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Vet earns award for her Keene business

U.S. Small Business Administration
April 18. 2018 6:55PM

Elizabeth Bendel, who served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Naval Reserve, owns Monadnock Aviation in Keene. (U.S. Small Business Administration)

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Naval Reserve who served in the Philippines, Japan and the Pentagon as an aviation intelligence officer is the owner of the Keene business that has been named the SBA’s New Hampshire Veteran Owned Business of the Year.

Elizabeth Bendel is approaching a 10th anniversary in ownership of Monadnock Aviation Inc., which offers flight training, and fuel and services for planes.

Employment has increased from 3 to 10 employees, revenues have consistently grown and services have expanded to include classes for both ground and air certifications, which are conducted year-round in the classroom and simulator. The classes, with students ranging from 14 to 84 years of age, have provided training for nearly 300 individuals to be licensed for personal recreational flying and several who have gone further to earn commercial pilot status.

Bendel will be recognized at the NH SBA Small Business Awards event Wednesday, May 2, at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford.

“Elizabeth Bendel has done an outstanding job in making aviation in the Monadnock region a true regional asset,” said Greta Johansson, the SBA district director for New Hampshire, “and, like veteran business owners across the state, she is capable, confident, willing to take risks and committed to (helping) others. It is an honor to celebrate her success and her service.”

Bendel earned a Master of Science degree in strategic intelligence during her military service, and further earned several Navy Achievement Medals and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Elizabeth’s introduction to aviation was early in her career at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in the Philippines, working with P-3 Orion aircraft. It was there she discovered her love for aviation and became a pilot.

Following her service, she became a federal law enforcement officer and used her training and skills in intelligence operations to pursue and apprehend drug dealers and international child pornography traffickers.

In 2008, with a broad background in public service and an understanding of aviation and government processes, Bendel sought out opportunities in the field of aviation.

While living in Florida, she discovered an opportunity in New Hampshire that could combine her interest in business and her passion for aviation. She was able to secure an agreement with the city of Keene to be the provider for aviation services at the local airport.

As a new business owner, Bendel found help in town from SCORE, which assisted her with business planning and financing. She was able to secure an SBA loan to construct a new hanger building at the airport, and also received help from the SBA’s Veterans Business Outreach Center, Women’s Business Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Bendel is active in her community in Keene and the surrounding towns. She has volunteered professional services and tours to local scouts and has produced two airshows. She has served on the board of directors for the Samaritans suicide and crisis hotline, as well as on the board of directors for the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce.

For additional information on Monadnock Aviation, visit www.

For information on the NH SBA Small Business Awards event, contact Warren Haggerty at (603) 225-1405 or To register for the event, visit

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