Our History

Our History

In terms of AGS’ history, Kassa Maru, founder, Chairman and President, graduated with an Aircraft Engineering diploma from the Ethiopian Air Force.  Kassa was at one time a flight engineer, a licensed Aviation A&P (air-frame and power plant) Technician and worked for Ethiopian Airlines.  When he started at Ethiopian he was in materials management. While at Ethiopian he was seconded to Yemen Airways in Yemen to set up their purchasing and procurement department. 

After being in Yemen for about a year he decided to immigrate to the US, where he joined Aviation Systems International, Inc. as their Vice President of International Sales.  Three years later, ASI hired Kassa’s brother Melesse, straight from college in Connecticut, to oversee their purchasing for international sales.

Kassa, as Vice President - International Sales, grew ASI’s international business to be greater than their domestic sales.  Prior to Kassa’s joining ASI, they were a domestic US only supplier and broker.

After about 5 years at ASI, during which time the Maru brothers studied every facet of the business, Kassa and Melesse were ready to launch their own enterprise.  The brothers proved to be a potent business combination. Kassa had the technical, aviation industry and sales experience, while Melesse handled the financial and economic aspects of the operation.

The Early Days

The Maru brothers founded American General Supplies, Inc. in Chicago in the fall of 1982.   During that 5 year period, the Chicago winter’s proved harsh and uncomfortable for the recent immigrants from Ethiopia.  They just weren't used to the cold.  That led to Kassa’s decision to move AGS and the Maru family to the mid-Atlantic region of East coast in search of a milder climate.

The Next Big Thing

AGS originally set-up shop in Rockville Maryland but quickly out grew their initial office square footage.  When the opportunity arose, AGS took over the office and warehouse space on both sides of the original office.  By 1992, after 2 expansions, there was no other space to grow into at their Goode Drive, Rockville Maryland location.  Ultimately, AGS moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland and purchased its own building, near Montgomery County Air Park.

Another New Idea

By the mid-1990’s, many of the AGS’ long loyal customers had approached AGS  about providing them with in-flight services and products such as catering, wines, liquors, china and glassware, head sets, amenity kits, blankets and all manner of things associated with world class in-flight services.  They managed to convince Kassa to open such a business to support their airlines.

Thus, in 1996, Zodiac Aviation Support, Inc. (ZAS) opened in Valley Stream New York nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport.  Today ZAS is a stand-alone business unit in the family of companies which comprise Maru Enterprises.


  • Nearly 100 employees including staff in Maryland, New York, California and Africa
  • Multiple millions of dollars in gross sales
  • A firm that represents world class commercial aviation and GSE manufacturers including Honeywell, a giant in the commercial aviation space worldwide
  • A company with a Chairman who:
    • Oversees multiple enterprises and their holding company
    • Has served on the advisory board of the United States Export-Import Bank
    • Has addressed numerous global conferences
    • Chaired many commercial aviation panels and study groups

Kassa Maru’s Secrets of Starting and Running a Successful Business

  • Choose an industry you love and work within it before starting your own business within that industry
  • Surround yourself with “the right people” with the right skill-sets
  • Know how to recruit those “right people”
  • Know how to “keep” those “right people” with you
  • Work hard but be sure to enjoy what you have
  • Build a “family partnership”
  • Be lucky
  • Be able to “make” some of your own luck

The Future

The success of Maru Enterprises, AGS, API and ZAS continues to this day.  Mr. Maru’s story is one that gives people hope and provides tangible evidence of what hard work, dedication and vision can accomplish here in the land of the American Dream.

November, 2013


American General Supplies, Inc | 7840 Airpark Road | Gaithersburg, MD 20879 USA | P: 1.301-590-9200 | Skype