meet our speakers: chesley b. “sully” sullenberger

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On January 15, 2009 Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger did what most of us do every day – he went to work. But what transpired is a story that has captivated the world time and again, when, after a bird strike caused a catastrophic engine failure, Captain “Sully” made an emergency landing of US Airways flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River, saving everyone on board.

But Captain Sullenberger didn’t become a pilot capable of making expert decisions in crisis situations overnight. While he is known today as a safety expert, and is founder and CEO of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., a company dedicated to management, safety, performance and reliability consulting, it’s his journey to excellence in the field of safety that makes him a highlight at this year’s Influence Greatness conference.

Most people know you for the “Miracle on the Hudson,” but with over 20,000 flying hours logged in your life, can you tell us a bit more about your history with aviation? 

It took me 40+ years to become an overnight sensation.  I had spent my life being a continuous learner, constantly striving for excellence.  I worked hard to be the most complete pilot, the most complete captain, the most complete person I could be. 

While safety is an important part of every pilot’s job, it’s seems to have been a bigger passion for you. Can you tell us about your focus on safety and why it’s so important to you?  

Throughout my career I knew it was critically important to know not only what to do and how to do it, but why and for whom.  That dedication and focus led me to excellence.

Would you say your background with safety played a pivotal role for you on January 15, 2009? 

Jan. 15, 2009 was a day like 10,000 other days…until it wasn’t.  We were suddenly confronted with an ultimate challenge of a lifetime, one we had never anticipated or trained for.  But by drawing on a lifetime of education, training and experience, we were able to take what we did know and adapt it to solve even this crisis…in 208 seconds.

And finally, what are you hoping to impart on the audience at Influence Greatness 2017?

Each of us can achieve a greater potential, and when we do, we can derive purpose and meaning from it, and make a difference for having lived.

By o.c. tanner
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