealth of international experience (including a three-year assignment in the United Arab Emirates with the state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise and the alternative-energy-focused “MASDAR Initiative” in Abu Dhabi), Bill brings a global perspective and a self-professed small-town heart to all of his work.
As he prepares to take us to soaring new heights, he sat down to share the 30,000-foot-view of his life — and also the little details that fuel his success.
Hey, Bill, what’s your story?
I am the product of a small, small town of 6,000 people in Missouri but have always had a sense of curiosity about the world. My parents both pursued their pilot’s license when I was a kid, and that led me in the direction of airplanes — eventually flying an airplane solo on my 16th birthday and earning my private pilot’s license at 17 years old. I left Missouri as fast as I could (just weeks after high school) to pursue a career as a pilot — but after a semester at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University it was clear to me that I was much better suited for a career on the business and marketing side of the aerospace industry.
I finished Embry-Riddle with a degree in Aviation Business Administration, and after a summer working as an intern for Walt Disney World (as “Skipper Billy” on the world-famous Jungle Cruise), I found myself pursuing my MBA. During graduate school, I worked as a graduate fellow in the continuing education division of Embry-Riddle developing marketing strategies for aviation industry training programs – AND I LOVED IT! This quickly led to increasing roles at the institution, where I developed marketing and student recruitment strategies as the institution continued to launch programs in response to the growing aviation industry around the world.
My teams led unprecedented growth in enrollment, set up campuses around the world, created strategic industry partnerships, and eventually began to consistently land the university at or near the top in U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Some of my favorite experiences have been in the international realm. Aviation is of course the great connector of people, ideas, and economies. As a result, I have been fortunate to be a part of a handful of overseas start-up opportunities and to spend quite a bit of my time in far-flung places, from the United Arab Emirates to India to Singapore to Brazil. These experiences have deeply influenced my view of the world and the aviation industry.
What is your favorite place in the world?
My adopted hometown of Orlando, Florida (and not because I am a Disney freak). There is something that keeps me coming back to Orlando. I have an immense sense of pride in “The City Beautiful” and the collective ability of its citizens to consistently raise the bar and grow into a truly global destination for the arts, entertainment, technology, and sports. Orlando speaks to my small-town roots, but offers a great sense of diversity and opportunity that seems within reach of everyone who wants to be a part of building the city.
What motivates you?
In one word, CONNECTING! I’m fascinated by what bonds humans and what unlocks their emotions. Whether a simple conversation and discovering a shared passion, or more elaborate connecting people to places and products, I can’t get enough.
During my time at Embry-Riddle, I was able to see this in action day after day as our student recruitment programs and outreach campaigns connected moms, dads, sons, and daughters to a very special institution — a place that would quite literally change their lives and provide them an opportunity to work in one of the most exciting industries on the planet.
How do you motivate others?
Empowerment and new perspectives through experiences. I am a firm believer in partnering, learning, opening doors, and getting out of the way. In the aviation world, there are often great opportunities to showcase “the cool factor” with airplanes or “behind the scenes” perspectives that can transform a colleague’s understanding of the industry and pique their curiosity. I love seeing fresh reactions from colleagues when they see something for the first time (usually something that I see everyday) and have a completely fresh question, idea, and perhaps a completely new perspective. That’s magic, and that ultimately provides a new edge.
What’s your secret superpower?
See if this makes sense (going sort of full circle now): I am a small-town guy trapped in a body that is curious about the world. In other words, I am the quintessential product of a small-town upbringing — manners, family, appreciating the small stuff, etc. I consider my small town upbringing to be one of my most important assets – in short, it has kept me grounded in a career that has quite literally taken me around the world and provided opportunities beyond my wildest imagination.
What song best describes your work style?
Feel free to laugh at this cheesy answer: “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan comes to mind first. Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to lead many different teams and have been challenged to align people and resources to achieve lofty goals. The only way to achieve said goals is a crystal clear vision of exactly what we stand for and how we accomplish it. THIS is how WE do it. Every organization, every team, every person has a unique way of accomplishing the impossible.
At The XD Agency, we are high-energy, high-intensity experts from many walks of life. We are consummate professionals — equal parts head, heart, and hands-on. We’ve been told we bottle lightning. And we would love to meet you. Say hello.