Moving is a hassle, but the Duncan Aviation satellite facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, recently endured the stress and mess in order to take up residence in a spacious new hangar. After vacating a paltry 1,000 square feet of leased space in a 1940’s-era facility, they found themselves with 32,000 square feet in a state-of-the-art hangar that was built in 2007.
Established in 1986, the Fort Lauderdale shop has always been located in space rented from and shared with other businesses. As those businesses grew and expanded, the Duncan Aviation shop would have to relocate. Earlier this year, Satellite Operations Manager Matt Nelson and Manager of the Fort Lauderdale shop Brian Redondo realized it would be beneficial for customers if the satellite stopped bouncing around and set up shop in its own hangar.
The shop and offices take up the entire second floor of the hangar and leases much of the main-floor space to Part 91, low-utilization customers who want to store their aircraft in a limited access, secure facility.
“Currently, our hangar houses a Falcon 2000, Hawker 800XP, Learjet 60, and Gulfstream IV, in addition to our aircraft in for maintenance” says Fort Lauderdale Satellite Manager Brian Redondo. “All of them are owned by long-time Duncan Aviation customers. They appreciate the fact that our facility is private, so people can’t just wander in and out, and as tenants they get the fastest service Duncan Aviation can offer.”
Hired as the manager of the Fort Lauderdale shop in 2006, Brian has grown the facility from five employees to 12. One of the things he loves about Duncan Aviation is that although it’s a somewhat large company, it’s still family owned, and employees are treated as family.
“I’ve worked for small companies with five people where you got paid if the owner showed up with his checkbook, and large companies where I was just a number. I still remember that number, too, because I had to use it every time I went to the tool crib, to HR or filled out a form,” says Brian. “I like the culture at Duncan Aviation. It’s large enough to provide stability and benefits and small enough that everyone knows my name.”
When he was about five-years old and living in Old Forge, New York, Brian remembers standing on a dock on Fourth Lake—one of the Fulton Chain Lakes in Adirondack Park—with his father and grandfather. One of his grandfather’s friends pulled up to the dock in his Piper Cub on floats, and Brian and his dad climbed in. They took off, and from the minute the plane lifted off of the lake, Brian was hooked on flying.
Years later at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, Brian got his A&P license, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Technology (aka avionics). He worked at a number of facilities big and small until he was hired as the manager of the Fort Lauderdale shop in 2006.
With the larger shop space, Brian anticipates an increase in business in the coming year. Currently, less than 50 percent of the avionics installations at the Fort Lauderdale facility satisfy mandates for the upcoming NextGen deadlines.
“I’d expect to see an increase from our current level to about 75 percent in the coming year,” says Brian. “We also install and repair just about anything: Flight data recorders, flight management systems, 60Hz cabin power, USB outlets, a little cabin entertainment and lots and lots of Wi-Fi to name a few.”
Brian is relieved to have the move behind him, and he’s looking forward to the shop’s future growth. He’s especially appreciative of the support he and the rest of the team members get from Matt Nelson and other managers at Duncan Aviation.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch the Fort Lauderdale team grow in number and reputation,” says Matt. “I couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a competitive environment.”