There is no other way to put it, other than to say yesterday was a highlight of my PR career. Zapwater had the honor of assisting with the launch of Hainan Airlines inaugural non-stop service between Chicago = Beijing. There were so many things to be excited about working with Hainan. First, the airline is one of only seven airlines in the world to receive a five-star Skytrax ranking because they chose to focus on getting a lot of little details right in the service it offers passengers. Second, it reiterated Zapwater’s position as the go-to agency in the Midwest for global brands. When brands like TopShop, the Langham Hotel and Hainan Airlines come to Chicago, they hire Zapwater. Finally, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has set a goal of 50 million visitors per year by 2020. By helping open the gateway between Chicago and China, we feel like Zapwater is doing its part to help the city meet its lofty goals.

Xuo-Cd8y8hKXtpBTVpeY0-FB7Vnh3TTVXgZPLWRDOOU 96XScv_jyA00M6v26UdwpurvcpAT-K5QLDeJJrmygQw igTHG-UCq6ZTyEyrK_VlA5zb5P4GVRzVaSHRUsR2RLg


For all of those reasons, this was an exciting day. But for me, this was so much more personal. No one has been a bigger supporter and cheerleader of Zapwater than my dad. This one was for him because no one would get more excited about me working for an airline than my old man.

I grew up in an airline family. Some kids are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I was born with a Samsonite carry-on in my hand. I grew up in the airline industry. If you’ve been in my office, you’ve seen the Pan Am memorabilia that adorns the walls. It didn’t get better that flying a Pan Am 747, first-class on the transatlantic route. If there is any bit of travel snob in me, it’s because I’ve flown with the sky gods.

So yesterday, as Hainan Airline’s Airbus arrived in Chicago to a water cannon salute, my eyes actually swelled with tears because I knew how much my dad would enjoy the moment. In so many ways, my new friends from China allowed my to fulfill a dream and follow my dad’s footsteps and work in the amazing airline industry.

This morning I was showing my two-year old Rosie pictures of Hainan’s airplane and my daughter said “Pop-Pop (her name for my dad) builds the airplanes.” Yes, Pop-Pop builds the airplanes. Thanks Dad. This one was for you!

David Zapata