Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 33

Epps Aviation

Continued from page 31

W

hen a corporate
jet touches
down at DeKalbPeachtree Airport
(PDK), located just northeast of
Atlanta, chances are great that the
pilot will fill up or top off the tanks
at Epps Aviation. The same, in fact,
can be said about the pilot of a light,
single-engine aircraft.
“We welcome everyone, from the
smallest piston operator to the pilot
of a very large corporate jet,” said
Marian Epps, the company’s Chief
Financial Officer (CFO). “We don’t
discriminate.”
It is that inclusive approach to
business, which, at least partly,
accounts for the success of Epps
Aviation, founded in 1965 by Pat Epps,
Marian’s father. At that time, Pat
Epps, who still serves as President and
CEO, was a Mooney aircraft dealer.
“He saw an opportunity to expand
into the FBO business at PDK, which
is the primary general aviation
reliever airport for the metropolitan
Atlanta area,” she explained.
That opportunity was Atlanta Air
Service. “The three owners had been
in business only two years and, even
though they were pilots, had endured
enough of the retail FBO business,”
said Epps, who explained that her
father viewed the FBO as a natural
outgrowth of his aircraft dealership
business, as well as a chance to build
on a business-oriented airport in a
great part of Atlanta.
At the time of the purchase, the
name of the FBO was changed to
Epps Air Service, but as Epps pointed
out, this soon led to confusion.
“We began getting calls from
people who thought that we were

Aviation Business Journal | 1st Quarter 2013	

Marian Epps with her father, Pat Epps, J-3 Cub flying.

in the heating and air conditioning
business,” she noted. “We finally put a
stop to that in November 1987, when
we rebranded the company as ‘Epps
Aviation’.”
Epps, herself, grew up as an FBO
kid, finally getting on the payroll
at age 14. Her father put her to
work answering phones, taking fuel
orders, ferrying pilots and airplanes,
and performing accounting duties
during weekends, summer vacations
from school, and later while in
college. A 1983 graduate of Georgia
Tech with a Bachelor of Science
in Industrial Management, Epps
reports that she thought she would
immediately step into a full-time
position in the family business.
Surprisingly, that did not happen.
“My father insisted that it would be
a good idea for me to get experience
working for other companies for
at least five years so I could learn
different approaches to business and
management,” she said. “Also, in 1983
the economy was still spiraling down
and jobs in aviation were scarce.”
That led to a 10-year career in the
financial services industry in Colorado

Springs and the Seattle area. During
this period, Epps obtained a Certified
Financial Planner certificate.
“I learned a lot about sales,
relationship building, and other
business-related issues such as taxes,
investments, estate and retirement
planning, insurance, lending — all
things that make up the foundation
for any business,” she said. (As an
NATA board member, Epps was
among those that served on the
insurance committee, which worked
with an outside insurance consultant
to review options for the Workers’
Compensation Insurance program
available to NATA members).
While her financial services career
was successful, Epps did not want to
raise her daughter so far away from
her relatives. In 1993, she was ready
to move back to Atlanta and spoke
with her father about rejoining the
company in which she was essentially
raised.
“He was very open to the idea and
made a place for me on the staff,
even though the aviation industry in
Atlanta was going through a difficult
Continued on page 34

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Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013

Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - Cover1
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - Cover2
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 3
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