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LAKE JACKSON, Texas -Texas Dow Employees’ CU CEO Edward Speed leads a credit union that is now in 14 counties in Texas and has branches as far as 110 miles apart. Covering all that real estate has become a lot easier for Speed who recently got his pilot’s license and bought his very own Piper Cherokee Archer, seating four adults. “People started kidding me about needing an airplane to get around to all the places in Texas the credit union is in,” said Speed. Those jokes turned into reality. Now the flying CEO uses his plane to turn what used to be long days of driving, into quick flights that allow him to put more time in the office. Speed recently flew down to Cuero, Texas for example to meet with staffers. In the past this was a two and a half hour drive one way and turned into an all day affair – not any more. “I flew down and met with staff in the morning, and I was back for a noon lunch meeting. It’s increased my productivity.” Fortunately, said Speed, just about every town in Texas has an airport, though they can have small 3,000 square foot runways. Speed received his license in two phases. First he went to flight school in Houston where he would fly for about three hours on the weekend until he logged 40 hours. He then went to full-time flight school in Kissimmee, Florida that specializes in accelerated courses for executives. Speed flew for 16 days straight. “At the end you go up with an FAA examiner who puts you through different tests,” said Speed, including cutting off the engine and conducting various maneuvers. Speed was extremely impressed by the Florida flight school, as well as the FAA. “The FAA keeps it very, very safe up there. The best indicator of that is all of my insurance, with full insurance on the airplane and $0 deductible with a million dollars liability, costs me less than what I have on my Chevrolet Suburban,” said Speed. So when he flies on CU business, does it cost the credit union more? Not at all. “I get the same mileage reimbursement as if I were driving my car,” said Speed. Of course the new license and plane isn’t just good for work. “My wife Linda loves to put on her Bose headset and hop around and see the grandkids; they’re spread throughout Texas,” said Speed. His wife is taking what’s called a pinch hitter course that teaches her how to land the plane should the pilot become incapacitated. Speed said flying seems a lot safer the more you learn about it. He noted that his Piper airplane has an eight to one glide ratio, so if he’s at 8,000 feet, he can glide 64,000 without the engine. His service ceiling is 13,000 feet, and he typically flies at about 9,500 feet. [email protected]

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