FBO company turns its attention to maintenance Houston-based Encore FBO has focused a good deal of time and attention on the maintenance element of its business. “We want to provide total support for our business aviation customers,” CEO Dan Bucaro told AIN. The company currently offers maintenance at its Frederick, Md., and Sioux Falls, S.D. facilities, and it has plans to expand.
Bucaro points out his management team takes an approach somewhat different from that of many operators. “We wouldn’t just buy an MRO to expand our business; we believe in integration,” he said. “We don’t feel we have to be the biggest operator or have the most locations. Our goal is to provide consistent safety and service regardless of which of our facilities a customer visits.”
Bucaro held various management positions with Goodyear for 12 years, including four years working offshore. He was recruited by Hi/Lo Auto Supply in Houston, where he was responsible for sales, marketing and distribution because of his distribution and multi-unit experience. Hi/Lo was adding stores and needed someone with oversight experience of multiple operations.
“I met a lot of people here in Houston while working for Hi/Lo and eventually Trajen called me. They were a multi-unit FBO operation with eleven locations and plans for expansion. I took the position of CEO three-and-a-half years ago, and we expanded from eleven to twenty-three domestic locations by the time it was purchased by Atlantic Aviation in July 2006,” Bucaro said.
After the Trajen sale, Bucaro said, he and his management team talked about other opportunities and were mutually interested in an FBO group with international holdings.
“We thought Trajen was a fine company with great people. We just agreed there is a future in both domestic and international development so we contacted Platform Partners, an equity partner who agreed with our philosophy,” he said. Bucaro said Platform Partners has sufficient capital to take the long-term view.
“We started Encore FBO in September 2006 with no revenue or physical location. We were able to open a brand-new facility in Addison, Texas, which would have been tough to do with a capital partner concerned about short-term liquidity,” he said. “Addison was followed closely by Business Aviation Service in Sioux Falls that November and shortly thereafter by Paris, our first international acquisition.”
In one year Encore has acquired seven locations worldwide, rounded out with Frederick, Md.; Laughlin, Nev.; Dublin, Ireland; and Nice, France. The company has another three, as-yet-unidentified locations scheduled to open by year-end.
“We feel we should be a global business because aviation is a global business. We began with European additions because we had some opportunities open to us there, but we’re exploring options in Asia and other parts of the world,” he said.
Encore-Sioux Falls (formerly Business Aviation Services) offers a wide range of maintenance services, including airframe and engine repair, instrument, autopilot and avionics installation and repair.
The 28,000-sq-ft maintenance facility is staffed by more than 20 technicians. The operation specializes in Zephyr air-conditioning installation for Citations and Cessna piston aircraft, interior refurbishment, detailing services and heavy sheet-metal repair. The facility is also a service center for single-engine Cessna and Cirrus aircraft, and the company has extensive experience with the King Air series, Shorts, Fairchild Metros, Citation 500 and 650 series, and Falcon 10/20s.
The Sioux Falls facility has the following repair station ratings: airframe Class 1 and 3–composite and all-metal construction repair, and radio class 1, 2 and 3–communications, navigational and radar equipment repair. The 1,200-sq-ft avionics shop offers bench repair capability and complete panel refurbishments.
The Frederick, Md. operation (formerly Frederick Aviation) has been providing FBO services for 36 years and offers maintenance, charter, aircraft management
and aircraft sales services. The 4,200-sq-ft facility has 18 employees dedicated to maintenance.
Repair station and avionics ratings at Frederick include: airframe Class 1–composite construction of small aircraft; airframe, Class 3–all-metal construction of small aircraft; radio Class 1–communications equipment; and radio Class 2–navigational equipment.
In addition, the facility has limited ratings in airframe (Learjet, Raytheon and Cessna), powerplant (Pratt & Whitney), radio, transponder (all models), instruments and altimeter (all models). It specializes in composite and sheet-metal repair and acts as a service center for single-engine Cessna, Cirrus, Adam and Columbia aircraft.
“Customer service and operational safety will always be Encore’s highest priorities,” Bucaro said. “Every team member understands that the safety of customer aircraft can never be compromised. The company’s training program uses NATA’s Safety 1st as a cornerstone, and each team member is required to complete additional proprietary training in both line and customer service segments of the business.” To that end, the company has a safety and training officer.
“The consistency of our services and the familiar layout of facilities throughout our network provide an important sense of identification that ensures a long-term relationship with our customers,” Bucaro said. “But along with the common feel at each of our FBOs, we have been successful at integrating the local flavor and individualized service that customers have come to know at the various locations we bring into our network. From each guest’s arrival to departure, Encore ensures that the experience is one to remember.”