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Annual SBA award.

Annual SBA Award

The Alaska District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration named Jerry Scudero, president of Taquan Air Service Inc. of Ketchikan, Small Business Person of the Year for Alaska. Scudero started Taquan Air Service 13 years ago in Metlakatla with one plane and three pilots. Today he operates out of Ketchikan with eight aircraft and 11 pilots. Scudero has flown 750,000 passengers in the intervening time without an accident.

Frank Cox, SBA's Alaska director, says Taquan air's founder was selected on the basis of his company's growth and development. Cox also lauds the business' outstanding accident-free safety record and notes that the hazardous flying conditions in Southeast Alaska make the accomplishment even more remarkable. Taquan Air runs an all-floatplane fleet -- five deHavilland Beavers and three Cessna 185s. The air-taxi operation services communities near Ketchikan year-round.

Scudero attributes much of his success to long-time employees whose experience makes his operation run smoothly. Three of his pilots have been with him 10 years or longer, and his dispatcher has been with Taquan for a decade. "When she's on the job I know she'll keep everything running smoothly," he adds.

His wife Candy, is an integral part of the operation. Scudero says, "She makes sure that everything works, and that all the loose ends are taken care of." Now vice president of Taquan Air, she was his first dispatcher.

Honored at a May awards ceremony in the White House at which President George Bush was featured speaker, Scudero remembers thinking, "This is pretty neat. What do I do from here?" When he returned home, he was given a banquet by the city of Ketchikan and another by Metlakatla. And then it was business as usual.

While summer is always a busy season, 1990 has been hectic, says Scudero. Frequently all his planes were in use, he notes. With nearly 13,000 hours of flight time, Scudero has done his share of piloting, although he doesn't fly as much now as he would like to.

Scudero's targeted market has always been the local business traveler, but Taquan Air recently has begun carrying an increasing number of tourists. "The next couple of years we'll see more in this area," he says, "especially with lumber going down a little bit."

Scudero feels the single most important factor in his success is the loyalty of his customers. "We've got a lot of customers that keep coming back. You've got to have customers that believe in you," he says.
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Title Annotation:Alaska Business Briefs: Small Business; Alaska district office of U.S. Small Business Administration
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Words:416
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