Former National Football League kicker Lawrence Tynes says he’s found his next career: aviation.
And he credits a Wichita company and its executives for the introduction.
Tynes, whose 10-year NFL career included stints at the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants, is a business consultant for Wheels Up, a New York-based private aviation membership company.
In 2013 Wheels Up announced a firm order for 35 and options for 70 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops manufactured by Wichita-based Textron Aviation.
Tynes resides in Overland Park and joined Wheels Up in October 2014. His membership sales territory encompasses Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
“Wichita has been my busiest market,” Tynes says, adding that he’s here two or three days a month meeting with prospects and Wheels Up members.
It was through his friendship with professional golfer Josh Broadaway — who plays on the Web.com Tour — that Tynes connected with Beechcraft executives, who connected Tynes with the job at Wheels Up.
Broadaway, who was Tynes’ roommate at Troy University in Alabama, is sponsored by Beechcraft. And the Beechcraft executives connected Tynes with the founder of Wheels Up.
“(They) started asking me what I was going to do (after football) and they put me in touch with Kenny Dichter,” he said.
“I love it,” Tynes says of his new job. “Whether I’m talking with a first-time private flyer or a veteran, to me every day is new because I’ve never done anything like this. … It’s definitely challenging for sure, but I certainly enjoy the process.”
He said his NFL career has helped him in terms of introductions to prospective customers. But that’s about all the leverage he gets from it professionally.
“Nine out of 10 times I’m asked, ‘Are you the Lawrence Tynes who played football?’” he said. “It gives me some credibility. It certainly does not close deals. … At the end of the day, they’re buying the program. They’re not buying me.”
Tynes says he’s doing a lot more flying because of Wheels Up, and is debating whether to make a move from the passenger seat to the left seat.
“I don’t know yet,” he said of becoming a pilot and the personal time it would require to get a license.
He said most of his time away from work is spent with his twin boys who are 7 and are “really getting into sports.”
“I don’t want to miss that,” he said.