Ian Vanderkley Loves Delivering the Dream of Flight
Walking through the entrance to iFly is akin to walking into a time machine. You will get a sense that you just stepped into the future or perhaps stumbled upon a space station. After your check-in, which is a breeze featuring the most up-to-date technology, you proceed to get your flight suit.
You’ll no doubt do a double-take when you get your first glance of the vertical wind tunnel. You must be in space after all as there appears to be no gravity. The patented high-efficiency wind circulation system allows anyone from 3 to 103 to safely simulate the experience of skydiving.
The main person responsible for your seamless experience at the iFly on Cobb Parkway is general manager Ian Vanderkley. His journey to Atlanta started in New Zealand where he grew up and obtained a degree in sport and exercise science from the University of Auckland. He settled in Atlanta seven years ago after he met his wife while working on Royal Caribbean Cruises. His family now includes their 1-year-old daughter and three rescue dogs.
There is no typical workday for Vanderkley.
“I have huge variety in my work and I am constantly encountering new situations. But most importantly, I spend a significant time interacting with my staff and making sure we have a happy and healthy team environment.”
This teamwork is what ensures the fliers to have an amazing experience. At iFly you work with flight instructors (most are former skydiving instructors), a flight driver who controls the velocity of the wind, and of course, the front desk team.
Vanderkley manages 25 employees.
“I cannot praise my staff enough as they are all outgoing and excited about life,” he says. “We deliver the best customer service possible so that people can feel comfortable and confident flying.”
His employees agree, and operations manager Ebonee Clark says, “He’s the best boss I ever had. He’s a great communicator.”
You can be certain to have a memorable experience at iFly. All the instructors are put through a four-week training program and also engage in comprehensive ongoing training. Anyone can participate from beginners to advanced skydivers. The company also hosts all-abilities nights where they fly people with physical disabilities and special needs.
“I love that I am part of a company that is delivering the dream of flight to people all over the world,” Vanderkley says.
Vanderkley loves flying himself and looks forward to the day his daughter turns three so they can fly together.