Winner Aviation: A Leader in Customer Service, Teamwork, & Innovation
Throughout its 74-year history, Winner Aviation has stood out as a company with exceptional leadership. Winner’s team has successfully navigated over 7 decades of innovation, changing market conditions, and a continuously-evolving industry. The secret to Winner’s success can be found in the key tenets consistently held at the company’s core:
Passion for Aviation & Outstanding Customer Service
Winner Aviation was originally founded as Beckett Aviation back in 1946. A local Youngstown gas station owner, Forest Beckett, decided to make a move into aviation. He had two main reasons motivating that decision.
Firstly, he had developed a passion for aviation when a friend of his offered him flying lessons. Many people involved in aviation recall the moment when they realize that aviation is special to them, and more than just a hobby. For Beckett, that was the day of his first flying lesson.
His second motivation was an opportunity – the newly opened Youngstown Airport didn’t yet have a fueling station. This timely opening was one Beckett knew he could fill with his experience, work ethic, and newfound passion. And so, at the crossroads of passion and opportunity, Beckett Aviation was founded to provide FBO and MRO services through Youngstown Airport.
Since then, our passion for aviation has not diminished, and our passion for customer service has only grown.
Though our company did not take the name Winner Aviation until 1995, many of our Maintenance Technicians have been with the company much longer than that. Our techs have, on average, over 23 years of experience. Our longest-serving Tech has even been with us for over 5 decades!
All of Winner’s Maintenance Techs have a lifelong love for aviation, and that translates to getting things done right the first time, and our unique ability to provide full transparency to our clients, with no surprise bills. Ever. (Learn more about our Maintenance Services.)
The team’s experience & expertise is only surpassed by their enthusiasm for providing the highest level of customer service. Many of our current customers tell us that they keep coming back to us year after year primarily because of our excellent Maintenance Staff and the superior customer service they provide. (See our testimonials page for more on what our clients think of us.)
As just one example, the Team has a secret checklist of things they look for on every plane before it leaves the shop to provide additional services on us! The list includes changing flashlight batteries, arranging our customers’ car, flight, & hotel, making sure all items are back exactly where they started, and providing chocolate chip cookies to every client who walks through the door.
Devoted Team Members Form the “Winner Family”
The company’s current owner, Rick Hale, acquired all shares to Winner in 2008. As fate would have it, he actually started working for the company back in 1979, when it was still Beckett Aviation. In 1995, Hale and Jim Winner organized the purchase of the company’s MRO and FBO at Youngstown Airport. Hale has been heavily involved in the business ever since. He has close and heart-felt ties to many of our team who have been with us for decades.
Winner’s leaders know our team members are our family. As such, we try to foster all of the elements that make a happy family: open, honest communication, full transparency, teamwork, relationship-building, and fun. (Meet our Leadership Team.)
Today, Winner’s President, Meg Bianco, continues our tradition of developing the sense of teamwork and family that helps our employees feel appreciated and satisfied in their work. We have found this leads to a higher quality of service and better results for everyone up and down the value chain.
Innovative Leadership with Strong Business Acumen
Our original founder, Forest Beckett, first demonstrated his savvy in the aviation market when he provided fuel at Youngstown Airport at a critical moment – but he wasn’t done there. In the 1950s, Mr. Beckett invented the earliest form of fractional aircraft ownership. NetJets, today’s largest fractional jet program, uses a system based on Beckett’s to this day.
Beckett was the first to realize that some people may need more access to an airplane than what rentals or charters could provide. But often these same people did not want the hassle of owning an airplane full-time. By recognizing and fulfilling this middle ground market demand, Beckett spawned an entirely new part of the aviation industry.
Another opportunity arose in 2006 and Jim Winner & Rick Hale jumped on it. They learned that Allegiant Airlines decided to begin a route to Youngstown Airport. When they put out their Request for Proposal to collect bids for a Ground Handling Service, Winner leapt at the chance to use their advantageous location (inside Youngstown Airport) to expand the business.
We put in our bid, and won! Today, our Ground Handling division has grown to multiple airports across the US. (Learn more about our Ground Handling Services.)
Winner’s current leadership plans to continue this trend of innovation into the future – we are a dynamic and agile team who want to expand and adapt to fit the ever-changing needs of the aviation industry.
We hope that you will come experience Winner’s passion for aviation, customer service, team-building, and providing cutting-edge services in the near future.
Forest Beckett founded Youngstown Airways, later Beckett Aviation
Mr. Beckett invented fractional ownership of aircraft
MRO maintained ~55 fractionally owned aircraft
Beckett Aviation grew to 8 FBO locations
Current owner, Rick Hale, worked at Beckett while in college
CSX bought Beckett for their transportation portfolio
Aero Systems bought Beckett’s FBOs for a total of 18
Jim Winner bought the FBO & MRO at YNG
Named Rick Hale CEO