When it comes to the installation of ground support equipment, airlines and airport operators seek one thing above else: simplicity. According to Bryan Bullerdick, founder and CEO of B GSE Group, this is rarely achieved. Most companies are content with supplying only single or, at best, a handfull components for an entire ground support system. It's an approach that many in the sector find frustrating.
"Most airlines and operators like to buy systems," explains Bullerdick. "They don't want to just buy a power unit. Ideally, they'd like to buy the installation, the remotes, the input cable and the breakers: whatever it takes to make the system functional from A to Z. And they can call on B GSE to do just that."
Founded in 2011, B GSE specialises in the provision of three main areas of ground support equipment: aviation power supply solutions, air conditioning and service pits. "The best way to think of it is as the three Ps' - it either has to have pits in it, power or PC air," says Bullerdick. "We really stick to those three core products and try to fill in all the parts and pieces for the customer."
Around half of B GSE contracts are with the US military. The company's work with the military has served to hone its product range and the services they provide to their civilian customers. "With military contracts, your installation timelines and your ability to interact with not only the client but the associated contractors has to be spot on," says Bullerdick. The equipment that's usually asked for often comprises very complicated systems. Fortunately, most of the staff at B GSE are well aware of the level of precision military contracts demand.
"Everybody has had some career in aviation prior to joining," says Bullerdick, himself a former pilot and flying instructor. The vice-president joined B GSE after retiring from his post as an electrical avionics engineer in the US Navy. "Our head service manager spent over 27 years working for the Air Force and the reserves as a ground support equipment repair specialist."
All of that knowledge is brought to bear in B GSE's contracts. Indeed, the company's ability to work to tight deadlines and complicated project briefs is something that many of its civilian clients value, according to Bullerdick. "The equipment supplied to the military has to be at a higher bar," he adds. "And we're not going to build two different lines. So, when a civilian client asks for a B GSE system to be installed at an airport, they're getting stuff that's already been tested by the military."
Among those clients, American Airlines remains the most prominent. "I believe we sell more power and air to them than any other company, period," says Bullerdick, with extensive contracts in place for terminal and gate refurbishment works. "We bond the job, we ensure the job, and we perform the install turnkey. Earlier this year, we worked on several airports for American Airlines at the same time."
That commitment to financially guaranteeing the quality of their workmanship is another quality that endears B GSE to the major airlines. And if anything does need to be repaired or renovated, there's only one company that needs calling. "Clients don't like it when it takes ten companies to get a scope done," Bullerdick explains. "If something goes wrong, it then becomes a blame game on who did what, where. Airlines and operators don't have that problem with us: they can call us, and we can take care of it."