Person 2 Person: David Neeleman

Person 2 Person: David Neeleman (Photo provided by David Neeleman)

(KUTV) David Neeleman is an entrepreneur who has founded several airlines, including JetBlue. His most recent project is Azul Brazilian Airlines.

Neeleman was raised here in Utah, and was a student at the University of Utah. He spends a lot of time with his children and 17 grandchildren.

"I think being with family is really important," Neeleman said.

But he also keeps busy with his two businesses-one located in Portugal, and the other in Brazil.

Azul, which is located in Brazil, went public earlier this year and is on the New York Stock Exchange.

"We have 900 flights a day to over a hundred cities, so it's a huge operation," Neeleman said of Azul.

He has learned a ton of lessons from his career in the airline industry.

Neeleman had founded Morris Air, which was eventually purchased by Southwest Airlines, and Neeleman went to work the for the company.

"It was just like this huge company culture and I'd never worked with anyone else before," said Neeleman. "So I just started implementing all these changes, and I just kind of alienated everyone around me."

He left the company which led him to WestJet in Canada, and then eventually founded JetBlue.

In February of 2007, an ice storm kept many of JetBlue's planes stuck on the runway and passengers stranded.

After getting bad publicity from the incident, Neeleman was moved from running day-to-day operations to becoming the company's chairman.

"It killed me. It took me years to get over it," said Neeleman. "'But you know, that's what happens in life."

But the change led him to other opportunities in life, including starting Azul Brazilian Airlines.

"What I learned from that experience is that when one door closes another door opens," he said. "Now there's 10,000 people who work for me in Brazil. We'll have 24 million people travel this year."

While working at Southwest, Neeleman also discovered he had ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder.

"I was completely miserable. I was in these long executive meetings," Neeleman said of his time before his diagnosis.

He constantly wanted to blurt things out--a trait of those with ADD, according to Neeleman--and would sit and write "DSAW," meaning "don't say a word," over and over again.

His mom told him his younger brother had been diagnosed with ADD and gave him a book, "Driven to Distraction," to read about the disorder.

"I went right to this 22 criteria for someone who has ADD," described Neeleman. "It was just like this epiphany that hit me."

One of the traits he read about was the ability to be think creatively and look at situations differently.

"That was just the way I was," he said.

A quote that Neeleman is inspired by is from Teddy Roosevelt's speech, "The Man in the Arena."

His favorite line is the last line: "If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

"I've tasted defeat and I've tasted victory," said Neeleman. "It's better to be there than to be on the sidelines.

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