I visited Southeast Aerospace on a hot Florida day in July at their location on The Melbourne International Airport. Mirages floated above the tarmac. Massive and small planes ascended and descended over my head upon arrival. The sound of helicopters permeated the atmosphere as their blades chopped through the air to defy Earth’s regular downward pull. I felt like I was where the action was, and I would soon have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm with the staff.
Once I was welcomed into the lobby, I sat awaiting my host and witnessed employees strolling through with smiles on their faces and warm greetings to one another. There’s still a family-owned small business spirit in the quarters of SEA, 26 years since its inception.
During my tour of the facilities, Paul Siebert (Aircraft Production Manager) and Aprile Blair (Director of Marketing) led me outside from the Hangar to the fabrication shop and our gazes shifted from onward to upward as we set our sights on another plane breaking the bound of gravity. At this moment, I looked back down to my guides with a smile on my face to see that they were also sporting grins of admiration. It became obvious to me that they had never lost their recognition for the magic of flight. After a combined 40 years in the aerospace industry, their luster for airplanes refused to dull. I asked Mr. Siebert if my observation was truly the case and he confirmed my assumption along with informing me that the overwhelming majority of the staff all have a love for airplanes.
I then sat down to speak with Ms. Blair and Executive Vice President, Joe Braddock, after my tour who discussed one of the basic business philosophies the company has lived by for many years – keep it simple. That sounds trivial, but what he means is that many companies in aviation complicate normal everyday business even in a highly technical industry like this. Mr Braddock commented, “At the end of the day we are still just providing a product or service just like any other business and we will continue to grow as long as there are good people to bring in here. We are always looking for good people to add to the company.”
The Braddock family has grown SEA from the original idea of selling high-quality products and services with warranties. Decisions in the growth of the company have been consumer-centric; SEA aims to do their work so well that the customer doesn’t feel like they’re doing any work themselves. The company has taken a no-stones-unturned approach to do business the right way, which includes employing the right people and treating them well. SEA is not just the parts manufactured and sold; SEA is not just the repairs and machines used to do so. SEA is the employees behind the work and SEA is the company to keep people safe in the air.