WINNER: Master Entrepreneur
David Storch has a knack for seeing opportunities in desperate situations. Unafraid to take strategic risks, he uses this ability to diversify his company’s business and expand into new markets, which has bolstered it through economic lows, industry changes and technological transitions.
Storch, 15-year chairman and CEO of Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR CORP., has operated with a long-term strategy in mind that’s expanded the company greatly beyond its 1950s origins as a seller of surplus World War II airplanes. It’s now a global leader in providing a wide range of products and services to not only the commercial aviation industry but also government and defense industries. It operates in 13 countries with more than 60 locations and employs more than 7,600 individuals.
One example of Storch’s keen sense for taking strategic risks occurred in 2005. AAR sought to grow its commercial business by taking over a vacant aircraft maintenance facility, despite it being left empty by a bankrupt airline due to the tough economic climate. Storch and his team took a chance and built the business from the ground up. The company is now the top provider of aircraft maintenance services in the nation.
In addition to actively seeking out new niches, AAR Corp.’s continuously evolving service and product abilities also stem from its client-centric business model. This model allows the company to work closely with customers to create and tailor products and services to meet a diverse array of needs.
AAR’s success can be seen in the numbers: Storch has led the company to 240 percent growth since becoming CEO and 35 percent in the past ?scal year alone. ?
HOW TO REACH: AAR CORP., www.aarcorp.com