Denny Funnemark, co-owner of Revolution Aviation Incorporated, loved the airplane he flew for business trips so much that he decided to buy the company that made it.
"I was traveling so much in my job as a field service technician for a manufacturing equipment company that I decided it was time to buy my own airplane," Funnemark said. "I purchased the kit to build a small two-seat cruiser called the Tango 2 which worked out great as a business travel tool. When the original company that made the Tango 2 kit fell on hard times, some other builders and I purchased the company."
The partners saved the company, which now makes additional kits as well as custom planes. "We manufacture kits for people to build their own airplane and we provide assistance to builders who want to build part of or all of the plane here at the center," Funnemark explained. "We allow more flexibility in building the airplane than some other kit manufacturers do. Some kits require you to stick very close to what the kit specifies. We allow a little moredesign flexibility in designing your installation such as instrument panels, seats and engine choices and we assist with that."
The partners were passionate about the business and aviation but taking over a failing company was difficult. "In the beginning, it was tough," Funnemark said. "We were disappointed that sales didn't take off as anticipated. We were surprised that it took more marketing than anticipated. You have to devote resources to product development and marketing and finding the right balance has always been problematic."
Funnemark's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is that the secret is no secret. "Working 80 hours a week is the secret to small business success," he said. "You have to really be dedicated and believe in it and put in whatever work it takes to keep the doors open. There's no secret to that. Always be conducting R&D to make things better. Don’t settle for we've always done it this way. Not invented here and we've always done it this way have always been problems for any business."