Connecting Aerospace Interests

Executive of the Year Award: Tim Komberec | Empire Airlines

 PNAA’s Executive of the Year Award is presented to an executive of an aerospace company located within the Pacific Northwest who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Pacific Norwest Aerospace Industry.  PNAA’s Board of Directors awarded Tim Komberec the 2017 Chairman’s Award for his outstanding leadership of Empire Airlines.


Tim Komberec 1For the last 18 years, Tim Komberec has been building an empire – literally.

As president and CEO of Empire Airlines, Empire Aerospace and Empire Unmanned, Komberec has been an instrumental leader, transforming the Idaho-based company into a nimble airline known for its “We can do that” attitude.  The company, with just 350 employees, does just about everything.  They build and fix planes, train and educate flight crews and mechanics, serve major air cargo companies, help airline startup companies get off the ground, and provide unmanned flight surveillance.

They have a passion for aviation and a reputation for safety, reliability, and excellence. Their integrity guarantees high-quality, legal, certified service, and Komberec’s leadership fosters responsibility, dependability, and creative problem solving.

“PNAA is excited to present Tim Komberec the Executive of the Year Award,” said PNAA’s Chairman Ted Croft.  “His leadership has taken the company to incredible heights and has launched ventures to carry them through the future.”


Tim Komberec2Komberec’s career has been exclusively dedicated to aviation since 1971.  He has certificated several airlines, flown thousands of hours as an airline pilot, check airman and instructor and managed airline fleets from small turbo props to large jet aircraft.  Tim was the Director of Operations for Empire Airlines in the early 1990s and was eager to return as the President and CEO of Empire Airlines in March of 2000.

Under Komberec’s leadership in 2004, Empire Airlines built a 50,000+ square foot facility at the Coeur d'Alene Airport for Empire Aerospace.  This modern maintenance facility with back shops provides state-of-the art heavy maintenance and modifications for large turbo-prop and regional jets.

Empire’s We Can Do That attitude helped the company to become UAS and UAV experts.  Empire Unmanned, LLC was the 8th company to receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA to operate commercial unmanned aircraft.  The business has been rapidly growing and advancing the commercial use of unmanned aerial systems usage in agriculture, mining, forestry, civil engineering, structural inspection and wildfire damage analysis to name a few.  They have been heavily involved in research projects with several universities and colleges involving advancing the use of UAS platforms.

Komberec currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Regional Airline Association, the Jobs Plus Board, the Coeur d’Alene Airport Advisory Board and is a board member and past President of the North Idaho College Foundation. He is currently the Chairman of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association and past Chairman of the Idaho Workforce Development Council.  Tim and his wife Linda reside in Athol, Idaho.

Learn More about Empire Aerospace, Empire Airlines and Empire Unmanned


Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance

Mail Stop: 16625 Redmond Way, Ste M #187,
Redmond, WA 98052

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Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance is a non-profit organization that promotes the growth and global competitiveness of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Cluster. Please consider donating to our scholarship fund.