Avionics News January 2017 - 65
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sold Cal Labs to Johnny and Donna Davis, founders
of Dallas Avionics, with the view to have Cal Labs
do the calibration work for Dallas Avionics. With that
built-in business, Cal Labs thrived and continued to
grow. Correa said, "When I arrived in 1994, we did a
lot of electrical calibrations, but we have expanded our
capabilities to include mechanical tools like calipers,
micrometers, air data test sets, et cetera."
A few years later, Cal Labs' then-general manager
decided to leave, and Johnny Davis approached two
employees, one of whom was Correa, and told them to
get together to decide which one of them should be the
next general manager. "The other man was an Air Force
retiree who didn't want the complications of a general
manager job," Correa said. "He was happy where he
was, so I said yes to the job."
Correa holds fond recollections of Johnny Davis. "He
was active in the industry and one of those gentlemen
who still did business via a handshake," Correa noted.
"People trusted him. Everyone knew him. He hired
top people, built something great and wasn't afraid of
surrounding himself with the best people, some of whom
are still around. Sometimes, after 22 years, I still feel
like the new guy.
"When I started managing, he told me that the people
I come in contact know what they're talking about and
to respect that. When a customer calls with a complaint,
he told me to keep that in mind and take the comments
seriously. Johnny wanted to help the industry and
wanted us to support the industry in any way we could."
To this day, Correa takes part in industry advisory
boards and works with local schools that offer aviation
programs. "We're there, and we never say no," he said.
As for his family, Correa's three children are now
grown, and he and his wife are enjoying life. "She is the
smart one in the household," Correa said. "She has three
or four more years until retirement, and she's thinking
about what she wants to do next. When she's busy, she
thinks about what else she can do."
They love to travel, both to Puerto Rico and to
Las Vegas, although neither gamble. They go for the
ambience and people watching.
When it comes to managing people, Correa has one
strong guiding principle. He wants his staff to do things
right the first time. "I have one metric when it comes
to business, and that's customer retention," he said.
Correa surveys equipment awaiting maintenance with the goal of
returning units to customers as quickly as possible.
"Sales will take care of the economy going up and down
with good years and bad. We try to keep every single
customer we have, and to do that, we must make sure
that no unit ever comes back. We do everything possible
to ensure the job is done right."
Correa noted that Cal Labs charges quite a bit of
money for one piece of paper, and added, "Keeping
that in mind, we want to make sure customers get their
money's worth." For Cal Labs, Correa said its bread and
butter are smaller shops. We have some big customers,
but the customers who pay our bills are typically small
businesses with no more than five people working in the
company. They can't afford to have test equipment not
working, and they need to get equipment back quickly
as they can't afford to turn business away. We rarely
lose customers. We do approximately 8,000 calibrations
a year, and every year we gain more." q
To learn more about Cal Labs, visit callabsinc.com.