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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.
A Steady Hand
Jeff Brausch founded his company in Akron, OH in 1962 to help businesses throughout the Midwest with initial public offerings, acquisitions and other financial needs. Today, he's still the owner, president and sole pilot, joined by just two other employees in the roles of vice president and senior director. In his five decades of flying for business, Brausch has achieved a perfect flying safety record, receiving NBAA's 50 Year Safe Flying Achievement Award in 2015. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of J. Jeffrey Brausch & Company.
Business Aviation Helps Doctors Treat Patients
Premier Bone & Joint Centers' seven doctors run 11 orthopedic clinics across Wyoming, serving 75 percent of the state. All doctors are based out of Laramie, but on any given day could fly to Casper, Cheyenne and other towns to see patients. "I don't see how we could operate 11 clinics without airplanes," said Dr. Lawrence Jenkins, a spinal surgeon. "If we didn’t fly we’d probably only have two or three doctors and we couldn't bring sub-specialist care to these small towns." Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Premier Bone & Joint Centers.
Firing on All Cylinders
Engine-maker Cummins, based in Columbus, IN, has customers operating its products in some hard-to-reach locations. It also has factories and offices at nearly a dozen states across North America, so its three Gulfstreams and one Embraer regional jet meet wide-ranging air travel needs. "We fly to a lot of places you can't get to any other way," said Director of Corporate Aviation Chris Raskob. Without business aviation, company officials said they couldn’t run their global manufacturing and distribution business. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Cummins.
Flying High and Not Leveling Off
The aviation team at Nationwide Insurance has made a department-wide habit of finding new ways to improve. The pilots, schedulers and maintenance technicians at the company share a sense of pride in exceeding the expectations of the passengers who fly on the company’s three Bombardier Challenger 605s. “We perform every day as if we’re being tested on our professionalism and customer service,” said Dan Wolfe, associate vice president and general manager of aviation. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Nationwide Aviation Business Center.
Six Airplanes, 3,600 Hours a Year
On a typical day, Sanderson Farms has five airplanes fueled on the ramp at Hesler-Noble Field (LUL) in Laurel, MS, and as many as 40 passengers in the hangar by 7 a.m. It's not unusual for those airplanes to fly six legs in a single day – completely full – moving employees and customers between Sanderson's 21 chicken plants, hatcheries and feed mills across the Southeast. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Sanderson Farms.
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 a Pipeline to Success
After utilizing airplanes to support its business for decades, one Texas company has transitioned into providing aircraft management, charter and maintenance services. Spend some time with W. Stanley Baker Jr. and you quickly realize he is not your typical business owner or aviation enthusiast. Baker, age 75, recognized from his earliest days outside his childhood home in Corpus Christi, TX that aviation was in his future. Read the Business Aviation Insider profile of Baker Aviation.
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)
Water Valley Land Company, Windsor, CO
Colorado native and owner of NBAA Member Water Valley Land Company Martin Lind began his career as a farmer and built upon his knowledge of development trends to found his thriving family-owned real estate development and management company 20 years ago. Lind and his associates must cover vast tracts of land, and business aviation has helped his company ascend. “The airplane is a great tool for us to bring people to see our properties first hand,” Lind said, “We have a competitive advantage in that we can let our customers view a site with their own eyes.” Lind and two business partners share a King Air 350, and Water Valley uses the airplane, typically with all the seats full, once or twice a week to fly missions out of Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (FNL). The company is profiled in the Sept/Oct issue of the Business Aviation Insider, sponsored by GE Capital. View the complete profile.
Schwan Food, Marshall, MN
NBAA Member Schwan Food Company, based in the small southwestern Minnesota town of Marshall (pop. 13,000), has long understood how important transportation links are for remote communities. Thanks to the company's Beech 1900, which makes the 40-minute flight between Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) and Marshall's Ryan Field (MML) twice daily, the connection between the small town and the major airline hub is quick and easy. The family-owned company, which was founded in 1952, became famous for the yellow home delivery trucks that first distributed ice cream to rural customers who had just been connected to the electrical power grid. View the complete profile.
Luck Stone, Manakin, VA
During this challenging period for the housing industry, NBAA Member Company Luck Stone, a family-owned, Manakin, VA-based supplier of stone construction products, is reaffirming its commitment to business aviation. President and CEO Charles S. Luck, IV explained that meeting with customers and employees to boost confidence and morale is even more important during a downturn. Luck Stone's Beech King Air 350 allows Luck and his management team to visit employees at the company's plants, and is used to fly in prospective customers to see the quality products the company sells. View the complete profile.
Advantage Technologies, Inc., Troy, MI
Many small businesses that must respond quickly to client demands on short notice rely on business aviation. Advantage Technologies, Inc., an NBAA Member Company based in Troy, MI, and its 28-year-old founder and president Bryan Currier rely on light single- and twin-engine airplanes for such responsiveness and mobility. The company provides back-office technologies to small health care practitioners scattered across the Great Lakes region. For Currier, based in the Midwest, with its great distances between population centers, car and airline travel were impractical. He decided to learn how to fly and utilize light airplanes to maximize his efficiency. View the complete profile.
Pentad Properties, Salt Lake City, UT
Many small businesses rely on business aviation to expand their markets and increase their efficiency. Pentad Properties, an NBAA Member Company headquartered in Salt Lake City, is owned by Paul Stafford, who connects with his clients, business partners and government officials with the use of a single-engine, piston-powered airplane. Stafford is a commercial real estate investment specialist based in Missoula, MT. He uses his airplane to extend the reach of his real estate practice as far as Denver, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. "We're small, but nimble," Stafford said. "I don't know any other brokers that work the way I do and have the reach that I do. The airplane enables me to service a greater region, and it helps increase the volume of my business." View the complete profile.
Winner Aviation, Vienna, OH
Rick Hale, president and CEO of NBAA Member Company Winner Aviation, traveled from Vienna, OH to Washington, DC last summer to testify before the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Hale told Congress that small companies like his, which make up the majority of business aviation enterprises, would be adversely affected by the imposition of aviation user fees. View the complete profile.
MacNeil Automotive Products, Ltd., Downers Grove, IL
NBAA Member Company MacNeil Automotive Products, Ltd. uses sophisticated tools to produce custom-designed precision-fit floor liners, floor mats, cargo compartment liners, mud flaps, side window deflectors and other protective products that are carefully crafted for specific vehicle makes and models. "Our planes get us in front of our customers, eye-to-eye," David MacNeil says. "That hands-on approach has been a significant factor in the growth of our company." View the complete profile.
MI Windows and Doors, Inc., Gratz, PA
Places like the central Pennsylvania town of Gratz (population 676), whose primary employer is MI Windows and Doors, Inc., have found in business aviation an important economic motor. MI Windows and Doors has prospered thanks to a business model that relies on a company airplane to link its small-town headquarters with its plants and its customers, wherever they are located. While it used to take a full day to travel, "we now can be there in literally two hours," said Matt DeSoto, MI's executive vice president of eastern operations. "And the more we can be on-site, the more value we can provide to our team members and our customers." DeSoto believes that business aviation is the best way to build closer relationships with clients and respect the value of their time. View the complete profile
Apogee Medical Group, Scottsdale, AZ
Apogee Medical Group founder Dr. Michael Gregory says that business aviation has been the key to meeting the mission of his business: providing doctors to geographically remote hospitals. In order to pack as much into a travel day as possible, the Apogee airplane leaves Scottsdale before dawn and returns long after sunset, making multiple stops in between. The complete profile discusses how NBAA provides value to the company, and includes podcasts of Dr. Gregory and other Apogee employees discussing their need for business aviation and for NBAA. View the complete profile.
Manitoba, Lancaster, NY
Some specialized tools help NBAA Member Manitoba, a family-owned metals recycling company in Lancaster, NY, stay competitive. For instance, the company's list of must-have business tools includes a Mitsubishi MU-2 Solitaire. "My ability to fly an airplane is what helped us survive," Manitoba CEO Richard Shine says. The complete profile features a podcast interview with Shine. View the complete profile.
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