Before entering a corporate finance career, FreeFlight’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Mason had an accomplished aerospace engineering career. In March 2018, Mason joined the FreeFlight team at Irving Texas, and says this opportunity has provided him with the perfect career path which merges his financial leadership skills with his passion for aviation.
“I was looking for an opportunity to return to the aerospace industry,” says Mason. “I found the perfect fit in FreeFlight, as I was looking for a smaller, growing company where I could wear many hats.”
Since joining the team, he explains that his admiration for the industry continues to flourish. Throughout his entire 30-year career, Mason says he has enjoyed many experiences that have helped to build his diverse and well-rounded industry perspective. Today, he brings various skills to the FreeFlight team that helps drive the company’s success.
What has been the most important project that you have worked on at FreeFlight, and why?
I played a large role in the sale and merger of FreeFlight into ACR Group. This included significant financial and contract work before the closing and substantial integration work in the subsequent months.
What’s your family life like? How was WFH impacted your day-today?
I love the flexibility that FreeFlight provides me. It enables me to have a very nice work and life balance. Working from home has been surprisingly effective. In the beginning, I was skeptical we could be as productive as before the pandemic, but the company has really adopted technologies and processes that enable us to work effectively. Plus, working from home has given me even more, time and flexibility to attend to family matters. I have really grown to appreciate the WFH environment.
How were you introduced to your current career?
When I entered college, I joined the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) with a planned career path of becoming a Naval aviator. When vision problems eliminated that possibility, I did the next best thing and became an aerospace engineer. After 10 years of engineering experience, I returned to school, got an MBA in corporate finance, and went to work for American Airlines.
What do you like most about working at FreeFlight Systems?
I love the fact that it is a smaller, growing company. This means that I have to wear many hats, which allows me to grow and develop in my career. Every day I find myself having to tackle things I have never done before – this I find fascinating. The other thing that the size of this company provides is a tight-knit culture. Everyone pitches in to help ensure that things are done correctly and on time, no matter who owns the task. I love that sense of cooperation, teamwork, and the family feel of our culture.
What draws you to work in the aerospace industry?
When I was five years old, my Dad took me up in his Cessna 172 for my first flight, and I was instantly hooked on flying. Later, when I was an engineer, I got hooked on aircraft design and the technologies that make flight possible. It is still the most fascinating field I can imagine.
If you had to choose a fixed-wing or rotor-wing aircraft, which one would you choose?
My favorite are fixed-wing aircraft. I grew up with a father who flew, and he was always introducing me to new dimensions of fixed-wing flight (gliders, father and son flying trips, etc.). I still love the feeling of soaring like a bird – flying above beautiful vistas.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love having time to spend with my family. My hobby is cooking, so we are all very well fed.