This week, Sonex made the formal announcement that the family-owned and -operated company has been acquired by another member of the “family,” longtime team member Mark Schaible.
The acquisition includes the assets of both Sonex Aircraft, LLC, and Sonex Aerospace, LLC. These entities will combine under the newly formed Sonex, LLC. All of the current employees will be retained in the move, and former owner John Monnett will stay on as a “lifetime emeritus advisor” and part of Sonex’s new advisory board.
“Being the new owner of Sonex is incredibly important to me on so many levels,” said Schaible in an interview with FLYING. “On a personal level, it’s the fulfillment of dreams I’ve had of owning a homebuilt aircraft business since I was a teenager and EAA member making airplane designs on my dad’s old drafting table and building a wind tunnel out of a giant old wooden console TV cabinet.
“While I’ve been with Sonex for over 18 years, it’s time to truly run the show.”
Schaible joined Sonex in 2003 packing boxes in the warehouse. He then built the company website, and moved into sales and purchasing. He has since held increasing positions of responsibility within the company.
Keeping the Family Ties
Critical to Schaible was stabilizing the company’s future in a way that allows Monnett to retire yet still be involved in a substantial and meaningful way.
“That is really important to our staff and their families, to John and his family in the fact that his legacy will continue, and of course it’s important to all of our great customers who have invested in us with their kit orders and rely upon us to support them through completion of their projects and beyond.”
The company was founded by patriarch John Monnett in 1998, and he led Sonex with son Jeremy Monnett until Jeremy’s death in an aircraft accident in June 2015.
Schaible joined Sonex in 2003 as the marketing manager, and he has held increasing positions of responsibility within the company. Heather Zahner—previously Sonex’s customer service and human resources manager—is now the general manager. Zahner has been with Sonex since 2005. Kerry Fores rounds out the new management team as technical support manager.
On Tap for the Future?
Under Schaible, Sonex will continue its plans to develop new kit-built models that expand the company’s reach, rather than competing with what they’ve already presented to the market.
“When it comes to plans for the future, we see some really great things on the horizon,” Schaible said. These include the two-place version of the SubSonex Personal Jet, on track to debut at EAA AirVenture this summer, and the Sonex High Wing concept.
“We are looking forward to expanding our engine installation support for Rotax and UL Power engine options,” he said. “We have some concepts for new products in our AeroConversions product line. And, of course, our Sonex Aerospace product line is set to be an area of explosive growth for our company with production of the Teros UAS and other unmanned vehicles for government and commercial customers.”