PHX East Valley Business Spotlight: Able Engineering

Lee Benson, CEO

Lee Benson, CEO, Able Engineering

 Briefly describe your business:

Able Engineering safely reduces aircraft    operating costs for helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and fleet owners like UPS and DSL, worldwide. After establishing roots as experts in processing turbine engine components for original equipment manufacturers, we expanded our business in the 1990s to include FAA-approved parts, along with repairs, overhauls, exchanges and partnerships.

More than 30 years after opening our doors, we continue to extend our capabilities and grow our team, while keeping an unrelenting focus on being the best value alternative around for aircraft parts and maintenance. Our company invests millions of dollars each year in technology that reduces costs and turnaround time. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to equip our employees with up-to-date training. With a global network, Able can pre-position assets anywhere to support maintenance needs. Today, we have 1,400 customers in 60 countries, annually saving our customers more than $200 million as a best value alternative.


Briefly describe your executive role:

I am currently CEO of three companies: Able Engineering, Able Aerospace Services and Executive to Win, a cloud-based business management operating system that helps organizations improve business by connecting employees to strategy and culture. Execute to Win is in partnership with Jack Welch, former GE Chairman and CEO who said that it was the best business alignment system he’s ever seen and then became a partner in the company.

Founded Able Engineering in 1995, Able Aerospace Services in 1999 and Execute To Win in 2011, after customers and suppliers asked about my business management system for growing companies faster and more profitably.

Why did you choose to headquarter in the East Valley:

We were looking for incentives to help the business grow and when looking for a facility to expand from Phoenix, we were able to form a successful public-private partnership with the City of Mesa and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport with issued bonds. This allowed us to invest more cash into Able and we’ve been able to grow faster while still maintaining the highest quality standards and bringing new jobs to the community. In 2012, Able built and expanded into a new headquarters in Mesa. This facility brings together our devoted team of 500 production, engineering, quality, customer service, sales and support employees. It also houses some of the most advanced technology on the market — from state-of-the-art design equipment to futuristic robots, the Able headquarters has the expertise and equipment necessary, all under one roof.

Plans are for a 50,000 square foot expansion to accommodate overall business growth and to enlarge the apron, aircraft hangar and machine shop areas, making Able the largest private employer in the Gateway area. Our campus currently totals 191,000 square feet and is the largest facility at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

East Valley also provides a great population of capable employees and we very much value our partnership with the City of Mesa offering great incentives and less government overreach, in addition to Arizona being a right to work state is huge for corporate business.

How does your business give back to the community:

Creating high paying jobs is the foundation for everything we do. We do support several employee charities like becoming involved with cancer walks. Our Wellness Program and Facility is open to our employee family members including the fitness center, and cooking classes. Able has a 10,000-square-foot, two-story training/wellness facility on site with three full time trainers. Employees that train two days a week for an entire month get 100% of their health insurance premium covered the following month. Able also has a healthy cafeteria with healthy food and drinks available to all of its employees, including supplements and protein drinks provided for post-work outs. With our fitness facility and healthy cafeteria for training, Able has established hiking, biking, running and team race clubs.

With our wellness program, we’ve seen a 66% reduction in healthcare spend for employees that participate in the program. The program has provided more alert, productive and happier team members and made a big culture impact as well as to their bottom-line.

How do you balance work and family life:

It’s about blending, for one big blended life. Running the business is truly the most fun for me and it doesn’t feel like work – I love it while always finding the time to spend with friends and family.