Avionics News February 2013 - 42
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Mike Sutphin of Avionics International Supply Inc.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Hot
Springs, Ark. Growing up, I worked
a lot with my dad who was a
true country peddler. He had a
big Winnebago and would go to
antique stores all over the South,
buy or trade something, and then
sell the items down the road to
another person. I am not sure what
you call that today.
tphin of A
vionics International Supply
Inc. has been in operation
for more than 25 years. The
company concentrates in the wholesale distribution of avionics and aviation parts and supplies to private and
commercial repair facilities worldwide along with the calibration and
certification of avionics test equipment and tooling through its affiliate,
Avionics Test Equipment Calibration.
The company provides additional services, including financing, marketing,
website development, mobile applications, consignment sales and technical support intended for a “WholeAero” experience.
Recently, Patricia Luebke, Avionics
News contributor, spoke with Mike
Sutphin to learn about his work at AIS.
Today, we would call it
“American Picker,” and
he could have his own
reality TV show.
You’re right, but back in the
1960s and 70s, we didn’t call it
that. The first jobs I remember
were when I was about 10 years
old. I would bus dishes, refinish
furniture, mow yards – really anything to make money. My first real
job was as a milkman, then with
Sunshine Biscuit Company where I
sold cookies and crackers. Sunshine
had a restructuring and wanted me
to relocate. I said no, and my job
Next, I moved to Del Monte
Foods, where I handled all the
wholesale and retail distribution
on a regional basis. I was responsible for sales, forecasts, inventory
planning and management of the
wholesale warehouses and grocery
stores. Del Monte was sold to KKR,
and the company was broken into
little pieces. In this restructure, I
was let go.
Next was the telecommunications industry beginning with AT&T
in sales and operations where we
were building voice and data networks along with fiberoptics networks. I handled major accounts
sales, built sales and network operation offices, negotiated franchise
agreements with cities – really
anything that came up. I learned
a lot about communications, the
Internet and computer networks.
I specifically remember a meeting
where we were introduced to the
Internet in the late 1980s. We were
told the Internet would change the
world, but I thought, “That’s not
going to happen.” Then, I spent
years building data networks and
modems banks to support Internet
traffic. They were right; the
Internet has changed our life and
our business world.
When 9/11 happened, I was
working for another company and
came to the conclusion that every
time I built an office, fiber network, data center, route or sales
territory, it would be taken away.
So I started thinking I wanted my
own deal. What I saw in New York
City made me rethink my life and
what I was doing.
You came to New York
Yes, I came as part of my job to
see what systems had to be rebuilt.
I was there very soon afterward
– maybe the fourth or fifth flight