Aviation spurs growth in Duluth Airpark
SCS Aircraft Interiors is crafting leather seats for the new Cirrus jet, which will be built in Duluth. “We are forever defined by our craftsmanship,” said Mike Hudyma, SCS general manager.
What began as a father-son automotive-upholstery shop in a two-stall garage in 1989 has become a leading component manufacturer for the aviation industry. SCS Aircraft Interiors will employ at least 18 people by the time the company moves into its new 18,000-square-foot building in Duluth’s Airpark in March. By all accounts, it appears that SCS Aircraft Interiors created its business plan with as much finesse as it employs in crafting leather upholstery for Cirrus Design Corp. and other clients.
Early in his career, Dave Hudyma, CEO, owned and operated an automotive-upholstery business in Rapid City, SD. He moved back to Duluth, purchased a similar company and welcomed his son Mike into the business in 1989. The two were still sewing upholstery covers themselves when SCS moved to its present location in the city’s business/industrial park in 2001. Soon, the father-son team phased out the automotive side of the business to focus exclusively on supplying custom aircraft components for Cirrus planes (such as leather seat covers and foam kits, door/grab handles, throttle knobs and center consoles).
Groundbreaking Above: SCS Aircraft Interiors broke ground in Duluth’s Airpark on July 7, 2008. Participating were (from left) Paul Winship, architect, Krech Ojard & Associates; Dave Hudyma, SCS CEO; Andy McDonough, Port Authority industrial development director; Mike Hudyma, SCS general manager; and Paul Senst, project manager, RJS Construction Group.
As the demand for Cirrus planes expanded, so did staff and space requirements at SCS Aircraft Interiors. In fact, SCS expanded three times at its current location before completely outgrowing its building this year. "We’ve had initial talks with the interiors group for the Cirrus jet (Vision SJ50) and expect to start in on that project in the fourth quarter of this year," notes Mike Hudyma, SCS general manager. "Then, we will need every inch of space in our new building."
Krech Ojard’s architectural rendering of the new SCS site.
Before their projected move, Dave and Mike will have their hands full. "We expect to hire five more people immediately," notes Mike.
"There will be new machines to install, materials to order and people to train, plus a construction project to manage."
The Hudymas plan to handle the rush of activity the same way they always have: together. We're both hard workers. We want things done and done right," says Dave. "We split up some of the responsibilities, like accounting and human resources, but it’s good to be able to bounce ideas off another person — to look at things from different perspectives."
"I learned all of my upholstery skills from my dad," notes Mike, "and all of the other skills that fall under running a business. We both like things to be perfect. Upholstery is still a ‘craft’ — a trade — and you have to feel proud of your handiwork. While we may never meet our end customers face-to-face these days, we ask employees to envision presenting the finished product to a customer. Each piece is inspected at least seven times before it goes out the door. We are forever defined by our craftsmanship."
For their commitment to quality and innovative business development, Dave and Mike Hudyma were presented the Mature Entrepreneur Award at the Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards ceremony in Duluth in April.
"The expansion of SCS Aircraft Interiors helps solidify the strength of our growing aviation sector," says Andy McDonough, industrial development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, which developed the Airpark. He also noted that SCS will benefit from Minnesota’s JOBZ (Job Opportunity Building Zone) program. "It’s been a pleasure to work with the Hudymas and witness such tremendous growth in just a few short years."