[an error occurred while processing this directive] This article is from the EMU News Archive. The approximate date of publication was in April 2006. Current EMU news is available at www.emu.edu/news

Crossroads:
mileposts

Alum Named 'Businessman of the Year'

Flying below the radar is nothing new to Karl Stolzfus (72), the owner of Bridgewater-based Dynamic Aviation, the company he began decades ago in 1967.

?We?re not a large business in terms of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, so we?re a little off the radar screen here,? he says.

But they are well-known in the international field of aviation for plane modifications and maintenance. The company currently has 215 employees and 130 aircraft, with plans for a $4.1 million expansion and addition of 150 employees over the next four or five years. Revenue has increased 25 percent during the past five years, thanks in part to additional government contracts for airborne data collection, fire management and other aerial applications.

And that?s drawing some attention. At its annual banquet earlier this year, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce honored the veteran aviator by naming him businessman of the year.

Stolzfus, surprised and honored by the award, is quick to credit his employees, adding ?the values and ethics of people here in the Shenandoah Valley are just incredible.?

Originally from Coatesville, Pa., near Philadelphia, Stolzfus came to EMU at the age of 27 and soon decided to stay. After graduation, he and his family settled in Mt. Crawford.

He points to his studies at EMU as a turning point in his early life.

?My education was phenomenal,? he says. ?As a business major, the critical thinking skills and foundation I developed were permanent, and the interdisciplinary approach let me really delve into other subjects, too. The academic setting was so enjoyable, and I knew at the time that I was part of something special. The opportunity to learn was simply incredible.?

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And learn he did, incorporating his own experiences as a pilot and world traveler into his product and way of business.

?Travel brings a perspective to my work, shows me how to balance a world view rather than just an American view of my business and my product,? he says. Recent sojourns have taken him as far as Algeria and Afghanistan.

?But there?s just something about the Valley,? he says. ?It?s a wonderful place to come home to.?

?Marcy Gineris