By JACKIE KOCH
An aviation maintenance bidding website whose co-founder has local roots has moved its offices to Tecumseh, bringing an aviation family full-circle to help maintain aircraft. MROinsider.com launched in Pittsfield Township in October 2017 and moved to the second floor of 102 W. Chicago Blvd., in the Bidwell Building, on January 1.
A Saline native, Andy Nixon is the great grandson of Ray Betzoldt, who helped start Meyers Aircraft Company in Tecumseh and was the test pilot and salesman working alongside owner Al Meyers. The two began with building Out To Win (OTW) planes at Betzoldt’s farm in Romulus. “They started coming to Tecumseh, taking people for airplane rides back in the day, and then eventually Meyers Airport was started. My grandpa and his four brothers were all involved in the company,” said Nixon, stating that many of those brothers still live in the Tecumseh area.
Nixon, who pursued a degree in aviation, was previously the director of sales and marketing for a shop that performed corporate jet repair, where the process involved the aircraft owner calling several repair shops on the phone and sharing information on the jet with each one to ask for repair quotes before making a decision on which shop to choose. The idea that he and his co- founder and fiance, Lindsay Irwin, came up with streamlined the process, with a reduction in time spent and the same information going to each repair facility in order to request multiple quotes. Irwin’s background in organizational leadership was an asset to the business idea.
“Basically, it’s free for aircraft owners and operators to register their aircraft,” he said. “They create a profile, they put in their aircraft information, their engine information, and then we go out and subscribe maintenance facilities that do the work to the website on a yearly fee.” When an aircraft owner needs maintenance done, he or she logs into the website and chooses options and the distance their aircraft can fly so that they can receive quotes for the service from maintenance facilities.
“We just wanted to make it simple and let the aircraft owners make an educated decision before they send out their maintenance,” said Nixon. “If you wanted to compare something similar, it would kind of be like Angie’s List, I guess, for people who have aircraft.”
The website serves owners of aircraft from Piper Cub planes to corporate jets, and has added four full-time account managers based in Austin, Texas, Orlando, Fla., San Diego, Calif., and here in Tecumseh. Jacob Kingsley, the local account manager, is Nixon’s younger brother. “He grew up in aviation, he spent a lot of time at Meyers Airport. We spent the weekends flying ever since we were three years old, and just progressed from there,” said Nixon.
The business has grown quickly, with 19 maintenance facilities across the county signed up since mid-October and 115 corporate aircraft registered on the website. With an average of six facilities and 20 to 40 aircraft added to the registry each month, the company is on track to reach or exceed the goal of 50 facilities added in their first year. The company recently announced
business expansion into Canada and Mexico, as well, and has added helicopter repair to its menu.
Nixon said he’d spent time in Tecumseh previously for family gatherings, and now with an office downtown he appreciates the atmosphere of a smaller city. “We love it,” he said. His growing business is the right fit for someone who grew up with an aviation heritage. “It’s definitely my passion, it’s not even like work,” he said.