Ralph started out as a project manager and economics student before co-founding Axinom in 2001, where he initially directed strategic and operational developments, local management and unit leads. Last year he took responsibility for expanding Axinom Aerospace and as CEO, he defines the company’s targets, policies and strategies.
Now Watching: House of Cards
Years in Industry: 4
Favorite Airport: LAX
Frequent Flight: NUE-LAX
Favorite Airport Restaurant: Umami Burger
Brand of Suitcase: Samsonite
Paper or electronic boarding pass? Electronic
Something that never ceases to amaze you in your industry?
The challenges of transferring cutting edge technologies for media and entertainment to the aircraft.
Biggest challenge you’ve ever overcome at work?
Four years ago when we entered the airline market, I visited Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time. I had 14 years of experience at a software company and had to learn that the main products sold for aircraft are hardware products, servers and cables; software was just an add on. I’m also reminded of my first big challenge at the International Broadcasting Convention eight years ago where broadcasters claimed that the only way to distribute movies was over the air, or over cable TV with a set-top box and a card to decrypt content. Today, an entirely software-based business like Netflix is the benchmark.
Part of the airline passenger experience that you wish got more attention?
I would love to see an airline that focuses on passengers from their home to their destination.
I would like airlines to consider phones, tablets or computers as tools for communication with passengers, so that passengers can be informed about their flight, the airport, entertainment options, connecting flights and their final destination. Additionally, airlines should offer passengers personalized information about the journey by, for example, recording where passengers interrupt movies so that they can continue where they left off on their connecting or return flights. I would also expect that the passenger device could connect with an existing system, such as an embedded in-flight entertainment system, as a second screen.
What does your typical workday look like?
Planning the day, team meeting, dealing with projects and products that need management attention, approving contracts and offers, reviewing short and long-term marketing and sales strategies, contract negotiations – then in the evening, I conduct calls with our customers.
The career path you considered but never followed?
I wanted to create a music label.
Two things that you miss most about home when you’re traveling?
I definitely miss my family and my friends – especially if I don’t manage to be at home to celebrate something. And I miss the tiny little things like the bread from the bakery around the corner at my home, the café in the park that I can walk to in five minutes and the guy selling me fruits and vegetables at the market square.
Favorite APEX conference of all time?
2014, Anaheim – it was the first time Axinom had its own booth, and it was great!
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had during flight?
You won’t believe it, but it was a vegetarian pasta. Somehow the pasta was al dente, with real cherry tomatoes, extra parmesan. But I have to admit that it was an exception.
Favorite airport/airline lounge?
LAX. They have a good fast food selection (I do not have time for a three-course menu at the airport) and after visiting several times, I simply know where to go.
Talent you wish you possessed?
Sometimes my friends tell me to take it easy, but I have trouble just waiting, being patient and so on. I have to drive, be active, kick off… I can’t wait to let things just happen.
Favorite book as a child?
Best hotel room you’ve ever stayed in?
Wynn Las Vegas.
You wouldn’t be where you are today without:
The support of the family, friends and colleagues. They all did – and do – an outstanding job in motivating me and providing me with positive and negative feedback.
Did you choose the airline industry or did it choose you?
It was the airline industry that selected us.
See more at: http://apex.aero/ralphwagner