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Fueled by an idea

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Ian Gronau | April 27, 2014

TOWN OF SPRING PRAIRIE — One thing a lifetime of buying, selling and flying corporate aircraft has taught Williams Bay resident Gary Meisner is that owning a plane can be incredibly expensive. Both he and his clients have to constantly take into consideration the costs associated with airplane maintenance — insurance, storage, operation and, of course, fuel.

Meisner also knows that as fuel costs rise, so too will the costs of owning an airplane. But if you had told him 10 years ago that he'd soon find himself investing in some of the most cutting-edge alternative fuel research happening in the world, he probably wouldn't have believed you.

After holding a variety of aviation jobs, he used his experience to start putting buyers and sellers together on airplanes he knew were coming up for sale. It wasn't long before his dealings blossomed into a business, and in 1979 he founded Meisner Aircraft. Today, alongside his sons Chris and Brad, he handles the purchase and sale of corporate aircraft all over the world from his hangars at Burlington Municipal Airport.

It was serendipity that led Meisner to make his investment in alternative fuel research. Bryan Blatt of Bozeman, Mont., a friend and fellow aircraft salesman, was paging through the local paper when he happened upon a press release posted by Montana State University and Dr. Gary Strobel advertising a patent on a fungus that produces diesel fuel.

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