The team at Wright Brothers Aircraft Title is a talented group who work with aircraft owners on their aircraft registration needs. Gabrielle Stephens is a member of this team. She’s an Escrow Agent with Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, and you’ll see that her current responsibilities and past experiences give her everything she needs to provide extraordinary client service. We asked Gabrielle a few questions – here’s an opportunity to get to know her.
1. How long have you worked at Wright Brothers Aircraft Title and Aircraft Guaranty?
I work for both of Debbie Erwin’s companies: the escrow company (Wright Brothers Aircraft Title) and the owner trustee company (Aircraft Guaranty Corporation). I’ve worked for Debbie directly for 2 ½ years, but I’ve worked in the same building as Debbie and Kayleigh Moffett for about 7 ½ years now. This is how I became familiar with the aviation industry and began to learn what a title company and owner trustee does for their clients.
2. Tell us about your background and why you became an aircraft escrow agent.
Before my role as an Escrow Agent, I was a banker for seven years and a financial advisor for 10 years. The last five years as a financial advisor, the company I worked for shared an office building with Wright Brothers Aircraft Title and Aircraft Guaranty. Being around Debbie’s team daily, I started to learn about the aviation industry and became familiar with their lingo. When I started working at Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, I was fast tracked because of my financial background. I have since become an escrow agent, but I also work in the office in multiple facets for both companies.
Knowing all the steps in the escrow process is learned through seeing the process hands on. I was familiar with certain legal processes and had worked reviewing various legal documents with my financial clients. There were many things I had learned in banking and as a financial advisor that enabled me to make an easy transition to an escrow agent.
3. What do you like best about the work you do?
I love my job! Mainly because I enjoy helping people. This is a very fast-paced industry, and my role is to take stress away from my clients. Customers who choose to use escrow have a more enjoyable experience buying or selling their aircraft because we help them throughout the process.
Every client is different, which is also something I enjoy about the work I do. The level of complexity varies for each transaction based on the purchasing or selling entity and the size of the aircraft. Even some of the smaller aircraft sales and purchases can be very complicated.
Every transaction is like a jigsaw puzzle, and I have to put all the pieces together before our client can move forward. It’s a challenging process, and I’m always learning new things. We’re proud we give our clients peace of mind in an otherwise tense situation.
4. What is a typical day like?
Every day is different, but also each week varies. Sometimes we get very busy at the end of a quarter when there are a lot of transactions to close within a specified timeframe. We try to estimate how busy or slow we’re going to be, but sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason, and most of the time we are very busy. We recap and look back at our business both monthly and quarterly.
5. How did you become interested in the aircraft industry?
Before I worked in the same office as Wright Brothers Aircraft Title, I never considered how people purchased or sold their aircraft. As I was introduced to the industry from Debbie’s team, I became more and more fascinated with the process. As a financial advisor, you have customers coming into your office and you build a personal relationship with each one. In aviation, I now use my client skills to build relationships, but from a distance. Our clients are all over the world, and we may never see them face to face.
Sometimes I compare what we do to real estate or car title transactions, this helps me explain the process clients will have to go through to title the asset they are purchasing.
6. Based on your experience, what advice would you give aircraft owners?
I’ve worked with aircraft owners and people who have been around aviation for a long time, yet they don’t really understand FAA requirements. We see many people who try to do things directly through the FAA. They often get frustrated and end up coming to us to help them fix their problem. It saves a lot of heartache if they come through escrow first for guidance. We recently wrote a blog about this: Can’t I Handle My Own Aircraft Closing?
My recommendation to aircraft owners is: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you are ready to purchase or sell, we will provide a summary of how the transaction will work. This explains what you can expect and how the process will flow. We will answer your questions in person, over the phone, or via email, whichever you prefer.
7. Please share a little about yourself.
I’m married, and my husband John and I have five children. We have a beautifully blended family, which I love. It keeps us very busy! I enjoy my work and I enjoy home. I’ve lived in Oklahoma City my whole life, and with the FAA registry here, the aircraft industry is a natural business fit for me!
8. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes – Debbie takes very good care of us. This is a great company to work for. We enjoy what we do, we enjoy each other, and we enjoy helping our clients. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this team.