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The diversity of NBAA's Members reflects the diverse nature of the industry. We profile a different member in each issue of Business Aviation Insider. Take a look at our company profiles to learn about how business aviation helps a wide variety of businesses take flight.
The Right Tool for the Job
One of the things that Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has always done is provide every employee with the tools they need to do their job well, and business aviation has proven to be one of the company's most valuable tools. Today, SEL has thousands of different products for monitoring, automating and protecting power grids in 147 countries. To grow beyond hand-soldering circuit boards in Schweitzer's basement, the company has used business aircraft to respond to customer outages more quickly than possible via other modes of travel. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of SEL.
Using Business Aviation to Grow Business Aviation
Gray Stone Advisors (GSA)"walks the walk" when it comes to utilizing business aircraft to maximize travel efficiency. GSA focuses on helping good flight departments become great ones, and business aviation is an integral tool for accomplishing that mission. Founder and principal James Lara flies the company's 1977 Beechcraft BE55 Baron "virtually every week" to consult with clients and is often accompanied by some of GSA's 15 team members. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Gray Stone Advisors.
Business Aviation Helps Satcom Direct Stay Connected in Multiple Ways
Global communications company Satcom Direct knows firsthand about the needs of flight departments, because it has one itself. Based in Satellite Beach, FL, the company not only provides global satellite communications, inflight Internet services and mobile handheld satellite phones for business aircraft, it also utilizes business aviation to carry its products and message around the world. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Satcom Direct.
With Light Aircraft, Stadium Builder Takes the Field in 50 States
With just 160 employees, Southern Bleacher builds everything from university football stadiums to little league ballparks. Established in 1946, the family-run, small-town company completes an average of 300 jobs a year across the country. To better serve customers in smaller communities, Southern Bleacher flies two six-seat aircraft: an Embraer Phenom 100 and a piston-powered Piper Malibu Mirage. "While in our aircraft," said Chief Pilot Jim McIrvin, "a construction crew could be reviewing a plan to troubleshoot a situation at a job site." Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Southern Bleacher.
Business Aviation Brings Customers to Marvin's Door
Despite the marvels of multimedia presentations, no video or virtual tour can completely convey a company's capabilities and corporate culture. That's why the Marvin companies – a fourth-generation, family-owned business – uses its four airplanes to bring customers to its headquarters in Warroad, MN (pop. 1,700), located just six miles from the Canadian border, to learn about the company and its made-to-order windows and doors, as well as to transport employees to multiple locations across the country. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of the Marvin companies.
No Compromises Leads to Six Decades of Safe Flying
The Kroger Co. flight department, which in 2013 received NBAA's 60 Year Safe Flying Achievement Award, says its constant pursuit of best practices is just one example of its commitment to safety. Since the company's founding in 1883, it has grown from a single store to almost a $100 billion company. "I would like to think that some of that growth was facilitated by having a flight department that can take people to places that are not easily served by commercial aviation, or that can go to multiple places in a single day," said Director of Aviation Bob Smyth. Read the Business Aviation Insider The Kroger Co.
Midwest Manufacturers 'Taking Care of Business' With Single King Air Operation
In 2012, Bowers Manufacturing Company Chair Jon Bowers purchased a King Air with friend and business associate Marc Schupan, CEO of Schupan & Sons, a Kalamazoo-based multi-divisional recycling company. They formed TCB (Taking Care of Business) Air LLC to jointly own the aircraft that would be operated independently by both companies. "We service about 800 plants in the Midwest and have nearly 12,000 customers throughout the U.S.," said Schupan, noting that his company is the largest private beverage container recycling operation in the U.S. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of TCB Air.
Creating Customer Connections
For Plitek, customer collaboration means traveling to many destinations off the beaten path. Because Plitek people need to visit remote locations, combined with the fact that the company obtains 70 percent of its new business by actually visiting business partners, using business aviation makes sense. The company flies its TBM 850 single-engine turboprop, which is based at Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), approximately 200 hours per year to visit customers and vendors. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Plitek.
Airplane Helps Small Firm Achieve Big Things
For professional-services firms, face-to-face meetings can be crucial to the success of a project and business relationships. That's certainly true for Indiana-based TEG Architects, which specializes in hospital renovation and construction. The company's Cessna Citation CJ2+ "helps us get there and collaborate with our clients for better outcomes than if we were emailing or talking over a Skype connection," said President R. Wayne Estopinal. "When we visit a client, we try and physically experience the problems these hospitals are experiencing. Collaborating with them on site makes a world of difference." Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of TEG Architects.
Berry Companies’ Airplane Builds Business
A leader in providing and supporting construction equipment, Wichita, KS-based Berry Companies Inc. was founded by Fred Berry, Jr. in 1957 and today has 29 locations in six states. As Berry explains, the company's Citation Mustang is used to transport customers to job sites to see what the construction equipment can do. "Customers will give you one day, but not two days," said Berry. "We can fly 400 to 600 miles, spend three or four hours on the ground and be back that night, so having an airplane is a big advantage." Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Berry Companies.
Business Aviation Brings Electricity to Company, and Customers
Member Company Wilson Construction is one of the largest utility construction firms in the Northwest. Headquartered in Canby, OR, with satellite offices in Arizona and California, Wilson Construction depends on general aviation airplanes, as well as rotary-wing aircraft, to maintain and repair power lines and to support its business. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Wilson Construction.
The Airplane as the Ultimate Sales Tool
When Gorman-Rupp Company first began using business aircraft just after World War II, company personnel primarily flew to visit customers. Today, Gorman-Rupp uses its King Air 350 mainly to bring customers to its headquarters in Mansfield, OH, where the company can demonstrate its wide range of fluid-handling products – from fractional-horsepower pumps to large flood-control systems – and show clients firsthand how it is dedicated to building quality products that are delivered on time and backed by reliable service. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile for Gorman-Rupp Company.
Many Gain From One Plane
Bill Crutchfield, a business aircraft operator who in 1974 founded Charlottesville, VA-based Crutchfield Corporation – one of the largest and most recognized specialty direct retailers of consumer electronics – thinks that the more business aviation advocates focus on how the industry makes a difference in the lives of everyday people, the less trouble aircraft operators will have with critics of companies using business airplanes. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile for Crutchfield Corporation.
Earlier Business Aviation Insider Member Profiles
- UniFirst Corporation, Wilmington, MA
- Utah's Division of Aeronautics, St. George, UT
- Edwards Group, Seneca, SC
- Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Washington, DC
- Costco Wholesale Corporation, Issaquah, WA
- C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, NH
- Honeywell International, Morristown, NJ
- Commonwealth Eye Surgery, Lexington, KY
- Deere & Company, Moline, IL
- South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, Columbia, SC
- Northwest Boring, Seattle, WA
- Names and Numbers, Pittsburg, KS
- Avjet Corporation, Burbank, CA
- Restaurant Equipment World, Orlando, FL
- Lane Aviation, Columbus, OH
- Various NBAA Members: "Mission to Haiti: Business Aviation Lends a Helping Hand"
- Waste Reduction Technologies, Baton Rouge, LA
- Viking Range Corporation, Greenwood, MS
- Fagen, Inc., Granite Falls, MN
- LaBov & Beyond Marketing Communications, Fort Wayne, IN
- Air Serv International, Warrenton, VA
- Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, White Plains, NY
- Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
- Sklar Exploration Company, LLC, Shreveport, LA
- Water Valley Land Company, Loveland, CO
- The Schwan Food Company, Marshall, MN
- Luck Stone, Manakin, VA
- Advantage Technologies, Inc., Troy, MI
- Pentad Properties, Missoula, MT
- Winner Aviation, Vienna, OH
- MacNeil Automotive Products, Ltd., Downers Grove, IL
- MI Window and Doors, Gratz, PA
- Apogee Medical Group, Phoenix, AZ
- Manitoba Corp., Lancaster, NY (premier issue)
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