BRS Seeks New CEO

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During 12 1/2 years with Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS), CEO Mark Thomas led the company's evolution from a strapped-for-cash operation that lost money on every transaction to a fast-growing, profitable industry player with a product that at last count had saved 176 lives. Last week, Thomas announced that he's ready to move on. "It's a very amicable breakup," he told AVweb on Tuesday. "It's been one heck of a run. It's been fun. ... But it's just the right time for me." Robert Nelson, chairman of the board, has been named interim CEO while the company searches for Thomas's replacement. "I'm working with the company on a transition plan, and BRS is poised and ready to grow," Thomas said. Thomas said he plans to take some time off and recharge his batteries, but then expects to be working on new projects. "My non-compete agreement limits my options for working in general aviation for two years," he said. "But I'm definitely not ready to retire." BRS, based in South St. Paul, Minn., designs, manufactures and distributes whole-aircraft emergency parachute systems for general aviation and recreational aircraft. Since the early 1980s, BRS has delivered over 19,000 parachute systems to aircraft owners around the world, including over 1,500 systems on certified aircraft such as those built by Cirrus Design. "Mark has done a great job in seeing our company through some significant growth," Nelson said in a news release. "We wish him the best."