ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. --- Brothers Frank and Rick Bagnasco are helping to fuel a global mission under the Florida sun.
The co-CEOs of Nasco Aerospace and Electronics lead a small business that supplies Boeing’s KC-46 program, which has delivered 69 KC-46A Pegasus tankers to the U.S. Air Force and 2 to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
The duo founded this wholesale stocking distributor by combining their diverse skillsets. Older brother Frank moved from Long Island, New York, to west-central Florida to work as an applications engineer. Rick, who had a background in business, joined his brother in the Sunshine State to launch the company in 2001.
Today – 22 years after its inception – Nasco’s global impact supporting the world’s most advanced multi-mission aerial refueler isn’t lost on its founders.
“I tell my kids about it. I tell friends about it. I tell everybody about it – that we had a part in this,” Rick said.
“We all take a personal pride to knowing that we're supporting the warfighter and making sure that they come home safely,” Frank said.
Nasco is one of more than 650 suppliers in communities across the nation that deliver parts to support the KC-46A. These businesses combine to employ more than 37,000 American workers.
Quality manager Woody Hewett, who works in Nasco’s warehouse alongside his son, Jereamy, feels a special pride each time he spots a KC-46A in the sky.
“We're very proud that the KC-46 is flying with our parts in it,” Hewett said. “We’re happy that we can help this nation stay secure.”
Nasco contributes bushings, light towers and X-ray units to the program, according to senior procurement specialist Tracey Geyer. Bushings allow rotating parts to move without the need for lubrication. Light towers help airmen work in dark conditions on the flight line. And X-ray units enable crews to perform non-destructive aircraft inspections.
A former police officer for more than a decade, Geyer now ensures her community’s safety and security in a different way.
“It’s special to me. It’s special to the entire, what I call my ‘family’ at Nasco.” Geyer said. “To be able to support our military, our allies and do it through Boeing, it's pretty amazing.”
Businesses like Nasco create crucial economic benefit in the region. Nasco is located in a HUBZone, which stands for Historically Underutilized Business Zone. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, this means that at least 35% of its employees must live within the HUBZone region.
“It gives us an opportunity to hire people who live in a HUBZone and give them the opportunity to be in this industry and excel and increase their income and development,” Rick Bagnasco explained. “It’s a win-win with the government and with the community.”
Nasco’s growth and impact – both locally and globally – is humbling to the Bagnasco brothers.
“Just to see how we've grown from modest beginnings when it was just my brother and me to hiring some talented people and giving them the resources to succeed has been amazing,” Frank Bagnasco said. “Now our company has become a top 50 authorized distributor in the United States, according to Electronics Sourcing North America.”
“To think that two guys coming out of Seaford, Long Island and moving down to Florida can be a part of something so huge by supporting the KC-46 program,” Rick Bagnasco continued, “it’s just an absolute honor and it's a success story.”
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.