Some of my coworkers and I traveled to Orlando last Thursday to attend what Southwest Airlines calls the “Message to the Field.” Each year, our CEO Gary Kelly travels across the country delivering his “State of the Company” address to Employees at Message to the Field events in numerous cities. Herb started these years ago, and the tradition has held. At these events, Employees are able to ask Gary questions. Hearing Gary’s direction first hand is extremely beneficial and helps all of us focus on the same overall goals each year.
The Orlando Message was held at SeaWorld, so I was able to enjoy the park before the big event began—with about 2,000 of my Fellow Employees! I won’t get into everything that Gary covered in his discussion, but one thing I was very excited about was when he announced that all Southwest Employees (including me!) would be getting a $150 bonus—just in time for Valentine’s Day! The bonus was given to celebrate our Company’s outstanding performance in 2010, and I could tell that Gary was thankful for the opportunity to share this great news. And judging by the crowd reaction, everyone LUVed the news!
Gary also announced that Southwest’s 2010 Profits allow for a 2010 ProfitSharing contribution of $157 million. This means each eligible Employee will receive a ProfitSharing contribution equal to 5.7 percent of their eligible compensation. And if that wasn’t enough, Southwest also contributed $193 million in Company match to our 401(k) plans in 2010. Added up, that equals a total retirement benefit for Southwest Employees of $350 million in 2010 alone.
When Gary says taking care of our People is his top priority, he means it. Congratulations to my Fellow Southwest Employees on an awesome 2010!