Much-Lauded 11-Year Effort Comes To An End
Following the story that first broke on ANN, involving the sale of Glasair Aviation to a Chinese entity, Mikael Via, President and CEO of Glasair Aviation, announced his resignation from the Washington based general aircraft company that he has led for over 11 years.
In 2001, Thomas Wathen purchased the Glasair assets out of bankruptcy and immediately brought Mikael Via in to rebuild the company for its customers and employees. At that time, the company had been out of business for over a year, there were no employees, and customers were without parts, service or support.
Under Via's leadership, Glasair Aviation built a new team of employees, acquired the Glastar line of aircraft, brought composites production in-house, consolidated operations, designed and developed the highly successful Sportsman aircraft, introduced the revolutionary "Two Weeks To Taxi" program, and strengthened Glasair's position as a leader in the aviation industry.
Last year, Mr. Wathen, then 82, decided it was time to sell Glasair and asked Via to begin the process of discretely marketing the company for sale. Two weeks ago, Chinese industrialist Fang Tieji, chairman of Jilin Hanxing Group, purchased Glasair Aviation, stating his intentions to certify the Sportsman line of aircraft and acquire additional aviation companies. Via referred questions about the future of Glasair Aviation to Mr. Fang.
One of the most notable concepts developed by Via during his tenure at Glasair is the unique 'Two Weeks To Taxi' program. An industry first, the program combines lean manufacturing processes with educational and recreational builder assistance, significantly accelerating build time without violating the spirit or intent of the "51% rule." Pilots are immersed in a very organized, systematic course that takes them through a step-by-step building program that ends with their airplane taxiing from the hangar in an incredibly short period of time. Although the program was initially controversial, it has been highly successful, keeping Glasair in a strong market position throughout the economic downturn.
"It's time," said Via, "Since Tom Wathen and I came together in 2001, we accomplished a lot for our employees and customers, and we feel we have contributed to the industry as well. Our mission for Glasair has been successfully completed and it is now time to move on to other challenges."
A licensed private pilot with a lifelong passion for aviation, Via has a law degree from Pepperdine School of Law.