Risk and Reward

Feb. 13, 2009

Q: How did you get involved in the industry?

A: My quest to be in the airline industry in some capacity started about 30 years ago when I first earned my private pilot license. Looking back, I think I must have inhaled too many gas fumes. Actually, I love to fly and found the people in the industry a fun group
to work with.

Q: What are some of the major trends you have seen developing over the past decade?

A: The number of independent FBOs that have been consolidated into the larger chains is really incredible. Same can be said for the number of airlines that have come and gone. Bigger can be better, but only if you’re better at being bigger.
With the current economy all companies, including AERO, need to provide the highest service level possible in the most economic fashion. Those that can meet the challenge will do well in any economy.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced over the years?

A: Managing growth, or should I say managing to grow. AERO started very small and has grown quite steadily over the years. I have been blessed to have gathered together a great group to work with. They say you should aspire to hire only those smarter than yourself. Each and every one of my group strives to remind me daily of that fact. We work hard and try to have fun on and off the job.

Q: What do you favor most about working in this industry?

A: I have a tremendous collection of friends in the industry. Some might even admit to know me if asked in public. This industry is formed of a great group of risk takers. We all might have slept better if we were selling snow cones in Hawaii, but where is the challenge in that? It’s that risk and reward thing that gets us up in the morning.

Q: What changes would you like to see made in the industry?

A: I would hope the government continues to support aviation in all its diversity. We all need to recognize the value aviation brings to the plate — both in business and commercial aviation. Let’s not let fear overrun the American way of life. Not every corporate aircraft is a designated terrorist tool — not every airline passenger is the Unabomber.

Q: What advice would you give to those new to the industry?

A: I would really consider that snow cone sales position mentioned earlier. That is unless you are driven to make better products and offer superior services. This is not an industry for the faint of heart.

Q: Who do you admire?

A: My dad. He’s 84 and living in Mexico. Despite the passing of my mother, he continues to live life to the fullest. By the way, he decided to move at 82.

Q: What in the industry keeps you up at night?

A: Running AERO can be a handful because of all we do: manufacturing our own brand of GSE, zero-time refurbishing, and distributing other top GSE lines like Eagle, TLD and Unitron. When I take it too seriously it can pile on. As long as I remember who we are and why we come to work in the morning, it’s a fun and rewarding place to be.

Q: Is there one accomplishment that you are especially proud of?

A: That my kids don’t hate me (as far as I know). I currently have two working with me. Jason is 32 and Michael is 19. Both claim to work full time. We’re verifying that now. My youngest, Trevor, is 14 and wants to take control now. He says it’s only a matter of time anyway.

Q: Where do you see Aero Specialties in 5, 10 years?

A: AERO should grow into a better and larger supplier of GSE equipment for the growing international aviation community. In 5 to 10 years I hope to be retired — riding my mountain bike, skiing and traveling, only pausing to go the mailbox to get those monthly checks.