An Example of Leadership

The 2009 Ground Support Leaders of the Year awards ceremony recognized six recipients for contributions to the industry.

Two years out of college, William Bohnett began his career in GSE as an engineer with the Lantis Corporation, assisting in the design of the 818 pallet loader. He later helped redesign the 818 with the “swing-out” engine package before moving into the customer service department in 1988.

When TLD acquired Lantis, Bohnett was given reign over the Western territories, including Hawaii, and eventually gained his moniker, “Aloha Bill.”

Craving a separate venture within the ground support equipment business, Bohnett went to work for Sage Parts in 2002, which allowed him to branch out from pallet loaders and learn various equipment types.

In 2005, Bohnett and his family relocated to Las Vegas, where he decided to pursue something outside of the industry. “I was going to start anew and enjoy my final years before retirement,” he says. “A gentleman called me from Allegiant Airlines and said, ‘Bill, why don’t you come out here and see what we have to offer, I think you won’t be disappointed.’”

And he wasn’t. His new position with Allegiant Air allowed him to experience a completely new side of the industry. “I was given an opportunity to finally be the customer after being the vendor, the sales person, the service guy, the parts man, the engineer, the manufacturer,” he says.

In the time that Bohnett joined Allegiant, the airline has grown from 16 MD80s and two bases to more than 40 planes and five bases.

“With that additional complexities comes the need for strong management of ground support assets that are spread across the country,” says Sean Hopkins, vice president, supply management at Allegiant Air. “Bill has been actively involved in a number of recently instituted programs that have brought a focus to ground support equipment on both service levels and financial returns. This will permit us to provide a higher level of support at station operations and has led us to shift from being buyers of primarily used equipment to new.”

Bohnett attributes much of his abilities to his extensive experience in the industry. “Using the knowledge I’ve attained throughout my years in GSE has allowed me the opportunity to field equipment in our system that best suits its environment,” he says.

Green/Environmental Leader of the Year Award
for a person or a company that has introduced environmentally friendly equipment or processes

Beginning as a silk-weaving workshop in Lyon, France, in 1897, the company has come a long way to position itself as a leader in the manufacture of GSE, evolving to steel manufacturing for several types of industrial equipment to solely manufacturing GSE.

Today TLD serves airports, airlines, ground handlers, cargo airlines and military organizations in markets all around the world through its divisions in Europe, Asia and America.
The company has grown its extensive product line over the years to include aircraft pushback and baggage tractors, loaders, belt loaders, GPUs, ACUs, ASUs, passenger stairs, as well as specialized military equipment.

The company has also evolved to offer a range of alternative-fueled and regulation-compliant GSE, including electric loaders, tractors and belt loaders, the gasoline-fueled JST tractor series and the TPX-100-E electric towbarless tractor.
Scott Gordon, executive vice president of TLD America, says the award is a great honor when considering others in the industry that have made strides in producing environmentally friendly equipment. “There are many, many good suppliers and good people in this industry that have come a long way in the past 5 to 10 years and I’m just very thankful and flattered,” he says.

Engineer/Innovator Leader of the Year
for a company or person that has introduced a revolutionary product
Robert Engholm, president, Interphasic LLC

Robert Engholm has racked up more than 22 years in the electronics industry, and many of his engineering accomplishments have come with the design elements of aircraft loaders. His experience began as an engineer with the Lantis Corporation in 1987. When the company was acquired by TLD, he set out to revolutionize the design for the company’s new 828 and 929 model loaders.

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