Life is about making decisions. For Alvin Gregorash, when faced with the decision to mortgage the future, he and wife Shirley decided to do exactly that.
It began in 1988 when Standard Aero, a Winnipeg-based aeronautics leader informed its employees that it would close its piston engine division permanently. The company decided to focus on the turbine engine, leaving the piston market relatively un-serviced. While some saw the change as an indication that the piston market was fading in favour of the more profitable turbine market, Alvin saw it differently. A long time employee of Standard Aero and recently turned independent parts broker, Alvin knew there was plenty of room for growth. “I spent a lot of time in the trenches making deals with Standard and later on my own. There was a lot going on. It was an exciting time.”
When Standard Aero employees were unable to raise the capital required to move the business forward, Alvin decided to risk it all. “When Standard Aero’s President asked how I would finance the venture, I told him that I would mortgage the house, the wife and kids. That’s all he wanted to hear.”
There was risk all around the new venture, a select group of highly skilled employees choosing to join Alvin instead of accepting a different job at Standard. The group saw Alvin’s vision as one that would make real difference in the piston market, and not unlike Alvin, their belief was strong enough to make a change. “I knew it was worth it, so did the guys,” Alvin said. “I also knew that if we were going to be successful, we were going to have to establish our own identity in the piston engine market as a company that delivers quality and service.”
Operating under a new brand, Aero Recip, Alvin and his team earned the opportunity to prove themselves with a small group of customers. Hard work, skilled attention to detail, and timely delivery of results enabled the company to grow past tough times into a thriving business.
Alvin’s wheeling and dealing didn’t stop there, expanding throughout the 90’s beyond the company’s exclusive focus on engines. In 1993, he invested in Ultimate Oil Coolers, a specialty overhaul service that operates out of the Winnipeg plant in 1,400 square feet of space.
After recognizing an increase in customer demand for aviation related products and services, Alvin guided the company into the aviation parts business, mobile heater business, and the experimental aircraft sector. In the early nineties, Alvin also took Aero Recip into Alaska, bringing the company’s family based approach into a market that still grows today.
Making the right decision at the right time as it relates to the company’s future has always been Alvin’s trademark, a decision he now shares with daughter Tracey at his side. After investing in the family name to reflect the company’s diverse offering, Alvin and Tracey chose to go back to the foundation that built the company in the first place: Aero Recip.
Recent growth in the demand for engine overhauls has required a greater focus than ever on piston engines and accessories, engine parts, and oil coolers. The Aero Recip brand inspires a renewed commitment to the service, quality and respect it represents, and the loyalty to piston engine aircraft that drove Aero Recip to the success it is today.
After beginning as an upstart operation in 1988, the Gregorash family name sets the stage for a return to the Aero Recip brand.
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