It is a humbling experience to hear the praises of how well Chem-Man has helped the operators who use it. Everyone at Chem-Man ﬁnds doing what we do to be so rewarding because of the positive impact Chem-Man has on the operators who implement our product into their spray programs. Mrs. Regina and I have always believed that the best opportunities for promoting Chem-Man are through word of mouth and customer testimonials. That is why I feel it is important to highlight some of those conversations and stories from those operators who use Chem-Man so that we can help share ﬁrst-hand how beneﬁcial using a product like ours is.
The ﬁrst person whose discussion I will share with the readers in a series of more to come ﬁrst- hand accounts resonates particularly with me for many reasons. I would consider this person a close friend, but I have also had the privilege of working for this man for many years. Through my years of employment with him, I became introduced to Chem-Man and ultimately laid the foundation and framework for my current career with Chem-Man. I want to introduce a man who needs no introduction, as his deep roots and involvement within the industry have established a well-recognized name. I present to you Michael Hutchins.
Michael has had an astonishing presence within the industry years ago, with ﬁrst holding a position on the Arkansas Agricultural Aviation Association (AAAA) board beginning in 2008. Since then, he has served in every position on the board of the AAAA, including Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President, and currently serves as the AAAA President. In 2013, he completed the NAAA leadership training program, where he learned to communicate the role of aerial application in our nation’s agriculture effectively. Michael served on the board of the NAAA as a State Representative for three years. In 2017, Michael was appointed by the Governor of Arkansas to serve a 5-year term on the board of the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. Michael recently received the Opal and Bill Binnion Memorial Award in 2023 for his efforts to educate the public about aerial application.
Michael’s career in ag aviation began in 1991 when he worked at Custom Air at the Clarendon Municipal Airport in Roe, Arkansas. Michael started out loading during the summers after high school. He then began working towards ﬂying and transitioned to ﬂying in addition to groundwork while in college. He became a full-time pilot in 1996. Michael continued ﬂying for 11 years and found the opportunity to acquire ownership of Custom Air in 2007, where he still ﬂies to this day. Since his early days of working on the ground, he has expanded his endeavors and acquired several companies centered on aviation that are widely diverse in geographic locations and types of work. His current ownership of companies includes, as previously mentioned, Custom Air, Inc., located in Roe, AR; Grand Prairie Dusters, located in Almyra, AR; and Coastal Air Strike, located in Immokalee, FL. Aside from his businesses centered around the operational use of ﬁxed-wing aircraft for dispensing products, Michael also owns an aircraft parts manufacturing division (Custom Air Innovations). Over 13 years, he has received 3 STCs for agricultural aircraft. Although Michael is based out of his Custom Air location, he often ﬁnds himself traveling extensively across the United States to conduct business for Coastal Air Strike. While Coastal Air Strike has an agricultural-centered workload based in Southern Florida, Coastal Air Strike also boasts an impressive ﬂeet of aerial ﬁreﬁghting aircraft consisting of SEAT and Fireboss airplanes. Coastal takes care of many ﬁre contracts over a wide span of areas ranging from the East Coast, West Coast, Southern Texas, and Florida to Northern Minnesota.
To say that Michael is a busy man would be a true understatement. When asked if there are any speciﬁc tools he uses to help keep up with all the moving parts and intricacies of the many businesses he owns and manages, his reply is, “Chem-Man, of course.” He goes on to say… “Having the luxury of a program like Chem-Man allows me to be anywhere, whether I’m in a hotel working on a ﬁre contract and wanting to check on things with Custom Air, or I’m in Arkansas and want to check on things in Florida for Coastal’s ag spraying, I can conveniently log on and monitor scheduling for the workload and review all of the ﬁnancial aspects of each business.” Michael expressed to me how cost eﬃcient it is to have a program like Chem-Man and how much money he has saved on labor and workforce costs. “Having businesses located in various parts of the United States, it’s been great to have the ability to schedule work, make maps, send those jobs wirelessly through Chem-Man’s sync features, bill and invoice that work, and enter payments and keep tabs of customer’s balances all remotely from other central locations without having to have someone placed at every location to perform the same task.”
We love to hear feedback such as Michael’s, and it has been genuinely great both from a personal standpoint of my own but also from Chem-Man’s perspective, seeing everything that Michael has accomplished and achieved. We greatly appreciate Michael allowing us to meet his need for an operational management tool, and we are glad to say that utilizing a product like Chem-Man will enable you to have your cake and eat it, too.