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Fargo Jet Center: 2010 Business of the Year

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  Fargo Jet Center, Inc. loves bringing business to Fargo, whether its passengers or aircraft. According to Darren Hall, Vice President of Marketing, Fargo Jet Center is constantly looking for ways to bring people into the area. “As we began to build the business in Fargo, we reached out to bring in new aircraft,” Hall says. “We saw the opportunity and we built on it.”

Fargo Jet Center has grown quickly since it was started in 1995. President Jim Sweeney and CEO Pat Sweeney saw the need for a full service aviation company early on and worked hard to pursue that dream. Jim’s first meeting with the airport authority occurred in the fall of 1992. At that time, the airport authority was not planning to build an aviation service company for another 20 years. Jim and Pat convinced them to move the date up.

Fargo Jet Center began as an aviation service company offering customer service, fuel and charter service flights. At the time, they had approximately six employees. Today, Fargo Jet Center’s services include fueling, aircraft maintenance and repair, charter flights, aircraft sales, an Aero SPA™, upholstery shop, an air ambulance and a flight school. They currently employ upwards of 100 people and were recently named the 2010 ChamberChoice Business of the Year.

“We brought competition to the field,” Hall says. “We improved the level of service received.”

When the company began, they only had one pilot. Today, Fargo Jet Center operates a fleet of aircraft and sees approximately 30,000 passengers a year through their charter department. They also have a satellite customs office. “People who fly here know they can get things taken care of,” Jim says.

Fargo Jet Center has a unique customer base, ranging from families to business people to celebrities. “There’s an expectation of confidentiality with the people who come through our doors,” Jim says. “We treat everyone with respect and give them the privacy they expect when flying privately.”

Aside from chartering flights, Fargo Jet Center has built a reputation in the airport service department. They service all the aircraft that come into their facility and Municipal Airport Authority - Hector International Airport. They have also marketed Fargo as a technical stop for planes needing a place to refuel on their way to and from their destinations.

“We’re unique in that some businesses like ours may only do charter flights,” Jim says. “We have a lot of different services. We want to give people a reason to stop in Fargo.”

Recently, Fargo Jet Center expanded their sales division, Exclusive Aviation. They acquired a hangar and now operate a space at the downtown St. Paul airport where they broker, sell and acquire aircraft. “We’re very fortunate with the growth we’ve had,” Jim says.

And if all that wasn’t enough to keep them busy, they have an average of 75 students enrolled at the flight school which operates the newest technology available today. It’s all part of Fargo Jet Center’s desire to bring the aviation business to Fargo.

“We have a partnership with the airport authority and the Fargo Air Museum to not only promote Fargo as a destination, but also promote aviation in our community,” Jim says.

Halls says Chamber membership helps with this goal. “We’re somewhat limited in our business in that we’re tied to our location,” he says. “The Chamber provides us with the opportunity to really get into the community business wise. It’s really an avenue we see value in.”

Visit Fargo Jet Center's Virtual Expo booth!

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