- Job TitleAviation Sales Manager - Air Carriers
- Company Garmin
- LocationOlathe, KS
You must have persistence and determination to continue to evolve to meet these changing dynamics. YES, an old dog can learn new tricks!
Did you grow up having a passion for aviation or an influence in your life to introduce you to aviation?
Absolutely! My Grandfather was a Naval Aviator in World War II flying PB4-Y Catalina's (essentially a B24 Liberator with modifications). I held an immense respect for him, and as a child I was always engrossed by his stories as a pilot and his time in the service. Growing up, my father really helped grow that passion by taking me to airshows, aviation museums and building model aircraft. My father never quite got the bug as a bad as I did, but from my earliest memories I wanted to become a pilot and have aviation be a part of my life.
What brought you into the avionics community?
I began my journey in avionics somewhat later in my career path. After graduating college with a business degree, I took a few flying lessons to start the process to become a private pilot. As with many prospective pilots, I had to table my efforts as career, house, wife, and children (in that order) took priority in my life. Over the following decade after college, I held numerous sales positions for large manufacturing companies (my last tenure being a National Account Manager) which helped develop my business acumen and sales disciplines. I came to a crossroads in my career which would require me to move my family to the East coast from Kansas City; a move both myself and my family did not want to make. On a whim, I google searched "Kansas City's Best Employers" and a job search returned whereby my current position was posted for Garmin. I knew immediately I wanted to pursue the opportunity as it fit well with my experience in business as well as fueled my passion for aviation. There was just one problem...I wasn't a pilot (which was a preferred qualification) and I didn't have the relevant avionics sales experience....Undeterred, I began working on my resume. The following week, I was on a flight from KMCI when I noticed the gentleman in front of me at TSA had a Garmin Aviation bag tag on his suitcase. I quickly introduced myself and found out the gentleman in front of me was none other than Garmin's Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Aviation, Carl Wolf. The luck!! I had a great conversation with him as we waited for our flights. Several weeks later, I began the interview and recruitment process at Garmin and was ultimately hired to manage our global sales efforts for Airlines.
Did you go to school or certification program prior to joining the industry?
I have a bachelor's degree in Business & Marketing as well as a minor in Economics prior to joining the industry. After joining Garmin, I have earned my private pilot’s license and instrument ratings. I am currently working on my Commercial and multi-engine ratings.
What does your day to day look like in your current role?
Garmin's aftermarket offering in commercial aerospace is very diverse and wide reaching, which makes each day different in an exciting way! From the avionics and hardware perspective, I work closely with our program management team to be the conduit between our engineer's and the end user customer. Airline's mostly upgrade avionics due to a regulatory compliance concern, or because an existing LRU has become obsolete. When this happens, I help make recommendations on which products and services will meet the customer’s needs, gather existing architecture documents and diagrams to share with our engineering team, and work with our certification partners (both internal and external) to bring the solution to market. After the certification effort is complete, I then network with other airlines which may benefit from the same solution and lead the effort to validate the STC with other operators (or amend as necessary). As a part of this process, I am also responsible for providing forecasts and demand planning to ensure the avionics are available to install when the customer requires. Each program is unique and comes with its own set of challenges to overcome, which is something I thrive off of! I also manage our sales of Data Services to airlines, which includes aircraft performance data, weight & balance solutions, navigational databases, and software. When I am not working on an avionics program, I will host demonstrations of our takeoff and landing performance calculations through our simulated ACARS tablet tool, or work with airlines on their Weight & Balance calculation needs.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The team members I get to work with in our aviation department are the most enjoyable part of my role. We are mostly pilots, but ALL share a passion for aviation. They have become very fast friends and makes for a great work experience. Everyone is always happy to help on solving a complex problem or sharing knowledge they have gained on previous programs.
Do you have any advice for someone beginning their career or transferring into the avionics community?
Be persistent! I don't just mean in the pursuit of obtaining an aviation career...This is an industry that is constantly evolving with new technologies driving innovation in everything we do. You must have persistence and determination to continue to evolve to meet these changing dynamics. YES, an old dog can learn new tricks! In avionics, you will constantly be learning and growing to adapt to these technological leaps. It makes for one rewarding career!