2017 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Jon Simmers

Nov. 3, 2017

Jon Simmers
CEO, Bismarck Aero Center
AGE: 39

  • Alma Mater: Jamestown College/University of North Dakota
  • What is your dream job? I’m living it, I’ve always wanted to work with my Dad.
  • What person has impacted your career the most? Early on in my career, I was working at a large manufacturing company in Minnesota and I was struggling to get the big picture. One of my co-workers, Jennifer Stella, pulled me under her wing and helped get me pushed back in the right direction. We still keep in touch today!
  • If I could visit any airport in the world, it would be: I would love to go back to any airport back in the late 1940s era, just after World War II ended. Listening to old timers from that era, aviation had a unique culture back then.
  • If I could have dinner with anyone living or dead: My Grandpa John. I never had the chance to meet him. 

Bismarck Aero Center CEO Jon Simmers is the perfect example of a leader that any organization would love to have. He has been the CEO for more than 10 years, always putting a special emphasis on building relationships with almost everyone he meets. From employees and their families to everyday customers to random people in the community, he takes the time to listen and get to know others.

As a leader, Simmers has created a family-friendly culture that has kept turnover at the company to a minimum and makes for a consistently positive environment that people want to work at every day. Since becoming CEO, BAC has gone from a one-office, one-hangar operation with six people to a three-office, 10-hangar operation and more than 45 employees. The company has received FAA’s Diamond Award for AMT Training, NATA’s AMT Employer Award and was tapped regionally as one of the Top 50 Best Places to Work.

Simmers has been nominated for Best Local Community Activist and Best Local Business Leader in Bismarck/Mandan, and was recognized as the North Dakota Small Business Person of the Year in 2016.

Along with what he has done for BAC, Simmers is also dedicated to giving back to the industry and the community. He is in his third year as the North Dakota Aviation Council chairman, secretary for the North Dakota Business Aviation Association, an active Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter #1008 member and a Young Eagles Pilot. He also allows his company to donate hangars space and numerous employee hours to put on the Aviation Career Day, where more than 850 students a year receive an education on aviation careers.

In the community, Simmers is well known for being a volunteer board member for the Bismarck/Mandan Junior Achievement program, part of the Bismarck/Mandan Chamber of Commerce, and the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation. He also actively supports local community groups such as Relay for Life, Civil Air Patrol, Mandan Hockey Club, Bismarck Career Academy aviation program and many other local causes.

Simmers said he loves working with his co-workers. “We work to develop a great family culture and to work on projects that make our local community and the aviation industry better,” he said.
One of Simmers’ biggest career challenge has been navigating through tough economic challenges in 2009 and having to make some tough choices to get things back on track. But he also enjoys the people and the heritage that comes along with the aviation industry.

His career advice? “You get what you expect. As a result, you must minimize the obstacles that stand in the way of your goals,” he said.