Nittany Express, Inc., a State College based transportation company, is expanding into a new office building and extended parking lot near the University Park Airport. The new facility, owned by Omar and Carol Ahmed, will host 220 spots to accommodate public and rental car parking along with car wash bays, light maintenance services, a refueling station, electric car chargers, and an RV dumping station. These services will go far to enhance the University Park Airport traveler experience.
Mr. Ahmed’s experience in the State College airline industry dates back to October 2001 when he started the Nittany Express Airport Shuttle at the University Park Airport. However, his passion for the industry began much earlier. Omar holds both an associate degree in Aviation and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While obtaining his degrees, Ahmed volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and was honored with several awards for outstanding leadership. Omar’s accolades increased as he became a professional airline pilot for US Airways Express and was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration for excellent safety compliance.
Omar’s qualifications and experience ultimately prepared him to lead a successful business venture in State College. Nittany Express Inc. initially served as a shuttle service for Centre County, but ultimately grew from having one vehicle to a fleet of 15 and from one employee to over 25, which allowed them to serve residents across larger sections of the East coast.
With increased success came the opportunity to expand. In 2019, Omar took his vision to local lender Kish Bank. Kish recognized Ahmed’s potential to qualify for a Small Business Association loan and referred him to the Penn State SBDC for support with the application and business development process. Through free one-on-one consulting with business consultant John Peterson, Omar was able to access customized market research, obtain document assistance for his loan package, and develop a solid business plan to obtain a commercial loan.
Mr. Ahmed also worked with John Reichard of SEDA-COG to process the local SBA 504 loan application and approval process, and with Kristie McKnight of Kish Bank for the SBA application.
When it opens in the Spring of 2020, the Nittany Express Inc. Main Terminal will provide numerous economic benefits for Centre County, including increased value to the University Park Airport and the creation of 6-8 new jobs. The new facility will also “provide convenient services for airport patrons and the traveling public” said Omar. “We aim to serve others and that includes other local businesses.”
With a stable infrastructure and Omar and Carol Ahmed at the helm, Nittany Express Inc. is poised to drive Centre County airport growth and innovation.