Working 23 years at any one company is an accomplishment, but even more of an achievement when the company is nearly 25 years young. Tim Casey will retire from Garmin in August, at which point he will spend some well-deserved time with his wife of 45 years and have time to reflect on the amount of impact he has had on such a close-knit industry.
“It has been a wonderful and exhilarating journey from the GPS 100 to G5000, and every product in between. I am forever grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with so many amazing people with a common goal to do whatever it takes to win the business and serve our customers,” said Tim Casey. “In late 1990, I responded to an ad that read: For Fun and Growth Join Garmin. I never dreamed of how much fun and how much growth there could be. Garmin is an amazing story that I have had the privilege of contributing a few words.”
“This is the day that I have not been looking forward to,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation marketing and sales. “From the day Tim started work at Garmin, he dedicated himself to growing our business and creating a world-class network of dealers and talented sales team to serve them. For many years Tim has been the face of Garmin’s aviation business – everyone knows him. Tim has fun every day and you can’t help but laugh along with him as he tells stories about his experiences. Tim will be missed by all of us who had the privilege to work with him day in and day out. I thank him for his dedicated services to Garmin, our dealers and our customers – and I hope he swings by to see us from time to time.”
Tim Casey entered the aviation industry as an air traffic controller with the Navy in 1968. He was based at Top Gun in Miramar, which at the time was the second busiest air traffic control tower in the world. In 1971, he started as a controller with the FAA in Kansas City, working at various control towers in the Midwest. Tim describes his time spent as an air traffic controller as, “95% boredom and 5% pure terror.” The Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) eventually moved out of the Kansas City area in 1986 where Tim found himself still involved in the aviation industry.
In December of 1990, Tim noticed a job posting from a small company in Lenexa (which, several months later would officially be named Garmin) for an Aviation Marketing Manager. Throughout a series of interviews, Tim vividly recalls Garmin co-founder Gary Burrell handing him the GPS 100 and asking, “What do you think?” Tim politely asked a few questions and offered some suggestions. After several meetings with Burrell, co-founder Dr. Min Kao, and Senior Flight Test Pilot, Doug Carlson encompassing a total of six interviews, Tim was hired as (roughly) the 25th employee on March 1, 1991.
The introduction of the GPS 100 came soon after Tim was hired. On the heels of the GPS 100, the GNS 430 was soon put on the roadmap, which was introduced a few years later at the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) Convention in 1998. He describes this product as a “game-changer” within the industry – one Tim is particularly proud of. He describes pulling FLYING magazine’s Robert Goyer, into a conference room just prior to the announcement, handing him a prototype of the GNS 430 and watching him work his way through the industry-first GPS NAV/COM. Robert’s response: “Tim, this is going to change everything.”
Of course Tim’s career wouldn’t be complete without mention of the portable product line, which he also takes a lot of pride in. The introduction of the first aviation portable, the 55 AVD came shortly after Tim’s date of hire and was the first portable to feature an aviation database. The most memorable show for Tim was in 1995 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin when Garmin introduced the GPS 90, which featured an aviation navigation database, complete with a moving map, runway diagrams, airport frequencies and airspace alerts. According to Tim, over 4,000 GPS 90’s were sold during the week of EAA AirVenture that year.
Anyone within the aviation industry will quickly tell you it’s a small community made up of close-knit friendships and life-long friends. Tim reaffirmed that by always telling his sales team, “the first 18 months of this job is hard, but you will spend the rest of your career visiting your friends.” As Tim Casey wraps up 23 years at Garmin and an entire career in the aviation industry that “gets in your blood,” he says, “I’ve been blessed to wake up everyday and never have had to work a day in my life.”
Tim’s success stretches far beyond his career as he celebrates 45 years of marriage to his wife Sharon this year. Tim describes his wife as his “rock” of support while he had the opportunity to go out and have all of the fun throughout his aviation career. Without Sharon by his side, Tim said with a brief moment of pause, “I wouldn’t be anything without her.”
We at Garmin will miss Tim’s innumerable contributions, positive spirit and infectious laughter, but we wish him the best in his much-deserved retirement.