A Denver-area entrepreneur and former Air Force officer who took his pilot training at Williams Air Force Base is looking at the east Mesa field as a possible location for his business, which is developing new aviation technologies.
But sentiment aside, George Bye, founder and chief executive of Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based Bye Engineering, said he also will look at other airports in the Valley and elsewhere.
“It’s a competitive process,” he said, although he added he would be pleased if a deal could be worked out to locate at the former base, which now is Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
“I had a very special time in my life in that area. We love the area. If there is some way we can find to work together with the community, we would be delighted.”
Bye Engineering was formed about a year ago by a group of former aviation executives to focus on aerospace consulting and alternative-energy engines for powering aircraft. The company, which is funded by private investors, has 25 employees and is growing rapidly, Bye said.
“We believe bio-fuels and electric power, when combined with the latest advancements in battery technology, has progressed to the point where it should be evaluated for use … in general aviation aircraft,” Bye said.
Although the company will keep its headquarters in the Denver area, Bye said the company wants to develop a facility in a clear-weather aviation center like the Valley for research, development and maybe manufacturing.
“Phoenix and many of the Southern tier states are wonderful aviation hubs,” he said. “Phoenix would be a great location for the kinds of things we’re doing.” He said the company’s work would require a hanger and other facilities.
He declined to say what other airports the company is investigating except to say “the usual suspects.” He didn’t disagree with suggestions that Falcon Field in Mesa, Chandler Municipal Airport and Scottsdale Airport are possibilities.
“I don’t want to give the impression that we have a preference,” he said.
Bye also declined to specify the types of incentives his company wants but said “we’re there to try to assist in the process.”