Avionics News January 2012 - 29

Hemme’s father died in 1995, and his mother passed four years later. “They were farmers, and relatively successful,” he said evenly. “Health problems prevented them from ever enjoying retirement.” Just 58 years old when his mother died, “I decided it was time to enjoy life a bit and travel. So, I sold the business and immediately bought a motor home.” Backing up his professional journey, “I graduated from Iowa State University with an electrical engineering degree in 1963,” Hemme said, adding that high school and ham radio got him interested in electronics. “When electronics became my job, I lost interest in ham radio,” not a surprise when the job was the communication system for the Apollo program. Upon graduation, Hemme went to work for Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the highlight came in 1965, when he “happened to catch a ride in a little Luscombe.” Enthralled with flying, he earned his private pilot certificate the same year. The Apollo “program wound down with the first flights in 1968,” Hemme said, and he transferred to the commercial avionics division. “I happened to be one of the engineers on the first Collins Pro Line avionics, the VIR 30.” In 1971, after eight years at Collins, Hemme signed on as the chief engineer for a new company, Weigh-Tronix, just across the Iowa border in Fairmont, Minn. It still makes electronic weighing equipment for commercial scales, grain elevators, truck scales and farm implements. After five years, and being “involved in the design of several electronic weighing devices,” Hemme needed more aviation in his life, so “in 1976, convinced I was going to start my own business, I surveyed three air-

ports to figure out the best location and ended up choosing Spencer, Iowa.” Then as now, establishing a new business was not a 40-hour, Mondayto-Friday effort each week. Reflecting on his 22 years in business and how the industry has changed, Hemme said “you need to have a good background education in electronics, but manage-

tion installation approvals, has grown over the years, Hemme said. “You have to be committed to making it a success. A lot of late hours make that work.” After growing slowly for a year or so, Spencer Avionics was able to hire help. “My first employee was Michael O’Leary, who was the past chairman

Bill Hemme at the repair bench at Spencer Avionics.

ment is now a bigger part of the business, (so an avionics shop owner) also needs management experience, maybe even an MBA. Whatever it is, it’s not going to be a 40-hour week to keep it going; it’s going to be 60 to 70 hours a week.” Starting out, Marilyn Hemme answered the phone and scheduled work, while Bill Hemme struggled to do installations, bench work and the paperwork by himself. The time and effort needed to earn and maintain an FAA repair station certificate, not to men-

of the AEA,” Hemme said. “His hometown was Emmetsburg, which is about 25 miles from Spencer. I don’t remember how Mike and I got together, but he became my installer while I did the bench work and administration. Mike left after about five years and went to Denver Beech.” Since then, O’Leary became AEA’s 1998 Member of the Year, and he joined Midcoast Aviation as its avionics sales manager in 2006. During his ownership, Spencer AviContinued on following page
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News January 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Rockwell Collins' Fusion Upgrades
Member Profile
Where Are They Now?
Before & After
Next Step in the GPS Battle
A Conversation With...
Touchscreen Avionics: Training Required
Sounding Off On Audio Panels
Member Profile
Advertisers Index
Aviation Aces
Business Basics
Meet the AEA Board
Theory & Practice
Legal Ease
Special Report
What's New
Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News January 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News January 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News January 2012 - 1
Avionics News January 2012 - 2
Avionics News January 2012 - 3
Avionics News January 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News January 2012 - 5
Avionics News January 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News January 2012 - 7
Avionics News January 2012 - 8
Avionics News January 2012 - 9
Avionics News January 2012 - 10
Avionics News January 2012 - 11
Avionics News January 2012 - 12
Avionics News January 2012 - 13
Avionics News January 2012 - The View From Washington
Avionics News January 2012 - 15
Avionics News January 2012 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News January 2012 - 17
Avionics News January 2012 - 18
Avionics News January 2012 - 19
Avionics News January 2012 - Rockwell Collins' Fusion Upgrades
Avionics News January 2012 - 21
Avionics News January 2012 - 22
Avionics News January 2012 - 23
Avionics News January 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News January 2012 - 25
Avionics News January 2012 - 26
Avionics News January 2012 - 27
Avionics News January 2012 - Where Are They Now?
Avionics News January 2012 - 29
Avionics News January 2012 - 30
Avionics News January 2012 - Before & After
Avionics News January 2012 - Next Step in the GPS Battle
Avionics News January 2012 - 33
Avionics News January 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News January 2012 - 35
Avionics News January 2012 - Touchscreen Avionics: Training Required
Avionics News January 2012 - 37
Avionics News January 2012 - 38
Avionics News January 2012 - 39
Avionics News January 2012 - Sounding Off On Audio Panels
Avionics News January 2012 - 41
Avionics News January 2012 - 42
Avionics News January 2012 - 43
Avionics News January 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News January 2012 - 45
Avionics News January 2012 - 46
Avionics News January 2012 - Advertisers Index
Avionics News January 2012 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News January 2012 - 49
Avionics News January 2012 - 50
Avionics News January 2012 - 51
Avionics News January 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News January 2012 - 53
Avionics News January 2012 - 54
Avionics News January 2012 - 55
Avionics News January 2012 - Meet the AEA Board
Avionics News January 2012 - 57
Avionics News January 2012 - 58
Avionics News January 2012 - 59
Avionics News January 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News January 2012 - 61
Avionics News January 2012 - Legal Ease
Avionics News January 2012 - 63
Avionics News January 2012 - Special Report
Avionics News January 2012 - 65
Avionics News January 2012 - 66
Avionics News January 2012 - 67
Avionics News January 2012 - 68
Avionics News January 2012 - 69
Avionics News January 2012 - What's New
Avionics News January 2012 - 71
Avionics News January 2012 - 72
Avionics News January 2012 - 73
Avionics News January 2012 - Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News January 2012 - 75
Avionics News January 2012 - 76
Avionics News January 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News January 2012 - Cover4
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