One of the biggest benefits for our Aviation Marketing Master Class is the opportunity to network with aviation professionals. Our Facebook Group Facilitator, Bert Botta, is interviewing one member a week to help us get to know one another better, make better referrals to each other, and generally learn more about the smartest people in the industry.

Want to be featured?

  1. Become a member of the Master Class!
  2. Contact Bert Botta and get on his interview schedule!

We’re looking forward to learning more about smart aviation professionals!

Member Highlight - Mike Livezey, Cutter Aviation

Bert Botta: Hi, this is Bert Botta, ABCI Facebook facilitator and it’s Tuesday, February 2nd. This is an ABCI interview with Mike Livezey from Cutter Aviation.

Bert: Hi Mike. It’s great to be working with you. We have a series of 5 questions that I’ll be asking you. I’ll start off with the first one that will help people get to know you. Then we’ll work our way through the other four.


The first question is:


(1) How did you get where you are in your professional life?

Mike: I had a number of different careers. I was in the grocery business for over a decade. And then I worked at the US Postal Service for a decade and a half. And then I got into the financial services industry. And then, for the last 15 years, I’ve been in the general/business aviation industry.

Bert: None of those were related to aviation. How did you make the switch from your other careers to aviation and what might have caused that?

Mike: Well things often happen by chance but it was also by being around someone else who had a connection that was the case with me being involved in aviation.

In those other organizations I moved into some level of management since they were all customer service related. In one of those companies, a friend of mine and myself were a couple of dads who supported our daughters drill team.

My friend had sold businesses and decided to join with a business partner and buy an interest in an FBO at the McKinney Airport. I’d always wanted to be part of aviation since I almost went to the Air Force Academy but I backed out about three months before it was time to go.

So I had this interest in aviation but had never seriously considered it. Then one day when I was working in a Property and Casualty Agency in the financial services industry, my friend said, “Hey, I’ve also got a Hertz agency so send me your referrals when somebody needs a rental car.”

So I did and at one point I said, “Hey, if you need some help at the FBO, give me a call.”


Well he’d seen me in the community for years and he thought that I would be a good addition, so he called me. Then he hired me to join the business and run his FBO since the daily operation was pretty inconsistent and its level of service was real spotty.


So I did that without any knowledge of the aircraft business. I learned that pretty quickly. That was 15 years ago.

Bert: And that was at McKinney airport?

Mike: Yes. It was McKinney Municipal Airport at the time. Now it’s McKinney National Airport. And that’s the town where I grew up. So I had a close affiliation with the town.

Bert: So what are you doing now?

Mike: Currently I’m Director of Special Projects for Cutter Aviation at Addison Airport. (Texas) Mostly I’m involved with the marketing team. Because of our presence in the industry, trade shows and at different events there’s always projects that come up.


Recently we sold one of our facilities and I went out to make sure that the move went smoothly; basically I was the person who turned off the lights when we left.

And we also opened another facility. When Cutter looks at opportunities, they usually have me get involved with putting together a pro forma and those kind of things. So it’s a very much a mix of things that I do.

Bert: Is Cutter Aviation Worldwide?

Mike: No, Cutter Aviation is in the southwest U.S. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado.

And we’re also involved in some other states through aircraft sales. Through the TBM 900 we’re in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas as well.

Bert: I remember Cutter; when I was flying for NetJetsI we used Cutter as our preferred FBO in Albuquerque.

Mike: That’s where we were founded, back in 1928.

Bert: OK. That was a nice operation as I remember. Is there anything else you can add to how you got to where you are in your professional life? If you don’t have anything else you want to add, we can go onto the next question.

Mike: Just this. I would say that basically you have to have confidence in yourself. One thing that I was never timid about, was voicing my thoughts on how things should work; I was always passionate about what I did and I’m sure that added to where I am today.

Bert: Great. How long have you been involved in ABCI?
Mike: I’ve been involved with Paula for a number of years, at least four. I don’t know when she started the business, but she was actually a speaker at one of the schedulers and dispatchers conferences to the vendors that I helped out at a few years ago.

Mike: The best thing is there are always good ideas from others in the industry on how we can improve what we’re doing. Paula always has speakers from other organizations that share how they do things. And if we only had to rely on ourselves, we might have a pretty limited scope of how we did things.

So that’s probably the best part about that.
Bert: Excellent. Okay, so now we’re going to segue into the remaining four questions that will take us into the heart of you and your business.


(2) How would I spot your ideal customer for you and/or your company?

Mike: I would say that my kind of client would be someone who is really more of an entrepreneur who has built their own business or worked their way to where they are.

They want to do business with somebody they know that is not just the line techs and CSRs but they can know other people within the organization. They can know the general manager and even the owner. They work hard and they want to do business with somebody that works hard and that they can trust.

And that would be Cutter with its lengthy time in the business. They have earned a reputation of being very trustworthy and having a high level of service.

Bert: Okay, next question:


(3) How would you best describe you or your company’s unique benefits, approach, products, services and value proposition.

Mike: Well, one thing that Cutter definitely adds that not many others do is that we offer a very diverse portfolio of products and services. Cutter is one of the few general aviation companies that offer as diverse a portfolio of products to services in our industry. So many companies provide maintenance or they provide FBOs or they provide aircraft sales or on demand charter.

Basically, Cutter provides every segment of the GA business out there. We’re kind of a one-stop shop. We started out back in 1928 as an air taxi service. Back then we provided service in the pretty rugged southwest area because you couldn’t get around too easily back in those days.

And soon after it’s like, well, you know what, we’ve got to have services. Why don’t we provide those services for the other companies out here? And then of course we started aircraft sales and the company just kind of grew from there. And we’ve always kept that vision of being able to provide whatever somebody wants.

And the value proposition is that we are family owned and operated, and have been since 1928. It’s really important to the Cutter family that our mission, our vision and our purpose were driven by the core values. Those values are: trust, respect, and integrity.

We consider customers as close friends and employees as part of the family.
You don’t get that with a lot of companies. Some you do. Don’t get me wrong. But a lot of them you don’t.

Bert: In addition to that Mike, is there anything in particular that stands out that is unique about Cutter that other FBOS don’t have?

Mike: One thing is that we tend to try to stay ahead of what people are looking for. For instance, a few years ago ISBAO came out and all the flight departments were working on the safety of their flight departments. Not that they haven’t in the past, but that was more of a formal program.

And of course part of that is aircraft handling services and Cutter said, “Well you know what? That needs to transfer over to every aspect of the business.” We were one of the first companies to create a safety management system for ground handling services. It’s not that other companies didn’t have procedures but we formalized them and were supported by the company leadership.


Our level of service is that we always try to exceed expectations. We always try to anticipate what our customer would want.


Bert: Question #4


(4) What might prospects say to trigger me to know what they need to be referred to you or your company?

Mike: I guess when you’re around someone and you hear them say something like, “Man, the service that we get is just so inconsistent.” Or, it wasn’t at the level they needed. So that can trigger, “Cutter Aviation is throughout the southwest, and what they’re noted for is their service and that’s what they try to achieve.”

And then of course another thing that might trigger you to refer someone to us is when you’re talking to someone and they’re saying, “You know I just can’t get done what I need to, I’m travelling all the time for work and I’m waiting to get into airports and those type of things.”

This is especially true if it’s someone who’s an entrepreneur and has their own business. That would be someone that you’d refer and we would have a number of different solutions for those people that need to recapture time, There’s the charter through actually owning their own aircraft. Those types of things would be what we would say you could refer to us.

You could say, “You know what? I know someone who can help you, they have a lot of experience.”

Bert: That would be mainly throughout the southwest?

Mike: Yes, throughout the southwest.

Bert: Excellent. Last question.


(5) What is your marketing process once your prospect receives a referral?

Mike: Well, being the prospect was referred to us, it will be different than if we’re just out marketing a company and it’s not someone who knows us or have been told about us. But it also will vary depending on the product or service that someone was referred to us for.


But typically if it’s somebody who’s referred to us, that would start out with an email or a phone call introducing us. That would also include so and so referred you, that we might be able to help you. And of course initially it would be “I’m just calling to touch base with you, to let you know that we’re here. We’d like to set up a time to have a meeting with you, either in person or on the phone, to find out what your needs are, to see if there is something that we can help you with.”


But the process for referral is a bit different than just marketing to the industry as a whole. Because with the referral you already have, someone has said, “Hey, these guys can help you, you need to talk to them.” So there’s already a little bit of trust that’s been developed there. It’s like, my friend or my colleague or my competitor said, “Hey, they can help you.”

Bert: Is there anything in particular that you want the group to know about you and Cutter. Not just the group but the buying public in general.

Mike: Well, about me, I’m very passionate about aviation. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been in some other industries and none of them have been as rewarding to me from a standpoint of satisfaction as aviation has.

It’s a very tight-knit industry and your reputation is very important to you. And of course, I would say that for me personally, I want everyone to know that Cutter and I, that we want to be good corporate citizens to wherever we are. We always give back to the community. I think most people who know me know that I’m very involved in those types of activities, and it has spilled over from the company to me.

I really don’t have much else to say other than we very much want to help and serve others.

Whether it’s for business or whether it’s for, you know, activities where people need some type of assistance.

Bert: Excellent. This last question is more for my own information but I’ll include it here. Is Cutter expanding? How do they grow in addition to what you’ve just mentioned, and what is your vision of growth for the company?

Mike: We’re actively looking to expand our facilities. We are not one who would expand throughout the U.S. We’re a southwest company. It would be more than likely in the southwest states that we’re already active in.

A couple of things currently that we’re looking at and they’re not going to happen real quick. As you work through with municipalities and things we’ve found that sometimes it’s a burdensome process so it takes time. And like I said we recently sold a facility and we recently actually purchased a facility.

Mike: So yeah, we’re always looking but it’s got to be within our scope in the Southwest.

Bert: Yeah, that pretty much covers it. Unless there’s anything else you want to


Mike: Not really


I have one more question before we wrap this up.


What do you like about the Master Class that the members participate in?


Mike: I always get ideas from others in the industry on how we can improve what we’re doing. Paula always has speakers from other organizations who share how they do things. If we only had to rely on ourselves, we might have a pretty limited scope of how to do things. That’s probably the best part about the Master Class.

Bert: That’s great. It’s great to get to know you in this little amount of time we have, and I look forward to seeing you online.

Mike: Thanks Bert, I appreciate it.


Have a great day.


Bert: You too.

Connect with Mike

Mike Livezey

Director, Special Projects
[email protected]
469-518-5766 Office
469-518-5779 Fax} else {..

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