In July of 2021, Pro Star became an Embraer authorized service center. Since then, we have served as the main OEM approved maintenance facility in the Northeast U.S. As the two-year anniversary as an Embraer service center rapidly approaches, I sat down with general manager, Sean Peterson, to see where we stand as we mark this milestone.
As someone who worked at the Bradley service center as the General Manager, Sean has a strong gauge of how the current volume of Embraer aircraft maintained under Pro Star compares to the OEM owned service center at Bradley. When asked specifically about Phenom models, Sean disclosed that “it’s marginally lower than the volume at Bradley” due to their work on “fleet operators such as NetJets and Flexjets”. Taking these out of the equation to strictly analyze the volume of independent Phenom operators, Sean relayed that Pro Star is reaching a comparable level to the previous Northeast service center. With the number of Phenom opportunities increasing, I asked Sean about the lower numbers of Praetors at the service center. He explained that, as of now, in contrast to other Embraer models, there are “not all that many Praetors operating in the Northeast.”
When it comes to the Northeast territory, it is important to define where exactly we are talking about. As an Embraer service center, the question becomes: how far does this territory spread? How far away are customers willing to fly before they consider a different service center? Sean provided me with insight into our regional limits. “We’re actively talking with customers all the way out towards Western PA…Right now I know owner/operators are very interested in coming up here” from these areas. Additionally, with the knowledge of other MRO Service Centers are scaling back retail business, Sean now sees Ohio as a potential border for the service center: “I think Ohio could be a territory that we could pull from.”
While defining the limits of our reach is crucial, what truly lies at the heart of any successful service center is the connection between customer and staff. To Sean, something that separates our service center from others in our field is the sense of service we provide. “We have a very customer friendly environment where we want them to talk with our technicians. We want them to participate in discussions about the maintenance and installations on their airplanes,” he told me. “We really strive for the relationship, and we are going to invest time in helping customers achieve that next step, whatever it is…we talk and walk them through all of that very carefully.”
Something else that separates us from other service centers is Sean himself. His experience as a General Manager at both an Embraer owned facility and Pro Star has offered him a unique outlook on services we provide. “There is that connection to Embraer. We understand the dynamics, culture and internal workings of the OEM. We also have valuable contacts and relationships with folks at Embraer, which help to keep things flowing when normal channels of communication are not enough.” Sean’s position at Embraer has offered great insight and advantages for our service center. His management experience offers us expertise that allows Pro Star to stand above some of the other Service Centers. It’s because of this that we have been able to succeed as an Embraer approved service center.
All in all, 2022 was a busy year for the service center. As Sean laid out to me, 2022 marked “our first full year of working the Embraers.” In this short span of time, however, we have seen a lot of growth stemming from Embraer work specifically. Our Embraer service went from virtually no activity in 2021 to the second highest maintenance revenue generator in 2022. It is now second, only to Pilatus, a manufacturer we have been servicing for over a decade now. This rapid growth is greatly encouraging, and while it isn’t expected to double by the end of 2023, Sean is encouraged that we will see “some incremental steps” over time. It may only be 21 months since our authorization, but our momentum has grown as an Embraer service provider and will expand for years to come.