Engineer who founded Semmco finds solace in sailing and skiing

Stuart McOnie
Founder & Managing Director, Semmco
Airlines usually have name recalls even for those who probably haven't traveled. And behind every airline's operations are a host of other companies supplying necessary parts, products or services unbeknown to many of us. Semmco, an innovative British engineering company that designs and manufactures ground support equipment and aviation access platforms for the aviation, rail and helicopter industries, is among these companies that make it possible for airlines to best serve passengers’ convenience and safety including rails, freighter aircraft and helicopters. Semmco began its operations in 1993 in the UK with a small quantity of orders from British Airways to produce oxygen control panels recalls its Founder and Managing Director Stuart McOnie. McOnie, an engineer, told Air Cargo Update British Airways then placed another order for notches and control panels, among others, giving rise to Semmco's reputation as a specialized supplier of aviation products in the industry. “The business is now celebrating its 25th year. We started in the industry by supplying oxygen control panels to British Airways,” McOnie recalled. Today, McOnie's company, which began with just two employees had since grown to 42, with major global companies as clients. Last year, it opened its new facility in Dubai South with the Middle East increasingly becoming an important market for their products and services. The company counts as among its clients Emirates, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, flydubai, Cathay Pacific, Gulfstream, military, among many others. McOnie says the secret to their longevity in the very competitive aviation industry is staying positive and having realistic objectives. “Stay positive at all times. Stay focused. Have an objective. Write your objectives down. See if you have accomplished them, if not, set realistic objectives for the following year,” the entrepreneur shared. With his company already established in the industry and his two children both grown-up, McOnie says he spends his free time sailing with his family in the UK and nearby areas with their 35-ft sail boat. “I spend it with my family and my wife. We go sailing or skiing or traveling together visiting customers,” said McOnie when asked how he spends his free time. “We sail in the UK to relax,” he says, adding that the freedom that comes along with sailing with just the wind taking them to places makes every journey a unique experience. During winter, the family travels to France, Austria or Switzerland, to ski—living and loving life.