Apex Aviation Expands at
North Las Vegas Airport (VGT)
Appoints Val Sutherland as New Facility Manager
Val Sutherland was recently appointed the new Facility Manager for Apex Aviation’s North Las Vegas location. The promotion comes on the heels of a major move from their old space on Perimeter Rd. to a much bigger, more beautiful space at 2634 Airport Drive, Suite 106, North Las Vegas Airport (VGT). Apex Aviation, a long time authorized Robinson Service Center, was prompted by customers to add more hangar space; and add they did; the new space boasts 19,000 square feet.
Apex Aviation CEO Scott Bullock’s ability to pick well-rounded leaders is born out yet again in his choice of Val Sutherland, a person with military, airline and general aviation experience.
VGT is in Good Hands with Val Sutherland
Sutherland became hooked on aviation as a child. He grew up on a dairy farm whose backyard bordered the perimeter fence of Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado. The combined forces of mowing the lawn and plane gazing by the fence, his grandfather’s encouragement to broaden his horizons, and the movie Top Gun, led Val to join the Navy when he was 18.
While in the Navy, he was an AMH, Aircraft Mechanic Hydraulic Systems Specialist, in two squadrons, working on F-14 Tomcats (very near and dear to him) and as aircrew on the anti-radar aircraft EA-6B Prowlers which is where he got injured from a faulty ejection seat. With a titanium rod in his arm, Val was forced to choose a different path and was soon with another squadron requiring flight crew status as an aero-photographer in Diego Garcia, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It was there that he became involved with anti-submarine warfare, tracking submarines from friendly and non-friendly nations. While in the Navy, he earned a degree in Aviation Sciences.
“I’ve been turning wrenches probably since I was 14 years old. It’s all I know.” In high school, he was a mechanic for a Championship Drag Racing Team and would travel with them during summer breaks. He’s been in aviation, as a mechanic on aircraft, for the most of 31 years.
After the Navy, Sutherland got a job with United Airlines, and that took him from Colorado to San Antonio, TX, to Las Vegas, NV. He stayed with United until 9/11 and then went to work in a casino as a slot tech. While there, he became Michael Gaughan’s in-flight mechanic accompanying Gaughan and his son to Nascar races all over the country on weekends as their Flight Engineer.
He left the casino industry after a few years due to second-hand smoke issues and started his own business – a massage therapy spa that would afford him the luxury of having somebody on staff to attend to his mother’s health problems. He kept that business for four years and decided to sell it after his mother passed. Then it was back to aviation.
Val joined American Spirit Helicopter Tours at VGT and stayed there for two years until it folded. From there, he went to Grand Canyon Airlines in Boulder City and was swing shift maintenance supervisor for three years until the 90-mile round trip commute with construction delays began to take its toll. He joined Apex Aviation in April of 2017 as a mechanic.
A Glimpse into Val Sutherland
Sutherland is currently married to his wife, Judy. He enjoys going to Disneyland two or three times a year with Jacob, his 18-year-old son who also works at Apex as a tool room attendant. He reads a LOT of maintenance manuals, FARs and AC 43.13 circulars by day, but in the evening, you’ll usually find him watching movies, predominantly sci-fi. He’s a self-proclaimed Star Wars nut, loves playing video games (mostly racing games, Star Wars, and Storm Troopers), building airplane models, drag racing, flying his remote-controlled helicopter, and reading Marvel comic books. Favorite superhero? Iron Man!
Val likes the general aviation industry more than the airline industry because “when you work in general aviation, you’re working more with the pilots. You’re closer to the customer; they’re like family, almost. It’s very similar to the dairy farm where you knew everyone and treated them like family.”
“I like working at Apex. It’s a good environment, good people.”