Montana’s newest airline?

As lovely as the area around Glacier National Park is, it’s just not one of those places that’s easy to get to. How else to explain Kalispell, MT-based Semitool’s (SMTL) need to lease three planes from a company controlled by Chairman and CEO Ray Thompson? The planes, which cost Semitool $3.2 million last year, were disclosed in the proxy that Semitool filed on Friday. The proxy also noted that the company spent $189K last year on Thompson’s personal use of the corporate fleet and that it spends another $4,100 a month leasing hangar space for the planes from another company owned by Thomspon. What isn’t clear from this proxy — or earlier ones — is just how long this fly-by arrangement has been in place.

Also interesting was the company’s arrangement with Starview Technologies, a San Jose-based company owned by Thompson and his son-in-law that generated $165K in commissions last year. Since this was another new disclosure for Semitool, it’s hard to tell how the arrangement has changed or when it first came about. But a quick search of Semitool’s filings shows that the son-in-law, Thomas Sulzbacher, used to be vp of marketing and sales at Semitool, but left in 1999.

Finally, there’s some hefty moving expenses for evp Timothy Dodkin, who moved from Camridge, England to Kalispell. It’s not really clear from the filings why it took Dodkin three years and more than $500K to make the move. But it certainly seems excessive.