The UAF School of Management will honor Cliff and Robert Everts as its 42nd Business Leaders of the Year during a dinner and award ceremony at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, in the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel’s Gold Room, the first ever father-and-son duo to be recognized together.
Cliff Everts was born in Yonkers, New York to parents who had both emigrated from Germany. The youngest of five children, his interest in planes started in childhood and he took his first ride in an airplane at the age of 12. He started flying when he was 15, and soloed in a 1939 Taylorcraft before he even had a driver’s permit. When WWII began, Cliff signed up for the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which allowed him to attend ground and flight school.
Cliff traveled to Anchorage, Alaska in 1943 to work for Alaska Star Airlines (now Alaska Airlines). Soon after, he moved to Fairbanks and worked for Wien Airlines for 35 years. He married Betty Dailey in 1959 and together they have six children – five daughters and one son. In 1980, Cliff founded his own aviation enterprise, Everts Air Fuel. Cliff possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and launched several additional businesses over the years, including Alaska Rental and Sales (1960) and Airport Gas & Oil (1996).
In October 2007, Cliff received the Federal Aviation Administration Master Pilot Award. In 2011, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska International Airport System honored Cliff with a plaque at the East Ramp entrance to the airport, in honor of his commitment and support for aviation in Alaska. In 2013, he was inducted into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame, receiving the Alaska Aviation Entrepreneur Award.
Sadly, Cliff passed away on Dec. 7, 2017 at the age of 95. However, his and Rob’s nomination for the BLOY award was already underway and the Everts family agreed to accept the award for father and son as a memorial for Cliff.
Robert Everts followed his father Cliff into the aviation business, working for the family businesses while growing up and learning to fly at the age of 14. He first flew solo that summer in a Schweizer 233 Sail Plane, and earned his private pilot’s license at the young age of 17. He earned a BS in aeronautical science and became vice president of Everts Air Fuel in 1982. In 1992, he married Paula Bettano, and together they have two daughters, Claire and Caroline, who are both currently in college.
In 1993, Robert purchased Tatonduk Outfitters Limited, a Fairbanks-based air carrier providing scheduled services to interior Alaska villages, and expanded it to include large aircraft operations. In 2000, Robert purchased the former Mark Air Terminal – a 70,000 square foot facility that includes an aircraft hangar, maintenance shops, administrative offices, and more at the Fairbanks International Airport. He has continued expanding the business over the years, which now does business as Everts Air Cargo and Everts Air Alaska flying throughout Alaska, the Lower 48, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands.
Everts Air businesses are proud to employ over 300 Alaskans, as well as additional employees in the Lower 48, and Robert credits the success of his business in large part to his employees. He believes in treating his employees well and in giving them a voice and the ability to share their views with him and the others who manage the company. Through tough times of building businesses, the family has pulled together. This is a very close family, evident from the roster of people who work for various companies that are part of the Everts’ ventures. The expansion of these enterprises following Robert’s entry has been phenomenal. The entire family takes a keen interest in all of their employees and the employees’ welfare, viewing them as friends. Personally, both Cliff and Robert are people who place traditional family values quite high in a day and age where many owners simply do not have the time to devote to that most important thing in life. When asked what Cliff was most proud of, a smile would spread across his face and he would say: “I am most proud of my family, just who they are and everything they do.”1
Together, Cliff and Robert have done much to develop air cargo services in Alaska. They have mentored young pilots and those involved in the aviation industry, as their businesses have become training grounds for aspiring pilots, mechanics, and airline workers of all sorts. They have built a multimillion-dollar company in Alaska that provides service around the state, serving primarily Alaskans in both urban and rural areas; it has expanded to cover multiple air travel needs (cargo, passenger, fuel hauling, etc.), while still remaining based in Fairbanks. Their success can be credited to the foresight, tenacity, resilience, and sheer willpower of Cliff and Robert as they built and sustained these businesses. They serve as great models for the entrepreneurial spirit that is embraced by the Business Leader of the Year Award.
Join us in celebration! The Business Leader of the Year banquet and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the Westmark Hotel.