On Monday, July 17, Mike Rasch is retiring after a long stint as general manager of Atlantic Aviation’s base at Friedman Memorial Airport. Even after 30 years of service, Mike was kind enough to stick around through the most recent Allen & Company event, which brought in more than 80 private jets.
Mike started at SUN in 1987 with Sun Valley Aviation, and he stayed on when Atlantic Aviation purchased Sun Valley Aviation in 2008. He was originally hired as an accountant, and his first tasks were to do the books and install a new computer system. Mike’s responsibilities grew over time, and in the mid-1990s he took over operations as Sun Valley Aviation’s (Atlantic Aviation’s) general manager. Over the years, Mike has seen many things change at the airport, whether it be his own job responsibilities, FMA’s future growth plans, or Atlantic Aviation’s location at the airport.
We recently caught up with Mike to learn more about his day-to-day duties and the things he’s been involved with during the past few years. Essentially, he said each day looks different … from ensuring that the company achieves its financial goals to overseeing the safety of Atlantic’s operations at FMA. For the past four years, Mike has been heavily involved in the completion of the much-needed new hangar space. According to Mike, the completion of the new hangar will allow for the servicing of small aircraft and large transient aircraft, as well.
One of the biggest changes Mike witnessed during his tenure was the FBO’s 2005 relocation from the northeast corner of the airport to its current location. At the time of the relocation, all hangars were replaced. The 2005 move was part of the airport’s master plan to allow for growth in their services. Equally gratifying for Mike were the quality products that came along with the move. Atlantic Aviation’s facilities are immaculate and reflect a significant upgrade for the entire airport.
Another highly rewarding experience for Mike has been watching his employees embrace their roles and excel as leaders. There are many employees who have worked at SUN for more than 20 years—a length of service extremely rare in the aviation industry. For example, Brian Blackburn (who will replace Mike as general manager) already has 20 years of experience at SUN. Brian’s background, however, is less administrative and more operational than Mike’s—if a plane needs to be towed, Brian can do it himself! Mike is confident that Brian will continue to work to improve the airport and make it an even better resource for the community.
During his time with Atlantic Aviation, Mike has had many opportunities to interact with FMA’s airport operations staff. He has thoroughly enjoyed the partnership with Chris Pomeroy and his entire team. In his work with the Airport Authority, Mike has attended more meetings (over 300, he estimates) than many members of the FMAA board. If he was unable to attend a meeting himself, he made sure that someone from the Atlantic Aviation team was there in his place. For Mike, it has always been important to support the airport’s vision and help realize its short and long-term goals.
Thank you for all that you’ve done at the airport, Mike!