Member Profile

Bookmark and Share

South Carolina Company Shows That Planes Mean Gains

June 21, 2010

When entrepreneurs in Greenville, SC, gathered on May 25, 2010, at an expo to showcase the value of small and mid-sized companies to the area’s economy, one businessman looked to the event as an opportunity to highlight how a strategic asset – business aviation – helps many of those companies succeed.

Steve Wiley, with NBAA Member Company Special Services Corporation, displayed the company’s new Cirrus SR-22 outside the front doors of the event, which drew more than 300 companies – up from 100 last year – and 2,000 people. "There’s a great misperception out there, but using an airplane is not just for a rich man or a big business," Wiley said. "We were able to show that small aircraft are a perfect way for small business to reach new clients."

Since 1958, Special Services Corporation, based at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU), has been providing business aviation services to the community, which today include aircraft charter, full-service aircraft management, and aircraft sales and maintenance. The airport is home to more than 25 aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the upstate economy.

James Stephens, an account specialist with the company, said the event also served to highlight the value of GMU. "Greenville Downtown is the busiest community airport in South Carolina and is really a self-sufficient entity – the event really gave our company and others a chance to show that this airport serves the community in a lot of ways."

However, the company doesn’t wait for local expos or networking events to spread the word about the economic value of business aviation, and the local airports the aircraft rely upon. "We’ve written rebuttals in the local newspaper about the value of the airport," said Wiley. "We’re also learning to use Twitter and Facebook as well as e-mail postcards to start some new dialogues with local supporters."