Unless you own a plane or are in the aviation business, you’ve probably never heard of Goldwings Supply Service.
It’s one of the longest running businesses at Honolulu airport, and now the company serves more than just aviation. In fact, it’s working to make us, and the world around us safer on many levels.
The company’s president, Lia Young Hunt, knows a thing or two about airplanes. She is certified as both a pilot and airplane mechanic.
“Flight fascinates me and I can stand in this airfield and look out across the blue lights and it’s home,” she said.
Goldwings Supply Service sells everything right down to the very nuts and bolts for airplanes, ranging from single-engine Cessnas to the jet airplanes we all fly on to travel interisland and beyond.
“Mid Pacific Air, Aloha Airlines, Island Air. These are all our customers that we stuck it through with them and lost a little bit along the way, but we gained so much in the end. It’s really been a treat to be involved in,” Hunt said.
Although she prefers to fly under the radar, so to speak, the company her father founded in the ’80s and she took over five years ago is now soaring and expanding.
“Goldwings Supply Service is an aviation company at first, and we have evolved into a technical solutions company. Our tagline now is modernizing safety in air, land, and sea,” she said.
From airfield lighting to solar solutions to roadway safety systems, call it diversity borne out of disaster – specifically the attacks of 9/11 that turned the airport into a ghost town.
“You could hear a pin drop out here. It was quite eerie, and I always say that the silence was deafening,” Hunt said. “It allowed us to really take a step back and look at who are we in this industry and where are we going.”
Part of that step back was tapping into her years as a volleyball player player here, then at Santa Clara University, and ultimately as a professional beach volleyball player.
“It definitely gave me the skills to step into this arena and one, do the research, get certified, get myself armed and be prepared,” Hunt said, “and also collaboration, just like team sports, all my customers, we work collectively together to find a solution.
“We’re are very excited about what the future holds, and I feel that aviation prepared us for that being in a very regulated industry with fast-paced, high-demand superior products, performance, all those things,” Hunt added.
Even as the company continues to move forward, Hunt says she’ll always remain grounded and stay true to the company’s roots.
“Small businesses have different problem than large businesses, for sure. You feel every nick and bump. We just redid our website and branding, and the statement that has hit home is kind of a motto now, which is with Hawaiian values that we conduct the art of business and deliver the art of possible, and that’s really where we’re at right now.”
For Hunt, her hangar and airfield represent much more than just a place of business. It’s the place she calls home.
“Just being raised on this airfield, some people have known me for more than 30 years, and I look at some of these buildings and say oh, I jumped off that block when I was a kid,” Hunt said. “It’s such a gift to look out, see the airfield, see the windsock, and do my navigational air checks, say oh, there’s our runway closure markers out there. Good stuff. Good stuff.”