It’s amazing how a shift in thinking about the way you do business can make a monumental difference. That’s the case for the Cottners, husband and wife Woody and Candace and their son Jerome, are the owners and operators of Global Aviation Technologies.

Woody, who had a great mind for engineering, was an in-demand tech in the aviation industry and like most budding entrepreneurs saw a need a responded to it. He kept hearing about an unmet need from airplane owners. They’d bought fairly expensive planes from the companies he worked for that were becoming older. The customers wanted some of the newer technologies but weren’t willing to invest in another multi-million-dollar plane to get them.

The aircraft companies, who were more interested in selling another plane, refused to do the work.

Woody started part-time producing the engineering designs that were required for customers to make the upgrades to their planes. He rented a small office, so the next time the proverbial layoff came around. He walked out the door and into his business full time.

For years, the couple operated a small but successful business handling the engineering work customers needed for their upgrades. Candace joined the company handling the business operations.

Then, once again, Woody made a shift in response to their customers’ requests, which grew them from a small engineering firm to and manufacturing and maintenance company with two hangers at Wichita’s Municipal Airport.

What was it the customers wanted? “They wanted a one-stop-shop,” said Woody.

Instead of taking his engineering designs somewhere else to get them installed, people wanted him to install them. These same customers also needed repairs, maintenance and required periodic overhauls on their planes. When the plane was down for a retrofit, they asked, couldn’t they get everything taken care of at once?

It wasn’t necessarily an ah-ha moment. Woody, knew it was a great idea, but major expansions of that level they would require a major capital investment.

We can tell you, they put their heads down, prepared their financials and went shopping for capital.

With their expansion, the Cottners also added a manufacturing facility. Those parts Woody and his team of engineers were designing, not their crew manufacture them for retail.

In addition to their son Jerome who helps runs the business, the Cottners now employ a staff of about 30. A close and religious family, they give credit to God for their blessings but keep working hard so he(she) knows they’re open and ready to receive them.

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...