Serving big sky country and beyond
According to the Small Business Association, approximately half of new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. This year, Holman Aviation is celebrating a diamond anniversary - its 65th year in business. It's no small feat for a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) practically as old as the airport it resides, Great Falls International Airport (GTF).
Dwight Holman has served as president of Holman Aviation since 1992. He succeeded his father, Homer Holman, who founded the FBO in 1950.
"You know the story of a grocery store CEO who starts out as a bagger? Well that's kind of my story," said Holman. "I've been around this FBO for pretty much my entire life. When I first started working I was the janitor, cleaning up at the maintenance shop and making sure our restrooms were tidy. As I got older, I was out on the flight line pumping fuel."
Holman has noticed a shift in fuel purchases over the last number of years. Many customers have moved toward using contract fuel programs, like Phillips 66's Partners-Into-Plane a program that allows pilots to fuel up their plane and get back into the air fast. Corporate fliers fueling up at Holman Aviation can also use their WingPoints® card, the Phillips 66 Aviation program that rewards customers for aviation fuel purchases at participating FBOs, with points that are immediately redeemable online for gift or debit cards.
While Holman is no longer manning the fuel pump, he still gets his hands dirty while managing the operations of the facility, with a great understanding of each and every job from the bottom up. The Phillips 66-branded FBO serves commercial, corporate, private and military aviation, primarily focusing on flight line operations. Fueling, aircraft maintenance and deicing (especially during this time of year) keep the staff of 24 busy around the clock.
On a mission to serve U.S. Customs and the U.S. Military
Great Falls International Airport is a U.S. Customs International Port of Entry, meaning that aircraft traveling from countries other than Canada can enter the U.S. through Great Falls. With a main runway measuring more than 10,500 feet in length, the Montana FBO can easily handle large aircraft landings and service flights originating from Europe, or diverted flights from Calgary and the west coast, that land at Holman Aviation to fill up their tanks with Phillips 66 fuel, and continue on to their final destination in an efficient manner. In fact, quick turns are Holman Aviation's specialty.
In addition to handling international travelers, the FBO services the needs of Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of just a few U.S. nuclear missile bases that remain. The base closed its runway in 1996.
"It's rewarding to support the air force base whether we're greeting top-brass VIP Generals, Pentagon employees, or carrier flights," said Holman.
Not only does the FBO serve a wide-range of military ranking travelers, it also services a wide-range of aircraft from the F-22 Raptor, a single-seat, twin-engine, all weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed specifically for the U.S. Air Force, to aircraft that transports the munitions, or ammunition, for Malmstrom. The need for handling these military aircraft with military-precise safety procedures goes without saying.
"We focus on service and safety for our day-to-day operation," said Holman. "That culture really exists very strongly with all of our employees to provide huge customer service and a huge safety culture with all that we do."
With on-the-job experience coupled with a professionally trained staff, Holman's team includes flight line personnel who are NATA Safety 1st trained and certified. The FBO takes advantage of special subsidized rates for online safety courses offered by Phillips 66 for all branded FBOs.
For more information about Holman Aviation, visit www.holmanaviation.com