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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Duncan Aviation’s Chuck Zahnow Receives the 2016 AMT Next Gen Award

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

Duncan Aviation team members are among the most experienced in the business aviation industry and the quality of the service they provide is among the best in the world. So it comes as no surprise to us when others recognized and acknowledge what we already know. 

Congratulations Chuck on an award well-deserved. 

Republished with permission from AMT Magazine

Zahnow, Charles_SM.jpg39-year-old Chuck Zahnow is an Airframe Technical Representative for Duncan Aviation in Battle Creek, MI. His great uncle worked on aircraft during WWII and he thought that would be a good path to follow.

After high school he attended American Flight and Technology Center, a one-year trade school that has since closed due to low attendance. He has continued his education with aircraft specific training on most of the Citations, Hawker, and Falcon 50 EX and 20 at FlightSafety. Zahnow has also been fortunate in having many people guide him along the way. "I adopted early on that people are always willing to teach, you just have to make yourself available to learn. I have learned from so many I could not begin to list them."

Zahnow started at Zantop Airlines, then went to American International Airways, and from there to Duncan Aviation. He currently works as liaison between the techs on the floor to Textron Aviation (Citation and Hawker) for all facets of airframe maintenance. He is also responsible for managing the tooling needs as it pertains to Textron aircraft and provides additional technical support to techs on the floor as well as external customers. This may mean a phone call, but could also include on-site support.

Mark S. Chaney, senior director, aviation at Coca Cola Bottling Company, says, "Chuck Zahnow has shown a strong commitment to business/general aviation through his incredible work ethic and support of Duncan Aviation customers. I have seen evidence in his support of my company's aircraft as a Duncan customer and reports from other customers. Chuck also serves the industry through his membership on the NBAA Citation 500 Series Technical Committee. I have the pleasure of serving with him as a current committee member and former chairman. He represents his company and Citation operators through a strong personal and professional commitment to safety and product/process improvement. He exceeds all of the qualifications for this award. I expect to see great things for our industry from Chuck in the coming years."

Zahnow is a member of NBAA and its Technical Committee for both the large cabin and small cabin Citation aircraft which helps to better the aircraft for the owners and operators. Duncan Aviation has also given him the opportunity to speak with high school students that are considering aviation as a career either by tours or by visiting with them at a local vocational center.

As for the future, "I have never put a ceiling on my career. I have always considered each opportunity and made a decision that would best serve myself and my family. I have been fortunate to be at a company that recognized and promoted me along the way to get where I am."


Chuck is one among many of whom we are very proud. Meet them all. 

Duncan Aviation Tech Reps

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Everyday is Recycling Day at Duncan Aviation

Posted by Kaela Paseka on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

Duncan Aviation is not only the world leader in business aviation tip-to-tail support; it is also an industry leader in reducing the use of hazardous chemicals. In the past 10 years Duncan Aviation has reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants by 50%.

At Duncan Aviation we have voluntarily chosen to apply the most stringent approach to controlling hazardous air emissions, applying maximum achievable control technology to our operations. And, our environmental staff is always looking for safer choices as they review chemical processes, protecting the environment and making Duncan Aviation a safer workplace.  

Duncan Aviation has a solid environmental compliance record. In June, our Lincoln facility received an unannounced EPA Hazardous Waste inspection. Employee training records, hazardous waste profiles, and storage areas were reviewed by the EPA. The company and its employees were credited for having no violations and the EPA inspector praised Duncan Aviation’s work in his review.

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(L to R) Lincoln Mayer Beutler, Mike Tuma, Kelly Becker, both from Duncan Aviation, and Lancaster County Commissioner Larry Hudkins

“We actively support our communities and respect the environment, and we encourage our team members to be mindful to minimize waste and recycle,” said Jeff Lake, the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

On November 2, 2016, we were chosen as the 2016 Lincoln, Nebraska, and Lancaster County Environmental Leadership Award recipient in the Business and Industry category, recognizing our efforts to improve the environment and protect public health.

Currently, Duncan Aviation is striving to have zero cardboard waste. Cardboard, it’s easy to identify and unlike plastic and glass, there is a steady demand to recycle it. It’s simple, recycle more and our trash service expenses will decrease, not to mention our future city taxes. Together we can postpone our communities needing to generate new landfills.

Here is a list of additional green initiatives Duncan Aviation is taking:

  • Foam Recycling since the beginning of 2015: 11,709.4 pounds (equaling 70 dumpsters) of foam from going to our local landfill
  • Adopt-a-Highway: twice a year in Lincoln and three times a year in Battle Creek, MI.
  • Winter Coat Drive for local homeless shelters
  • Annual Clothing Drives
  • Pallet Competition (companywide competition amongst employees)

Tags: Careers & Recruiting

One in Four Duncan Aviation Team Members is a Military Veteran

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

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Duncan Aviation honors its 508 Veteran Employees.

That’s 508 team members with thousands of years of military experience—and counting.

During this Veterans Day, we pause to remember the sacrifices our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have made in serving our nation where and when they were needed.

From one generation to the next, young men and women have willingly joined the ranks of America's Armed Forces. Aware of their obligations as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, they answered its call; they served the United States with courage and commitment.

Duncan Aviation wants to say thank you to all veterans who have sacrificed much in the defense of this country. We proudly support our veteran employees and are honored by their sacrifice and are proud to work side by side with these brave men and women. We cannot thank them and their families enough for the sacrifices they have made for our nation.

Duncan Aviation openly supports our Reserve and Guard members, who continue to sacrifice for our country.

We honor each of you, America’s veterans, who served so faithfully and honorably. Through your sacrifices you have secured for millions of others the blessings of freedom, democracy and the unmatched opportunities that we enjoy in the United States today.

May each of you have a safe Veterans Day. God bless each of you and your families, God bless our armed services and God bless the United States of America.

Putting Your Military Skills to Good Use

 

 

We strongly encourage military personnel to apply for career opportunities.

Duncan Aviation is an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer.

Talk to Duncan Aviation's Recruiting Contact Today

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Duncan Aviation’s Longest Tenured Employee Says Goodbye After 50 Years!

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 @ 01:04 PM

After 50 years at Duncan Aviation, Don Fiedler retired on September 30, 2016. He was not allowed to go gentle into the good night. Instead he was sent off with celebrations and a reception in his honor.

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During his last “Years of Service” celebration he was given the floor to speak to everyone in attendance about the highlights of his career and why it will be difficult to leave.

DF4.jpg“I was part of something remarkably special,” says Don. “The Duncan Aviation way epitomizes excellence in the aviation industry—the company simply did everything right. Duncan Aviation treats its customers and employees with great respect and has created a culture and friendly environment that bring out the very best in everyone.”

On his last day in the office, hundreds gathered to shake his hand one more time and wish him well. He is an employee who will not soon, if ever, be forgotten. CEO Todd Duncan is especially appreciative of Don’s dedication to Duncan Aviation over the years.

“It’s really hard to find the words to thank Don for everything he’s done for Duncan Aviation and our family; he was more than a good friend,” says Todd. “Don exemplified Duncan Aviation’s core values of delivering quality service, respecting customers and co-workers, and being proud to be the best in the business.”

Don Fiedler Scholarship

As a tribute to Don and the many years he mentored and guided team members at Duncan Aviation, the Duncan Family Trust has decided to award a scholarship to the Southeast Community College Career Academy in Don’s name. The Don Fiedler Scholarship will directly benefit an employee here at the company, and the first Don Fiedler Scholarship will be awarded at the Karen K. Duncan Scholarship breakfast in the spring of 2017.

Read more about the impact Don Fiedler had on Duncan Aviation during his 50 years.

 

 

 

Tags: Careers & Recruiting

Today, October 7th, is National Manufacturing Day!

Posted by Jennifer Monroe on Fri, Oct 07, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Did you know the annual average salary of manufacturing workers in the US is more than $77,000?* Yeah, neither did I!

Yet, only 35 percent of parents say they would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career, despite the advanced skills and high pay that are characteristic of work in today’s advanced manufacturing industry.**

This is due to a perception of manufacturing that existed a generation ago but does not represent the current reality of the industry.

Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t.

Today, more than 2,440 manufacturers across 49 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and three Canadian provinces are hosting events and inviting high school students, their parents and educators to come for a visit. 

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Left to right: Duncan Aviation Sheet Metal and Turbine Engine Technicians

Duncan Aviation "Dream It. Do It."

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Duncan Aviation is hosting a "Manufacturing Day - Dream It. Do It." event today at its Lincoln, Nebraska, facility. During this all-day event, more than 100 high school students from Lincoln and the surrounding area were welcomed by Duncan Aviation's chairman, Todd Duncan and his wife Connie, guided on a tour of the company's maintenance hangars and visited with Duncan Aviation employees about the opportunities available in the business aviation industry.

Sponsored by The Manufacturing Institute, the "Dream It. Do It." program is designed to address the national and local skills shortage by helping students, parents, and educators understand the global and local challenges employers are faced with when trying to find skilled workers.

This program provides a pathway to obtain the necessary skills that lead to career opportunities with local companies like Duncan Aviation to strengthen our economy.

Duncan Aviation is the largest family owned aviation maintenance company in the world and employs more than 2,000 aviation professionals around the world. To learn more about the career opportunities at Duncan Aviation, visit www.duncanaviation.aero/careers.

*Source: http://www.mfgday.com/resources/manufacturing-infographic

** Manufacturing Institute: www.TheManufacturingInstitute.org

 

Tags: Careers & Recruiting

Michigan Senator and Aviation Leaders Gather to Celebrate Aviation Jobs

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

IMG_8461SM.jpgHundreds turned out for the ‎GAMA ‎Michigan ‪‎Jobs Rally held last Friday at Duncan Aviation in Battle Creek, MI, to recognize the importance of aviation and its contributions to our communities and state.

Duncan Aviation's President, Aaron Hilkemann, along with U.S. Senator Gary Peters, from Michigan, and other aviation business leaders from Avfuel Corporation, L-3 Communications, and Williams International spoke in front of those gathered. 

Each speaker addressed the crowd giving examples of how the aviation industry has positively impacted the economy of the state of Michigan, as well as the benefits to their communities, employees and families. 

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Hundreds gather at rally, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters speaks, and Duncan Aviation employee Mark Strong listens.

Duncan Aviation's President Addresses Crowd

Below is the speech Aaron Hilkemann gave before several Duncan Aviation employees, aviation industry leaders, and students from Western Michigan University. 

2016 is a special year for Duncan Aviation. We are celebrating 60 years of providing business aircraft operators with safe, efficient and high-quality services. In 1956, Duncan Aviation was started by Donald Duncan when he bought a Beechcraft distributorship in Omaha, Nebraska. He had a passion for flight and an entrepreneurial spirit. He passed both along to his son, Robert, who ran Duncan Aviation for more than 40 years, and his grandson, Todd, who took over as Chairman in 2007 and is still very involved today.

The Duncan family operates several businesses, but Duncan Aviation is the one they identify with the most. They love flying, they love the people involved with flying, and they’re proud of the culture they have built at the Duncan Aviation facilities. As a family owned aviation company, a culture of constant improvement, teamwork, focused vision and family atmosphere is vital to our growth. And it is a culture that we work hard to instill in all of our locations.

In Battle Creek today we employ more than 600 people and we are currently hiring and expanding the team.  These are interesting, career-inspiring jobs at many levels that include good health insurance,  vacation time, 401(k) opportunities, a wellness culture and many other benefits.

This is a place where people want to work.  We see that in the number of job applicants who have been recommended by current team members, many of them family members.  96 Duncan Aviation team members have a family member working here in BTL, with more than 40 different families represented. We love it when our good, hard working team members recommend their own family members.  One example is the Slee family. The Slees have had three generations who have worked here. Four Slees are currently employed by Duncan Aviation. Tom Slee Senior, who is now retired, started the tradition by taking a position in the paint shop. He was followed by his sons, Matt, who works in Structures, and Tom Jr in Paint. Now, Matt has two sons working here, Josh in Structures and Mike with the Fuel Team. 

In addition, we have nine husband and wife combinations employed here at Duncan Aviation Battle Creek. Some even initially met their spouse here.

Our company and general aviation as a whole offer a broad range of career progression opportunities. One example would be Tom Burt, who spoke earlier at this rally. He worked his way through college as a flight instructor and then started at Duncan Aviation as a beginning airframe mechanic.  He progressed through customer service, sales, sales management and eventually into senior management. 

This is also an industry that provides long, solid careers for many team members.  Here at our Battle Creek facility, we have 24 team members who have been working in the company for more than 30 years. In fact, this year, Dale Vandelare celebrates his 40th anniversary. That is a nice, long, career and we want to congratulate him on that longevity.

Our industry is also well-known for providing opportunities to veterans and those transitioning from the military. At Duncan Aviation, we have hundreds of team members who have served or are serving in the military.  In Michigan, nearly 22% of our team members have military experience.  We are proud to be in an industry that employs so many veterans!

But our influence goes much further than the jobs we directly support. Our aviation business also supports a lot of good jobs in our communities. Because most of our customers come from a great distance, they often stay in local hotels, rent cars, eat in our local restaurants and spend money in our stores.

We estimate that every year our customers buy 4,500 hotel nights in Battle Creek or Kalamazoo. They purchase more than 13,500 meals at our restaurants. They rent cars more than 5,000 days per year. And some, especially our international customers, leave with aircraft full of products purchased in our local stores.

And we’re not alone. General aviation companies and jobs are good for our communities and states and we must be sure they continue to be properly supported and recognized for their contributions.

 About Duncan Aviation

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

How Are You Celebrating National Aviation Day?

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 03:02 PM

In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed this day, August 19, to be National Aviation Day to celebrate the history and development of aviation. This date coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright who, together with his brother Wilbur, made significant contributions to powered flight.

Today, like every other day of the year, Duncan Aviation celebrates aviation as the largest, family owned business aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company in the world, with over 2,000 employees. We celebrate with gratitude, as the perseverance of the Wright brothers has made a huge impact on the lives of everyone within business aviation. 

For the next two days, Duncan Aviation will celebrate its Founder’s Day, commemorating Donald Duncan’s birthday. Donald is the company’s founder and the grandfather to Duncan Aviation’s Chairman, Todd Duncan. This is a day for Duncan Aviation team members to pause and reflect on Duncan Aviation’s rich history while looking forward to a promising future.

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Duncan Aviation’s Chairman, Todd Duncan, visits the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, while on a family vacation.

That history is based upon a set of ideals passed down from Donald through Robert Duncan, Duncan Aviation’s Chairman Emeritus, and now to Todd Duncan. These values are dedicated to keeping a family culture as the company grew, no matter how many employees or locations. From the beginning, Duncan Aviation’s Core Values were not something that had to be memorized or learned by employees because they were simply a description of who they were and how they did business every day. Duncan Aviation team members embody excellence and a passion for aviation that shows in their work every day.

Duncan Aviation Across Six Decades

Duncan Aviation was established in 1956 in Clarinda, Iowa, during the prosperous years after WWI and earliest years of business aviation. You could say they have been in the business from the beginning and played a major part in its early development.  

Over the next six decades, Duncan Aviation grew from a single location in Omaha, Nebraska, to an international business aviation pioneer with locations all across the United States and team members around the globe.

Duncan Pride

Aviation is obviously very important to us. We live it every day. For many team members, who hold personal and commercial pilots license and still go flying on evenings and weekends after they have spent their entire day or week working on someone else’s aircraft, it is a passion. They say it’s in the blood.

Watch Duncan Aviation’s Core Values video, as team members express why the company’s Core Values resonate so much with their teams and how they can be seen in every aspect of their workday.

Let’s All Scream For Ice Cream

Every day is the National Day of something. And because there are so many things wanting their day in the spotlight, some have to share. So while we reminisce about aviation history, how it’s changed and where it’s headed, go out and grab your favorite soft-serve because it’s National Soft Ice Cream Day too!  

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Videos

Video: Todd Duncan Explains the Strength of Duncan Aviation

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Todd_Robert_PK_Harrison_blogAs the fourth generation of  the Duncan family joins the team, the company is focused squarely on the future. 

In this video, listen as Todd Duncan explains the strength of Duncan Aviation and what it means for the long-term.






“It's a long term prospect for my family. It's a long term prospect for our team members. And for the customers who use us, they understand it's a long-term prospect for our relationship."  

—Todd Duncan, Chairman. 

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Videos

Todd Duncan Announces 2015 Scholarship Winners

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 03:43 PM

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The Karen K. Duncan Scholarship Program was started in 1999 to support the continued education of the children of Duncan Aviation's employees.

Contributed by Todd Duncan, chairman

Education is important to Duncan Aviation. We invest a lot in our people and their training and professional knowledge. It is also something that as a family, we embrace personally. 

I am a strong believer in personal development for myself. My wife, Connie, is a former teacher with Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska, and currently leads the Duncan Family Trust in support of programs that benefit the educational of our local youth.

The Karen K. Duncan Scholarship Program was started to help Duncan Aviation team members fund post-secondary education expenses for their kids. All dependent children of full-time Duncan Aviation team members who are entering a two- or four-year college program or technical school are eligible. In the 16 years since we started this program, more than 200 scholarships totaling $1,400,000 have been awarded.

This year, as we do every year, we had so many talented and driven young people apply for the Karen K. Duncan scholarship. I am proud to announce that we have the opportunity to award 20 more scholarships to deserving students. The recipients were carefully chosen by an independent selection committee based on their essay submissions, as well as, academic achievement, citizenship activities, leadership skills and extracurricular and volunteer activities.

To all of the 2015 Karen K. Duncan Scholarship winners, Congratulations! You should all be very proud of what you have accomplished so far in your young lives. On behalf of Duncan Aviation and the Duncan family, I wish you the very best in your future endeavors.

2015 Karen K. Duncan  Scholarship Winners

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting, Community

From the Chairman: Todd Duncan

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 @ 11:40 AM

Investing. It’s a bit of a gamble, but if done well, the rewards are worth the risks. At Duncan Aviation, we invest in our facilities and our people. We know those key elements lead to an incredible customer experience.

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From left to right: Todd and Connie Duncan pose on the LNK ramp with their twin sons Harrison (left) and PK (right). A team member works on an engine. Hangar H houses, almost exclusively, Bombardier Challenger and Global aircraft.

Our Facilities

As part of our strategic plan, we invested $100 million in updating and improving our facilities during the past 10 years and plan to invest another $100 million during the next decade.

Two years ago, customer requests and the trend toward larger, long-range business jets resulted in the building of a larger, more modern paint facility. Once it was complete, we considered our maintenance hangars. They were full. Actually, they were bursting at the seams. We knew we needed more space to meet customer demand.

Doing the Right Thing for Our Customers, Our Facility and Our People

So we built an additional hangar facility. Yes, it was a huge investment during a time when the economy wasn’t booming. Yes, it was a bit risky. Yes, we chose materials that would make the facility environmentally responsible.

The first hangar bay opened in January. The second was complete in May. Since then, the new hangars have been full of large business jets while our recently updated older hangars still service the light and very light jets. It’s already apparent the addition was vital to remain flexible enough to provide services for our customers.

Our People

In order to provide the best customer service, we also need to invest in our people. By providing a great work culture, maintaining a focus on wellness and safety and investing in the proper training, our team members will benefit professionally and personally. They will also make careers at Duncan Aviation and provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to our customers that they simply can’t find elsewhere.

So far, that belief has worked, evidenced by the fact that we have 245 people in our Silver Wings Club, which honors those who have dedicated 25 or more years to the company.

In order to provide top-notch service, we need to be up-to-date on all aircraft training. That technical training accounts for a large portion of our training budget. The rest is dedicated to training leaders, helping our team members move into new, more diversified roles and broaden their knowledge.

Besides the traditional technical and “soft skills” training, we have a subsidy program that reimburses team members for some of the expenses they occur when obtaining private pilot licenses and instrument ratings. After all, Duncan Aviation was founded with a passion for flight, and we want team members interested in flying to have the opportunity to do so.

When I reflect on the business we have built around our passion for aviation, I see proud team members, an immaculate facility and customers who love their experience so much that they refer friends and colleagues. That tells me we are doing the right thing. We will continue that tradition, because we are Duncan Aviation.

Duncan Debrief

The Fall 2014 Duncan Debrief is now available. In this issue, you can read more about how we invest in our facilities and our people to create an incredible customer experience.

The Duncan Debrief is a free. You can subscribe to receive a printed copy of the magazine or access the current and past editions online at www.DuncanAviation.aero/debrief.

Or if you are truly on-the-go, the Duncan Debrief is available on Apple’s Newsstand for the iPad.

Fall 2014 Debrief Download Now

Tags: Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

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