“Our current plan is to build an additional paint facility at the Lincoln location,” remarks Hilkemann. “It would have a large downdraft bay as well as a ‘dirty’ bay [for paint stripping]; we still have our three existing paint bays as well.
“This allows us to paint aircraft that are too large for our existing hangars; it also allows us to increase our mix in Lincoln of the number of large aircraft paint slots that we have.”
Investment in the facility is $10-11 million, and the company plans to have it complete by April of next year. With construction set to begin this spring, the facility will add 45,000 square feet to the existing 440,000-square foot facility on the east side of the airport. The new facility will be capable of servicing large business aircraft such as Gulfstream’s 550, Bombaridier’s Global Express, and Dassault’s Falcon 7X.
“We’ve seen some of our customers change over the years; in many cases they are younger, and they obviously utilize [social media] tools to communicate,” says Hilkemann.
Beth Humble, Duncan’s communications specialist located at the Battle Creek facility, has been with the company for 12 years. “We’ve been using social media since the 2008/2009 timeframe; we started out really small and did more in subsequent years,” relates Humble.
She began with a personal Facebook page and Twitter account to see who was out there, and found a lot of aviation people that were into social media from the beginning, which then led to Duncan jumping in as a company in 2009.
Comments Humble, “It’s grown ever since; I lead it and our marketing department plugs into it.
“We dedicate probably half a person to our social media initiatives; several of us help manage and contribute to the sites.”
Duncan’s primary uses for social media include information distribution and brand awareness.
Comments Humble, “We’ve always had a lot of content on our website ... technical content, our magazine, and other publications that we contribute to. One of our goals is to make sure that our customers are smarter aviation people by doing business with us; our publications support that goal, and social media has been an important channel to distribute that message further.
“Our blogs, our technical publications, whitepapers, field guides … it’s very content driven. I think social media has helped us get better at providing good content.” As a result, Humble says it’s beginning to cause a significant increase in Duncan’s website traffic.
“It’s also a good way to get in front of media outlets as well, and to let them know what we are doing; there are a lot of journalists on Twitter. I have access to some great aviation bloggers on Twitter that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t there.”
Duncan has even gained customers directly from Twitter and Facebook; the company views social media as a great way to build relationships.
As for the future, Humble says this year the company really needs to get a good feel for where its customers are.
“We need to identify which of our social media users are most likely to buy from us, and then work to develop more content for that area of the Web; then we will put more resources toward pushing information out to the right channels,” she adds.
Duncan is also looking at mobile technologies, and distributing content that is specific to a particular community. “We want to look at that community piece and find out if we can develop a ‘Duncan Community’; this could have location-based marketing implications,” remarks Humble.
Built highly regarded avionics, maintenance company
A Gulfstream V received a fresh coat of paint today during the Open House ceremony for Duncan Aviation’s newest expansion, an $11.5 million, 45,000-square-foot paint shop at the Lincoln, Neb...
Tom Burt has assumed the responsibilities of COO for Duncan Aviation's battle Creek, Michigan, facility.