Bob Owsley of Southwest Airlines' Dallas Facility

Southwest Airlines works with CIE’s UTCPE to review efficiency and teamwork


CIE sponsors the University of Texas Center for Performance Excellence (UTCPE), a program that helps Central Texas business, education, healthcare and military organizations achieve and sustain performance excellence. UTCPE offers on-site consulting, self-assessment and feedback that focuses on such areas as leadership, strategic planning, customers, and managing people and processes.

Recently, Southwest Airlines’ Flight Operations facility in Dallas consulted with UTCPE to investigate how they could take their already high-performing operation to even greater heights. Tony Perez of UTCPE was contacted by Southwest Airlines for help with an organizational assessment. Tony and his team applied their evaluation criteria to Flight Operations and presented their feedback identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement to the organization’s senior leadership team.

Bob Owsley, Senior Manager Flight Standards and Quality Assurance with SW Airlines’ Dallas facility, tells us that his organization is enacting these recommendations now. A follow-up story on their “lessons learned” and experience with UTCPE is forthcoming. In the meantime, Bob answered some of our questions as to why his organization contacted UTCPE for help.

Why did Southwest Airlines decide to work with UTCPE?

Bob Owsley: “I looked at several different organizations that could help us become more efficient. What I liked about UTCPE was that it was criteria-based and that the recommendations were non-prescriptive. Based on the nature of our organization and the people in it, we thought UTCPE’s program would be received the best by our staff and a good cultural fit overall. As opposed to other programs that wanted to come in and change everything, UTCPE allows our people to participate in creating the solutions. Also, I was very impressed by the UTCPE people that I met. Their helpfulness and dedication to the program helped us make the decision. It was also a good value from a cost perspective.”

What were your hopes or expectations from the assessment?

“Our hopes and expectations are to create higher performing teams and better processes within the organization. I didn’t perceive anything was ‘bad’ before working with UTCPE, but as a Quality Assurance guy, I’m always looking for ways to make things better. Like the saying goes, ‘There’s nothing wrong with going from good to great.’ A QA mantra is ‘continuous improvement.’ Once we finish the evaluation and recommendations from UTCPE, we may even do it again just to keep improving.“

A future blog post will feature what Bob and his team took away from the experience. Look to this blog for an update to this story.


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