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Auburn Industry 2012 creates intrigue for the future

Exec of Sacramento telecom firm inspired by blend of aviation, business
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Peter Carruth, president of a telecommunications firm in Sacramento, came to Auburn Industry 2012 on a whim and he left the event at Auburn Airport flying high. From the various executives presentations to the tours, the event hosted by the city, Placer County and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce hit the sweet-spot for Carruth, as it opened his eyes to a blend of business opportunity, aviation and technology. Having recently evaluated his 5- and 10-year plan for his company, Strato Communications, Carruth said Friday’s event “greatly” planted a seed in his mind for the future. “Once I get the business established I really want to start focusing on getting back into aviation,” he said. “So this was an opportunity that was quite a blessing to be a part of.” He served six years in the 1990s at the Fairchild airbase as a B52 tailgunner, and throughout the day he heard stories from several business owners who not only set up shop at the airport but also frequent the runway. Asked how those conversations resonated with him, he said it gave him “the chills” just thinking about it. “It was very resonating for a couple reasons,” Carruth said. “One is there a huge aviation community up here that I did not know about. I was familiar with the airport, I do play golf here periodically and I was familiar that there was high-tech companies up here in Auburn, Grass Valley and Nevada City and tying these two together since this morning it has been amazing. “I was unaware of the business community up here.” Tom Dwelle, CEO of Flyers Energy, started the day by sharing stories about his personal planes through the years – from the time he said he flew with a nuclear weapon right up to his present-day aircrafts. Dwelle narrated a slideshow chronicling his aviation history. “This is the Cuban Missile Crisis, Oct. 22, 1962. That’s Second Lieutenant Tom Dwelle. That airplane had a nuclear weapon on it,” he said. “It was just a little one, but I could have started my 15 minutes of fame,” Dwelle said, drawing laughs from the audience. “In the history of the world, as far as I know, I’m the only second lieutenant to ever fly solo with a fully armed nuclear weapon and authority to use it, within rules of engagement, of course.” Flyers Energy has certainly blown up, and he said revenue projections from this year are $2.4 billion, up from $1.55 billion the previous year. “This is my 30th year on the airport, and we love it here we really truly love it here. Why? There’s airplanes here,” Dwelle said. “Imagine that. And that didn’t happen by accident. It’s above the fog and below the snow, by and large.” Executives who followed Dwelle’s presentation echoed those sentiments. Robb Moore, CEO of disaster-proof computer hardware company ioSafe, said he owns a small plane and the business park is “a sweet spot if you’re into aviation,” but even if a business owner is not, they can reap the accessibility advantages its presents. As for tech companies, the opportunity is prime, he said. “People don’t really think about this area this way, but I have had zero trouble getting engineers and people associated with technology,” Moore said. “There are a lot of big companies in this area … and lots of different companies in Roseville to tap talent from as well as Grass Valley.” Even renowned sculptor and artist Douglas Van Howd, whose gallery is in the industrial park, said he and his wife fly their plane out of the airport. Currently, Carruth’s airplane collection consists of models hanging from his walls, but he said he could possibly see Auburn as his landing strip down the road. He’s focused on his Sacramento location, which he said gives the company access to both freeways and he’s just blocks from the state Capitol, a sector where he hopes to be doing business soon. “It has certainly planted a seed in the long-term operations of where we want to be,” Carruth said. “This is certainly not out of the question because personally my heart is up in Northern California, in technology and aviation in the same respect, so seeing this light come about has been quite a blessing.” Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews