Duncan Aviation’s international parts team officially started 32 years ago in 1984. Phil Porter has been with the team since day one, and even before that.
Hired in 1978, Phil started his career at Duncan Aviation as a parts runner. “I was the parts runner and the shipping department,” says Phil. “I had to physically search shelves for parts. I also personally packed up and shipped everything that left the company. I’d call to find out the bus schedule and then drive the packages to the depot.”
Although there were a few notable exceptions, shipping parts around the world in the late 1970s was unusual because most of Duncan Aviation’s parts business involved Learjets, and those parts shipped primarily in the United States.
That changed in 1984 after Duncan Aviation listened to customer requests and became a master distributor for Piper parts. The company then began to ship parts regularly around the world.
By that time, Phil had moved to sales and was on the ground floor of this new international venture.
“Through our Piper parts agreement, I met dealers in Pennsylvania and Florida and supported companies in England, Sweden, and South Africa,” says Phil. “We shipped a lot of parts to Italy and Madagascar and to smaller shops around the world that needed parts for their Pipers.”
Most of Duncan Aviation's parts business involved Learjets.
Duncan Aviation became a master distributer for Piper Parts.
The annual sales of parts and rotables to companies outside fo the United States represents about 35 percent of our parts sales.
Over the years, as these operators migrated to bigger aircraft, Phil and Duncan Aviation’s Parts and Rotables services evolved with them.
Today, the annual sales of parts and rotables to companies outside of the United States represents about 35 percent of our parts sales, says Chris Gress, Manager of Parts and Rotables Sales. “And roughly one-third of our team members work hours to accommodate our worldwide customers.”
Shirley Crouch and Tyler Stone work through the night so they can answer calls from customers in Australia and southeast Asia; Carol Hunt and Hannah Bodenstab support customers in South Africa; and Phil, Lance Tophoj, Jewell Chambers, and Sandra Phelps support customers in Europe and South America. The European team begins working at 4 a.m. so customers there can reach an actual person at the start of their business day.
One of Phil’s first Piper customers was Pilot John Egelykke, who worked for a pump factory in Denmark called Grundfos.
“Phil has been a great person to work with over the years. He has helped me a lot with AOG parts and a great number of quotes,” says John, who stopped flying after 30 years and now works as a Technical Advisor for Air Alsie. He still recommends Duncan Aviation to his customers in large part because Phil took the time to forge a friendship on top of the business relationship the two men developed so many years ago.
John is not alone. Phil has developed hundreds of close friendships with clients throughout the world.
“The European aviation industry is a closely knit community. When you help customers locate parts or resolve problems, they remember you,” says Phil. “Over the years, in spite of the fact that some of my best customers have switched from one company to another, they remember that I helped, and they continue to call me, and Duncan Aviation.”