Connecting Aerospace Interests

PNAA Announces Aerospace Industry Excellence Awards

PNAA - Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance

LYNNWOOD, WA – March 12, 2015 – Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, presented four aerospace industry excellence awards including Aerospace Company of the Year, Aerospace Executive of the Year, the Inspire Award, and one Chairman’s Awards during its 14th Annual Aerospace Conference in Lynnwood.

Inspire Award:
Mike Marzetta, MINDS-i Education, Spokane, WA

Award Marzetta web

PNAA’s Inspire Award honors through recognition, business leaders in our aerospace community who have shown exceptional creativity in working with schools to share the activities of manufacturing in an overall effort to cultivate interest and skills leading to aerospace careers.

PNAA Board Member Gaia Borgias Brown presented the Inspire Award to Mike Marzetta, creator of MINDS-i Robotics, an innovative robotics education curriculum geared toward middle and high school students.  MINDS-i has been capturing the imaginations of Spokane students and teachers and is rapidly spreading across the United States.

The program gives students an interactive approach to applied science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and is the first all-terrain robotics education program that empowers students to create almost anything they can imagine and make their creations do nearly anything they desire.  MINDS-i creations have included vehicles equipped with rocket launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles that students build, program and fly as well as search and rescue vehicles capable of navigating rugged outdoor terrain.

The curriculum is rocking the robotics education world with a high technology platform that is simple to use.  It has been implemented in nearly all Spokane area schools, as well as Walla Walla Community College, Yakima Skills Center, the Kent School District and is working its way throughout Texas and the East Coast.

The program prepares students with the skills they need to excel in the 21st century.  It inspires a rigorous college and career relevant experience through STEM Robotics in the everyday classroom in a formation that can impact each and every student.

According to PNAA’s Chief Operating Officer, “Mike Marzetta is inspiring students with his hands-on approach to robotics education.  He challenges students to use their imaginations to design, program and build robots that are capable of solving real world problems.  In addition, he hosts an annual robotics competition in Spokane that encourages students to show-off their skills in a fun yet collaborative forum.  His work is truly inspirational.”

Marzetta graduated with a degree in Business and a graduate degree in organizational development from the University of Minnesota. He is president of Spokane based Altek Inc. and is chairman of the Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium.

Aerospace Executive of the Year:
Mike Brown, General Manager Aero-Plastics


This award is presented annually to the aerospace executive that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Industry.

PNAA Board Member Tom Brosius presented the Executive of the Year Award to Mike Brown for his outstanding leadership of the Renton-based company Aero-Plastics.

Brown offers that the keys to his success stem back to Aero-Plastics’ core values.  Aero-Plastics truly believes and never forgets that dependability is the key to its existence.  Their attention to detail allows them to achieve a cost, quality and delivery level that has been honored by Boeing’s Performance Excellence Award for the 7th consecutive year and also as Boeing Supplier of the Year.

These high honors and repeat performances could not have occurred without excellence in leadership.  Brown has proven his ability to successfully lead and has a track record of improving the profitability of his companies.  While at Aero-Plastics, he achieved consistent double-digit revenue growth while increasing earning percentages.  He also designed and implemented key performance measures related to cost, quality, and delivery for all operational departments supporting the corporate balanced scorecard.

He is a charismatic and motivational leader who instills a positive, team-oriented work ethic in his employees.  His energy is contagious and his commitment to quality is second to none.

According to PNAA Chairman JC Hall, "Mike continues to successfully compete against the largest in our industry through leadership and attention to business basics. His guidance and ability continues to grow Aero-Plastics as an industry leader."

In 1945, Aero-Plastics was founded in a single car garage as Western Model Works.  In 1958 it was incorporated as Aero-Plastics and moved to a facility in Renton where continued its tradition of excellence as a provider of high quality products for aerospace, defense, medical and other commercial applications.

Aerospace Company of the Year:
Viking Air, Sidney, BC


This award is presented annually to the aerospace company located in the Pacific Northwest which exhibits exceptional organizational characteristics while continually maintaining a strong competitive posture, thus raising the industry standard for the Pacific Northwest

PNAA Vice Chairman Jim Sheehan presented the Aerospace Company of the Year Award to Canadian based Viking Air for its robust growth and entrepreneurial spirit.  According to PNAA’s Chairman JC Hall, “Viking exemplifies the kind of gutsy, Pacific Northwest aerospace company that starts relatively small, takes big risks to grow, and reaches out to the local aerospace community to be partners in their growth.”

Incorporated in 1970, Viking Air has grown into a world-class aerospace company operating from its 150,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters at Victoria International Airport, and an 85,000 sq. ft. aircraft assembly facility in Calgary.  Viking is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for the Twin Otter Series 400 utility aircraft.  In 2014, the company experienced its best year to date with the completion of 26 new-manufactured aircraft delivered to customers around the world.

Viking is not only a leader in its local community for export revenue, employment levels, and increasing the technical skillset in its resource base with training and long-term job opportunities, but it is also highly respected within the global aerospace industry for producing top-quality aircraft.  Viking has demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and innovation with the launch of the Twin Otter Series 400 production program, taking a proven Canadian design and incorporating modern technology to improve safety and performance.

Viking employs nearly 600 employees, with approximately 80% working in Victoria.

In 2014, Viking expanded its market reach into Japan and the United Kingdom bringing its total order book for the new Series 400 Twin Otter to 26 countries.  The company also expanded its sales team with a new Regional Sales Director for Africa, the Middle East & Asia (AMEA), and two new in-country sales representatives for North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

By year’s end, Viking’s annual sales revenue increased by nearly $85M, representing approximately 65% growth between 2013 and 2014. This growth in sales revenue was largely due to increases in efficiency, resulting in the delivery of eight additional aircraft in 2014, along with the ancillary parts and services. The increased efficiency was a direct result of integrating its Runway to Excellence (R2E) program, created to maximize output on a cellular / departmental level utilizing Kaizen and continuous improvement techniques.

In addition, Viking President & CEO, David Curtis worked closely with elected officials at municipal, provincial, and national levels to raise awareness of the importance of the Canadian Aerospace Industry, currently ranked 5th in the world based on GDP and contributing $28B annually to the Canadian economy.  This dedication was recognized in November 2014 when Mr. Curtis was named Chair of the Board for the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), the national organization promoting and facilitating Canadian competitiveness in the global aerospace industry.

PNAA Chairman’s Award:
Dr. James Raisbeck, Raisbeck Engineering

Dr. James Raisbeck

The Chairman’s Award is chosen by PNAA’s Chairman JC Hall to recognize individuals and companies that raise the industry standard of the Aerospace Industry in the Pacific Northwest.

PNAA Board Chairman JC Hall presented the Chairman’s Award to Dr. James Raisbeck for his longstanding support and dedication to the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Industry.  According to Hall, “As an engineer, a business leader and as a supporter of engineering and aerospace students in Washington and Indiana, Raisbeck’s accomplishments are extraordinary.”

He has been recognized by numerous organizations for his talents, and received over 15 industry achievement awards including: Purdue University’s Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award; AIAA’s Commercial Aviation Technical Achievement Award, Professional Pilot Magazine’s Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year, and Living Legends of Aviation’s Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award.

Raisbeck’s interest in aviation took flight in 1954 when he joined the Air Force as a flight engineer.  He went on to attend Purdue University in 1958 to study Aeronautical Engineering and Mathematics, and upon graduation went to work for The Boeing Company as a Research Aerodynamicist.  In late 1969, Raisbeck left Boeing to become President and Chief Engineer of Robertson Aircraft Corporation where he and a team of former Boeing Engineers completed the Robertson STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) designs and certifications for installation on single and twin engine Cessnas and Pipers.  Robertson Aircraft was sold in 1973, and Raisbeck founded Raisbeck Engineering and its subsidiary Raisbeck Commercial Air Group which has its offices adjacent to Boeing field, where it conducts its experimental and certification efforts.

PNAA’s Chairman JC Hall chose to recognize Raisbeck for PNAA’s Chairman’s Award “for his immeasurable contributions to our industry – not only for his technical accomplishments in engineering and innovation, but also for his principles and devotion to the future of aerospace.”

According to Raisbeck, his greatest personal accomplishment has been providing peers and young people alike an example of what can be accomplished by an otherwise ordinary engineer.

Raisbeck and his wife, Sherry, are founding members of Raisbeck Aviation High School, where his legacy of engineering excellence will continue to inspire for generations to come.

About PNAA:

Since 2001, Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance has been promoting the growth and success of the region's aerospace industry with dynamic events designed to inspire aerospace leaders, connect aerospace interests and educate policy makers. Today, with members throughout the northwest and around the globe, PNAA is dedicated to delivering the latest market intelligence to ensure our region's competitive edge.  Our unwavering commitment to sharing bold ideas, innovative technologies and leading edge processes has strengthened the industry and earned respect from the White House to the factory floor.  Our members represent every segment of the aerospace industry and are responsible for designing, manufacturing and supplying parts and services that launch rockets, fly planes, and even land on Mars!


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