The Real Dusty Crophopper- 8 Key Characteristics of an Extraordinary Employee

By Will Thomson- Executive Sales Recruiter- Austin, TX

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Disney released the movie “Planes” in July of this year.  It was a cartoon movie about a crop duster that had a dream of flying in the most coveted race - a race around the world.  Dusty always dreamed of being something more than just a crop duster.  He spent his spare time doing time trials and doing the best he could with what power he had. He could not fly high, and there were certainly other planes out there that were better equipped than he was to fly at fast speeds.

Racing was Dusty’s dream.  He was going to do it no matter what.  I never thought I would meet Dusty.  After all, it was just a cartoon.  That is, until I met the real Dusty Crophopper in mid- September. His name was slightly different and so was his aircraft. His name was Dusty Holt and he was a helicopter pilot.  Our meeting was in the most unlikely of places, south Texas.  Carrizo Springs, to be exact, where our family has a ranch.

The day we met Dusty there was a land survey being done on our ranch to see what kind of game we had.  During the survey everything from whitetail deers, elk, pigs, havelenas, turkey, dove, and quail could  be seen.   My family was headed homefrom a jeep ride when my father received a call asking if we would like to go up in the air for around 15 minutes.  These opportunities don’t come very often, so of course excitedly accepted.

When we walked towards the helicopter, all of us were a little scared.  It was loud, windy and there were no doors.  Dusty made our flight easy.  He made our flight memorable.  He made our flight fun.  You see, Dusty loves what he does for a living.  Every once in a while someone makes a profound impact on me.  Dusty did just that.  I want to share 8 characteristics with you that Dusty had that made him extraordinary.

1.  He Called Everyone by Their First Name-  This may not sound like a big deal, but it was.  Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language”.  Never a truer word was said.  As he talked to my 5 year old daughter, my wife and me, he called us by name.  This made all of us feel important and as if we were the only people in the world that mattered to him at that moment.

2.  He Treated Everyone With Respect-  I don’t know what part of the world you are from when you are reading this, but in Texas, we say “Yes Sir” and “Yes Ma’am”.  He was polite.  In this crazy world, you recognize when someone is polite.  If you don’t feel like saying “Yes Sir” or “Yes Ma’am”, I understand, but thank someone every once in a while.  You will be amazed at where it gets you.

3.  He Smiled and Laughed-  Dusty could have easily JUST flown the helicopter, but he engaged with us.  He injected humor and made us all feel right at home.  Laughter and smiling makes whatever you are doing fun.  He made it fun.

4.  He Seemed to Enjoy the Flight as Much as his first Flight-  Dusty, just like the cartoon in the movie “Planes” still gets enjoyment out of flying.  He told us a story about how he flew his first plane at 4 years old with his father as the "co-pilot".  Years later, he still gets the same enjoyment.  You could tell.  My wife and daughter had never flown in a helicopter and he shared his enthusiasm.

5.  He Gave Extra-  Dusty flew longer than 15 minutes.  He didn’t have to.  He WANTED to.  He saw the pure excitement in our eyes and gave us everything we wanted and more.  Do you get that from your employees?  If you do, you have something special.  Most won't offer more than what they are asked to give

6.  He Did "The Routine" And Genuinely Enjoyed It-  He took a picture when we were in the helicopter.  He didn’t have to do it.  I am sure he does it every time someone is in the helicopter with him, but he loved seeing our smiles.  I once sold houses.  I showed houses to thousands of people, but I lost my enthusiasm after a while.  He reminded me there are people who say “Now THIS is why I do this for a LIVING!”

7.  He Let Someone Else Share What He Loves-  My wife was in the front seat and he turned to Kennedy and said “Would you like to sit in front and fly for a bit”?   He landed the helicopter to allow my 5- year old daughter to switch places with my wife to enable her to have a better view.  Who does that?!  Since I am a recruiter, I want to share my love of what I do with others.  That is why I write.  That is why I spend time with people on their resumes.  Do you do that?

8.  He Got To Know Us-  At the end of the flight he knew my wife was a nurse, I was a recruiter and we all shared stories.  To me, every relationship is important.  We all have something we can learn from one another.

Now if you are ever in South Texas, or if you would like to know more about Dusty Holt, please check out his website at  You too, could become an extraordinary employee by just learning from him.

You can read more content from Will over on the Bulls Eye Recruiting site


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