Chairman of the West Star Aviation board Bob Rasberry is retiring after close to 20 years at the helm. He will continue with West Star's board of directors as chairman emeritus and join Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a middle-market equity investment firm and parent of West Star, as a senior advisor supporting NEP's continued interest in aviation-related investments.
In collaboration with co-founders Sam Haycraft, Jim Swehla and Mike Durst, Rasberry acquired the small MRO facility Premier Air Center in East Alton, Illinois in 2002. West Star Aviation in Grand Junction, Colorado was added in 2005, and ultimately, the companies were united and rebranded as West Star Aviation. The organisation has grown from 150 employees to over 1,400 and has been consistently named the number one MRO in the US for the last six years, according to Pro Pilot magazine.
“I find much comfort and pride in knowing that I leave West Star in extremely capable hands,” he says. “Many leadership decisions have been made over the past several years to prepare for this day, including appointing Rodger Renaud as chief operating officer and president, and hiring an industry veteran, Jim Rankin, as CEO. Their commitment to our employee and customer-centric culture is unwavering and aligns with the same principles that we were founded upon.”
West Star has also announced Robert Wood as paint programme assistant manager at its East Alton facility. Wood will assist and collaborate on paint processes and projects, drawing on his more than 26 years of aviation experience with previous positions held at Gulfstream, Jet Aviation and Midcoast. He also served four years in the US Air Force as a structural repair and corrosion control specialist working on fighter jets and cargo aircraft.
“We are happy to welcome Robert to the West Star family. He brings over 22 years of paint knowledge and troubleshooting expertise, making him a valuable asset to the department and team,” comments paint programme manager Jeremy Turnbough.
West Star has also promoted Jason Cohen to Bombardier Global programme manager at its Grand Junction facility. Cohen has over 30 years of aviation experience, and has been at West Star for more than eight years serving on the Bombardier technical sales team. He acquired his A&P licence from Colorado Tech, as well as obtaining his pilot's licence from Aero Training of the Rockies.
“We are excited to promote Jason to this new role and are confident that with his strong Bombardier experience and customer-centric approach he will bring added value and energy to the team,” says Grand Junction director of maintenance Ken Rice.