AMT 2016 Next Gen Awards: Zachary Thompson

Nov. 28, 2016
Vice President, Trego Dugan Aviation of Grand Island. Years in Aviation: 20

37-year-old Zachary Thompson says, "I have been intrigued with aviation for as long as I can remember. I played with toy airplanes instead of toy tractors or cars when I was young. I didn’t have a mentor per se, but I did have a place that inspired me. Hershey Flying Service sat along the highway in my home town. They restored Schweizer Ag Cats. There were always any number of aircraft outside the hangar when we drove by. Some days when I was especially lucky with my eyes glued to the window of the car I would get see one take off or land on the grass strip that paralleled the highway. As soon as I was old enough I started working there." 

Thompson attended Spartan College of Aeronautics and earned his A&P certificate and has a bachelor’s degree of business management from Bellevue University. During A&P school he worked at International Business Aircraft which operated 30+ MU-2 aircraft and he did cargo conversions and general maintenance and repair. He also holds his Inspection Authorization and a Private Pilot certificate. 

After school he moved back to Nebraska and went to work for Great Lakes Airlines until 9/11, and then Duncan Aviation. In 2005 he moved back to his home town and worked for Trego Dugan Aviation on its fleet of jets. In 2009 he was promoted to director of maintenance. He then moved to Trego Dugan’s largest base in Grand Island in 2010. As a vice president he oversee all aspects of the FBO and maintenance at the Grand Island location. Thompson says, "My success at Trego Dugan Aviation is definitely due to Vince Dugan and Gary Trego who have trusted and guided me to where I am today, and I thank them for that!"

Vince Dugan says of Thompson, "Zach has been dedicated to aviation his entire professional life. At 16 he started working on agricultural aircraft in his home town. Now he is 36 and has worked in aviation for 20 years. He helped develop and implement a SMS system and was able to earn an ARGUS platinum rating for our company's efforts. He is the accountable manager for our 145 avionicS repair station."

He is currently on the board of directors for the Nebraska Business Aviation Association (NeBAA) and is also active in his community volunteering for various local organizations. Thompson has attended several advanced training courses with FlightSafety International. 

Thompson says, "Giving back to the industry is something I enjoy. My work with NeBAA helps give back offering scholarships to students in aviation. We work with the local college on their summer workshops on transportation industry careers. We offer summer internships in our avionics and maintenance departments. I also take any chance I can get to take my four children flying and hopefully spark a lifelong love for aviation like I have."