If someone compiled a book defining the American Dream, it would undoubtedly feature Greg and Brenda Rochna as ideal contemporary examples. Born the son of a mechanic, Greg grew up to serve his country, and later, with Brenda at his side, became a highly successful entrepreneur with an aircraft fleet at his disposal. The following is just a short look at their story and biggest success: Maverick Aviation.
The Foundational Ingredients: Piloting + Tourism + Entrepreneurship
Greg Rochna came of age at the height of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam, turning 16 just as the war declaration hit newsstands. He and many of his high school friends promptly enlisted and piloted helicopters throughout the Vietnam War.
Upon retiring from the army, Rochna stayed in the captain’s seat and flew helicopters for a touring business based in Hawaii. This experience gave him a first-hand look at the industry and helped him to understand the needs and wants of the customer base. It would be the seed that would eventually bloom into Maverick Aviation, but not for several years.
Greg and Brenda first moved to Las Vegas in search of entrepreneurial success. They needed seed money for their dream to germinate, as entering the tourism industry is no small feat. They began their journey in another field entirely: vertical window coverings. The Rochnas studied the city’s market and leveraged this previously overlooked niche to become the first Las Vegas company to sell vertical window coverings. It was an overwhelming success. They were able to sell the company a few years later for enough money to cover the down payment on their first helicopter.
The Birth and Success of Maverick Helicopters
Las Vegas is a city built on tourism. For Greg and Brenda to succeed, they knew they needed a brand that stood out, one focused on quality and customer service that never cut corners.
Brenda took over the backend work of organizing financials, scheduling tours and working the phones. Meanwhile, Greg took on the hats of pilot, mechanic, janitor and chauffeur. He picked up customers from their hotel, piloted them over the city lights and across the Grand Canyon and then cheerily drove them back to the Strip. They established a brand based on offering the best service, best maintenance and best safety standards, while steering away from cheap gimmicks like cut-throat price matching.
This VIP approach appealed to both customers and pilots. Their small helicopter operation slowly grew. Since first opening its doors in 1996, the company has grown to include 84 pilots based across five terminals: Las Vegas, Henderson Executive Airport, Grand Canyon West Rim, Grand Canyon South Rim and most recently, Maui, Hawaii after the Rochnas bought out that first helicopter tour company Greg worked at many years before.
To learn more of how Maverick expanded in those 20 years, check out this previous blog. Contact us at 1-888-261-4414 for a more personalized introduction and to make your reservation today!