and employee. Today, Guidance Aviation is recognized as a leading collegiate helicopter flight training academy with a fleet of seventeen aircraft, fifty employees, and hundreds of graduates now working in the aviation industry. Twenty-four of the Guidance employees are U.S. military veterans.
May 16, 2013, Scottsdale, AZ. – John Stonecipher, President, CEO of Guidance Aviation, accepted the Arizona Small Business Administration’s Person of The Year Award from District Director, Robert Blancy, during the SBA’s 20th Annual Enterprise Business Awards at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Established in 1998, Stonecipher started Guidance with one helicopter and himself as the sole instructor pilot
Selection of The Person of The Year by the Arizona Small Business Administration is based upon the following criteria: (1) Staying power, (2) Growth in number of employees, (3) Increase in sales, (4) Current and past financial performance, (5) Innovativeness of product or service offered, (6) Response to adversity, and (7) Evidence of contributions.
“Our success is a result of the great people that work at Guidance. These people are simply the best of the best,” stated Stonecipher.
Stonecipher’s experience is formidable. With nearly 9,000 accident free hours of pilot in command time, he is rated in both helicopters and airplanes and has served the aviation community as a Designated Pilot Examiner for more than 7 years. Throughout a career committed to education and aviation, he has maintained his Flight Instructor Certificate and has held aviation positions as Director of Operations, Chief Pilot, Chief and Asst. Chief Instructor, and Check Airman for both (Part 141) and FAA approved pilot schools and (Part 135) unscheduled air carriers. Additionally, Stonecipher is a founding member and currently serve’s on Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) Flight Training Committee while also holding the distinction of Adjunct Professor at Yavapai Community College for the Associate of Applied Science – Professional Helicopter Pilot Degree.
Contributions given to the community by Stonecipher and his organization showed strongly in the SBA criteria with $494,400 in donations made over the past five years. Stonecipher and Guidance Aviation have been working with Fred Kennedy, a senior business advisor with the Yavapai College Small Business Development Center (YC SBDC) for the past 21 years. Mr. Kennedy said, “It is always a pleasure and a privilege to work with small businesses…with their prosperity come new jobs, more profitability, additions in revenue to local, county, and state municipalities, and real success, providing the capital needed to maintain schools, roads, fire and police protection. I met John Stonecipher in 2005 when his business advisor, Rick Gibson, a business professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University asked me to assist John and Guidance with strategic business planning. Since those early days, John and his team have brought Guidance to the forefront of successful businesses in Yavapai County and in Arizona. The accomplishments that John and Guidance have made are far too many to mention here, but nonetheless, accolades are deserved. It was my humble privilege and unpretentious honor to nominate John as the SBA Person of the Year and see him win the honor and, in turn, the admiration of his peers, the community, and his country.”
Since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. For the first time, National Small Business Week events will be held in multiple cities. The cities of Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburg and Washington, D.C. will feature one day of events during National Small Business Week. The week will culminate with the NSBW awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. (SBA.GOV)
Stonecipher’s next big step is to represent the State of Arizona at the National Small Business Luncheon in Washington, D.C. on June 21st.