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SKATE TO THE PUCK’S PATH


Part of that customer service is determining what customers will need in the future. “What we’re selling and servicing today is not what we’re going to be doing tomorrow. We focus on what platforms will be coming out of warranty and how we can service those in the future.” That sounds like a strategic insight Steve Jobs gave: “Skate to where the puck will be.” Mast may have indeed gleaned that wisdom from Jobs, as he is a “voracious reader” of The Wall Street Journal. He also stays abreast of aviation industry happenings by reading “all the trade publications online.” (We classily refrained in the interview from promoting RotorcraftPro. com, until now.) Still, it’s not all business news for the CEO. He decompresses with bestselling fiction from David Baldacci.


and discipline myself to focus on overall growth strategies. If you come up with a plan and only enact 80 percent of it, you’re moving forward. At year-end, you see direct results from enacting those plans.” Mast says the best money he ever spent was for an advisory board after PAG’s first acquisition. “It forced us to formally plan so I didn’t look like a fool in front of them,” he admits.


Not only does Mast not play the fool, he refrains from hiring them. “One of the key components of our success has been building a great team of people,” he emphasizes. What does he look for in an employee? “We look for a good roll-your-sleeves-up work ethic. Some in the younger generation want to be manager in 60 days without proving themselves. Our company culture is a pay- for-performance culture and we like to promote from within. We look for people who are eager to please, ethical, and understand the business.”


SEEING AND SEIZING So, on what future is Mast planning to unleash PAG’s talented team?


Mast needs to decompress, for his days are compacted full. “I get up at either 5:37 or 6:07. Those are my two alarm times. I have a home gym and exercise with a workout buddy from college. We’ve worked out together for 27 years: CrossFit, circuit training, biking. After exercise, I get into the office and usually leave late (I work better later in the day) and have dinner with the family or eat off the stovetop.” Whew!


BEST BUSINESS ADVICE


Such activity makes it challenging for Mast to enact the best business advice he believes he received in his entrepreneurial career: “Spend as much time, if not more, thinking about the business as much as working in the business. That means you must strategize and develop a plan to grow a business,” he says. “It was hard for me to pull away from the day-to-day weeds


When asked what he sees as the greatest challenge and opportunity for his industry, Mast starts his answer with a curious comment. “This is going to sound odd, but I think the greatest challenge and opportunity are both the same. The natural resources market, specifically oil & gas, is extremely challenged right now. A lot of the operators are right-sizing their organizations; a lot of aircraft are parked, flight hours are down. It has especially affected our Lafayette and Brisbane operations. We are looking for creative ways to partner with affected operators to lower their MRO service and component costs. I think we’ve been successful over the last year and a half at doing that. It’s a challenged market, but we look at it as our greatest opportunity. We’ve been very proactive in approaching operators to lower their annual external spend.”


It may be “a challenged market,” but Mast and PAG have proven they’re ready for hard challenges. He concludes, “Everybody thinks seeing and seizing an opportunity is easy, until you do it for real and take a risk.”


That’s when flexibility gets ramblin’ fun and takes a ‘helluva’ precision planner.


14


Sep/Oct 2017


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