Happy International Women’s Day! First taking place in 1911, this important day occurs on March 8th each year and celebrates women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements. Now that is something we can get behind!
Being a female-owned business, we have an immense amount of respect for all of the women out there changing the world. A woman near and dear to our hearts that changed the hot air ballooning landscape forever is the co-founder of our company, Margie Long. Margie’s passion and drive in the male-dominated hot air ballooning industry was unparalleled. Though there were many women passionate about ballooning, Margie knew and understood that there could be a business behind it.
In 1991, Margie and her husband Randy Long, caught the ballooning bug one day, after being mesmerized by the gentle giants floating among the clouds. If you’ve ever been a passenger on a hot air balloon flight, it’s easy to see why. Margie once described the experience of being in a hot air balloon as, “It’s the biggest stress-buster in the world. You forget the whole world, you get so absorbed in being up in the sky and being away from everything.”
From this point on, they knew they were destined for a life in hot air ballooning, and took action to make their business dream a reality. Their first endeavor was a move to Arizona (home to most flyable days per year for hot air ballooning of anywhere in the country) and the purchase of a small balloon. Randy soon earned his pilot’s license while Margie ran the behind-the-scenes operations of their new small business, and Hot Air Expeditions was born. They began carrying two passengers at a time, and quickly blossomed to a fleet of hot air balloons, employing numerous pilots, crew members and office staff members.
Though Randy and Margie later separated, Margie continued to make strides as the sole owner of Hot Air Expeditions, growing the business to new heights with additional staff members and equipment, and an expansion into different flight areas, blossoming from their sole location in Phoenix, AZ to additionally offering ballooning experiences in Tucson, AZ and Monument Valley, UT.
Margie’s bubbly personality, passion and business sense left her mark on the ballooning industry. Her influence on the hot air balloon business landscape has undoubtably changed it for the better, and paved the way for other women in the industry. She is a role model for all in the hot air ballooning community, and is a testament that women can truly do anything.
Today, Hot Air Expeditions is run by Margie’s daughters, Amanda and Stephanie Long, who are honored to employ women both in the office, and up close and personal with hot air balloons. They strive each and every day to carry on their mother’s legacy, by elevating the hot air ballooning industry and continuing to pave the way for women in hot air ballooning.