Local mechanic wins North Dakota Aviation Mechanic of the Year

Chuck Wickenhofer
Tanner Sotvik, owner of Devils Lake Aero Service, was awarded Aviation Mechanic of the Year last month.

The North Dakota Aviation Mechanic of the Year was awarded last month, and the winner was Tanner Sotvik, who owns Devils Lake Aero Service.

Originally from Aneta, Sotvik revealed his motivation for getting into the aircraft maintenance field.

“I’m a farm kid; I grew up fixing stuff,” Sotvik said. “I was a good mechanic, and aviation mechanic was really the best paid mechanic job, so I decided to go into it.”

According to Sotvik, Devils Lake Aero Service works on aircraft from around the region, and the reputation his business has built helped him win the award.

“I repair local airplanes, and we span about a 100 mile radius of Devils Lake. We work on airplanes from Rugby, Maddock, Lakota, New Rockford, Carrington, Oakes, kind of all over the place,” Sotvik said. “I do some mechanic work for UND, and one of the mechanics there nominated me.”

Sotvik reports that he has been plying his trade in the city for seven years.

“I moved here and started an aircraft mechanic shop up here in 2009,” Sotvik said. “That was my reason for moving to Devils Lake, to start my shop at the airport.”

Not only will the award likely enhance his already solid reputation, there is also a financial consideration attached. Though Sotvik appreciates the recognition, the attention generated from the award does not seem to interest him.

“It’s a $500 check for getting Mechanic of the Year, (and) I got a nice wood plaque in the mail,” Sotvik said. “There’s a banquet that I have to go in front of everybody and get some pictures taken.”

Sotvik plans to use the award money to invest in his shop.

“I’m going to put (the money) back into the business,” Sotvik said. “I think we do good work. There’s three mechanics at the airport, and we stay pretty busy.”

Though the Aviation Mechanic of the Year award is the first time he’s been recognized for the quality of his work, Sotvik doesn’t seem to need added motivation to perform well at his chosen trade.

“I got lucky,” Sotvik said. “I really enjoy what I do.”