Married UND aviation grads go All In on their Las Vegas flight business.
Paul Sallach, ’03, was recognized for his business acumen by being named 2020 U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Nevada. Paul, along with his wife, Lindsay (Henke), ’05, spearheaded construction of a major development at the Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas.
The couple’s company, All In Aviation, developed 26 hangars at the airport, where their full-service aviation company offers flight training, pilot certifications, aircraft rentals, sales, and storage.
When it is suggested that sounds like a major undertaking, Lindsay responds with a laugh, “You have no idea!”
TAKING A RISK
Paul agrees that there was a lot riding on the project, which started in 2018 and took 18 months to move to completion, putting its grand opening in the middle of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were, of course, concerned with coronavirus that we could be watching our lives disappear because we put a lot of our eggs in this one basket. It would have been really ugly, but the complete opposite was true — it is super busy. We’ve got more customers than we could ever have imagined.”
One part of All In Aviation’s business has suffered during the pandemic, airplane rentals to tourists, but all other facets have been a pleasant surprise. Most of the hangar space developed at the airport has been rented while flight training and pilot certifications are booming.
“It takes two things to become a pilot: time and money,” said Paul. “We typically cater to a higher end customer that has had money, but not time.”
Now, because of the pandemic, that person has the time. “They’re not going anywhere. They’ve always wanted to do it. There’s nothing else going on, so these people are coming out of the woodwork.”
After both worked for Cirrus Aircraft (based in Duluth with a plant in Grand Forks) in Flight Operations, Paul and Lindsay moved to Las Vegas in early 2009 for careers in pre-owned aircraft sales. They began offering flight training as a way to help their sales customers get off the ground.
“We thought it would be training flights every other weekend,” said Lindsay. Instead, they found a strong demand for flight training and launched All In Aviation in 2016. Also that year, they began working with a partner on the Henderson Executive Airport project.
The company has grown to 14 employees: half are flight instructors and the other half work in retail and administration. Several instructors are also UND grads.
All In Aviation had been using luxury Cirrus aircraft exclusively for its flight training, but, with business booming in 2020, they decided to offer a lower cost alternative for wannabe pilots. That lead Paul and Lindsay to approach their alma mater to purchase two Cessna 172s in September.
Given their love for UND, they decided to leave the planes Kelly green in honor of the place where they learned to fly and first met.
Paul came to UND from Pennsylvania when he searched for the best aviation education at the most reasonable cost. Lindsay, who grew up in Center, North Dakota, found a career path after seeing a billboard advertising flight lessons. Her mom convinced her that she could learn to fly while getting a four-year degree at UND.
They met when Paul was Lindsay’s flight instructor. “He likes to make it sound so scandalous, but it wasn’t,” said Lindsay. In fact, Paul says, they didn’t start dating until nearly a year later, after they bumped into other again. They married in 2008 and have two kids: Anna, 9, and Quintin, 7.
Lindsay jokes that she is retired from the company and is a stay-at-home mom, but she still runs their pilot shop at the new All In Aviation location. Paul says she’s also a valued source of wisdom when it comes time to make big decisions.
“I bring the business plan and then we discuss it together to make sure that we’re on the same page,” said Paul.
When they imagined their career paths, both Paul and Lindsay figured they’d be commercial aviation pilots, but they’re happy they went all in on building their business in Las Vegas.