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AADA AirResource PicAirResource Group is celebrating their 10-year anniversary this year, but founders Carl Finch and Cheri McKelvey are not strangers to the aerospace industry. Cheri had sold aircraft for 7 years prior, and Carl had been flying, buying, and selling aircraft since the 1980’s. The aerospace industry is challenging, and it has been said that those who work in it do so from a love of aviation. It was that mutual excitement and passion for flight as well as the ability to offer a comprehensive list of services that led to the founding of AirResource Group. Since 2007, the company has added a maintenance facility in Springdale and Little Rock, nationwide charter services, aviation insurance, and consulting services.

This wide breadth of offerings allows AirResource Group to truly be a one-stop shop for its clients for everything from purchasing or selling aircraft, to flight operations, management, charter services, maintenance, and insurance.  Their goal? To simplify the experience of owning an aircraft, and to make what is truly a very complex operation appear- for their clients- to be seamless.  Carl points out that the regulations of different agencies; for example the requirements for insurance, requirements of the FAA,  and those of the IRS, don’t always coincide with each other. Carl notes that coordinating between all three to ensure the client is protected appropriately can be “like tuning a 12 string guitar, everything has to be in balance with each other.” Fortunately, AirResource Group has the experience to navigate these turbulent skies.

Clearly, the ability to coordinate all the moving pieces of aircraft ownership is paying off for AirResource Group, as they are continuing to grow steadily. Their client base is a diverse mix of pilots and non-pilots, experienced buyers and sellers, as well as first timers. And the majority of new clients come from the referrals of current ones.  Cheri notes that previous and current clients, because of the value that AirResource Group is able to bring to the process, provide their best marketing.

According to Carl and Cheri, being involved with the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance (AADA) has been a great benefit to their company, and to the aerospace industry in Arkansas as a whole, from the beginning. Carl notes that Arkansas started with a strong base of aviation companies but that there was no organizing force to bring them together and provide a singular voice, which the AADA has done. The annual Summit provides a place to build relationships and trust among companies. Additionally, the AADA has helped tremendously with legislative initiatives. The competition among states for aviation business is intense and the AADA has been able to make some legislative changes that have freed up Arkansas to be equally competitive with any other state.

Carl goes on to note that “One of the most valuable things in aviation is peer to peer recommendations” which involvement in the AADA has created greater opportunity for.  One example of how AirResource Group has benefited from the relationships developed through the AADA is their business relationship with Afterglow in Springdale, and the ability to capitalize on their services and proximity so close to AirResource Group’s maintenance site in Northwest Arkansas.

The future looks bright for AirResource Group. They currently have 15 employees and are looking to increase their workforce by 30% very quickly.  They are confident that the growth the company is experiencing will continue, and that Arkansas; with the AADA’s help, has a promising future for the aviation industry.