Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Delaware County, Pennsylvania: Business featured in new TV reality series - Airplane Repo

Amid the towering red rocks of the American Southwest, Ken Cage of Media pulled out a pair of black binoculars and peered at his target: A $180,000 Beechcraft Baron 58. 

The pursuit of it had taken him through various states and cost him thousands of dollars. Now, he risked losing it again as he and partner Danny Chapman sped around the narrow cliff roads of Arizona in a race to repossess the aircraft before the owner escaped again.

This chase was being videotaped as part of Discovery Channel’s new reality series, “Airplane Repo,” which premiers Thursday at 10 p.m. and showcases Cage, Mike Kennedy and Kevin Lacey of Texas.

“Being on a reality show is one thing,” Cage said. “Being on Discovery, that’s the big boy, like wow! It’s a little overwhelming and humbling to see.”

Cage, whose former employers include JP Morgan and DaimlerChrysler Financial Services, was looking for a career change in 2005, with his friend and fellow Sun Valley alum and Brookhaven resident, Bob Weeks, when they found International Recovery Group in Orlando, Fla., and they became hooked.

Eight years later, the allure has not dimmed, even after a day of nine repossessions over multiple states.

“It’s super intense,” Cage said. “I am super competitive. That’s the fun part for me. If I could compete 24/7, I would.”

It’s been described as a high-adrenaline, cat-and-mouse game.

“They are hiding it and I’m looking for it and who’s going to win,” Cage said. “If there’s going to be a ‘Who’s going to win?’ it has to be me.”

And, that comes from someone who doesn’t even know how to fly a plane.

“I have flown,” Cage said, “but from the right seat.”

In all of his work, his approach of respect has not changed.

“Most people are going to react the way you show them first,” Cage said, explaining that he usually talks to the former owners and says, “Come on, let’s not make any more of a scene than we need to.”

“They kind of know where you are,” he added. “There’s never any question about what’s going on. They act liked they’re shocked but in most cases, they know they haven’t made a payment in four months.”

Discovery Channel spokesman Mike Barrett said Cage was chosen as his company has successfully completed more than 1,200 repossessions of planes, boats and construction equipment, including ones that have occurred almost being run over by a car or facing the dangerous end of a gun.

Cage said over the years, his company has garnered some notoriety from the pages of the Wall Street Journal to the couch of Fox & Friends.

“We were pretty popular,” he said. “As far as repo companies out there, we’re probably the most known entity out there because of all this publicity.”

So, Los Angeles-based Undertow Productions searched for them to star on their 10-episode reality series.

“They’re extraordinarily talented,” Cage said. “They are extraordinarily qualified and they’re really good guys.”

In the segments, Cage is shown with partner, former bounty hunter and MMA fighter Danny Thompson of Charlotte, N.C.

“He makes me look good,” Cage said. “I think it’s a pretty good team he and I have. We get along great.”

As he makes his reality series debut, the Aston native has not forgotten his hometown.

When not hunting down planes and boats, he can be seen helping coach the Aston Valley 11-year-old all-stars as they head to the state playoffs for the second consecutive year.

As it nears, Cage said he can’t anticipate how the reality show will impact his business, but his enthusiasm is percolating.

“I’m just really proud of what Discovery is putting out there,” he said. “I think people are going to be really excited about it. I think it’s going to be fantastic. I hope people are going to watch. We’re super excited about it. We’re on edge, too. It’s the first tilt of the roller coaster ... I’m going to scream at the top of the hill. I know it’s going to be great.”

“Airplane Repo” featuring Ken Cage of the Delaware County-based International Recovery Group premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.


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