An Example of Leadership

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


“The engineering staff was allowed to have a blank piece of paper to work from, which as an engineer being given a blank piece of paper was very dangerous, so I started to design and think about what the industry really needs,” he says.

Engholm went on to design the first drive-by-wire, full diagnostic, two-computer control system used in the GSE industry, which is still in use today.

Engholm developed a number of notable designs for aircraft loaders: a platform auto leveling system for tracking aircraft movement to provide stability in cargo transfer, and an infrared diagnostic system that allowed personnel full control over a loader with a hand remote.

In his time with the company, Engholm held several positions that required oversight of the engineering work of the company, including engineering manager. In that position, he also contributed his expertise through the production of technical product presentations and the standardization of components and technology with the company’s divisions in France. He also went on to become the product liability manager.

When TLD moved its headquarters to Canada, Engholm decided to go into business for himself, founding Interphasic LLC. Engholm has continued his innovative engineering efforts with Interphasic, which is in the business of producing electronic digital controllers for mobile hydraulic equipment.

Engholm is a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix and a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers Inc. His hobbies include restoring vintage Honda Trail 70 motorcycles and, having recently acquired his private pilot’s certificate, flying over his hometown of Monterey, California, where he still resides.

Lifetime Achievement Award
for a person who has demonstrated commitment to the industry through a lifetime of dedicated service
Henry Foster, president, Fortbrand Services Inc.

Henry Foster began his lifetime in the ground support industry more than 40 years ago when he began working for the Hertz rental company. “I learned the rental business and a part of my responsibilities was calling on the New York Metropolitan Airports,” Foster says. “And I was renting basically trucks and small pallet trucks and stuff like that to the various airlines during the early 60s and of course they were growing at the time, so rental was a big part of their GSE.”

When American Airlines came calling for freight carts, it spurred Foster to go into business himself, though he admitted he had much to learn. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” he laughs. “I ended up towing the carts in the back of my car across the George Washington Bridge. Of course, by the time I got the carts from New Jersey to New York, all the wheel bearings were shot because I was towing them too fast.”

But learn he did, and he grew the business by acquiring additional types of equipment. In 1966, Foster sold the company to Hudson General (now Servisair), staying on with the company until the 1980s.

When he left Hudson General in the 1980s, Foster decided to go into business for himself once again by founding Fortbrand Services Inc. The company has specialized in the sales, leasing and financing of a diverse line of ground support products. He has maintained an active role with the company as its president.

“At Fortbrand, Henry serves as the patriarch of the close-knit Fortbrand family — imparting his years of business and equipment knowledge to the younger members of the team and always giving a word of encouragement to anyone he feels needs it, whether it’s a new sales person or a seasoned mechanic,” says Peter Stearn, vice president of Fortbrand. “All who work for Fortbrand know that Henry is generous with both his time and his resources.

“Still going strong at 77, Henry’s energy and unbridled enthusiasm for the world of GSE serve as a true inspiration for the Fortbrand team and all in the GSE industry with whom he comes in contact,” Stearn says.

Having been within the industry more than four decades, Foster has learned to continually adapt to the change. “I guess this is an industry that is changing so rapidly that if you get into this business, that you better be able to accommodate these changes or you won’t survive,” he says.

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