Did you grow up having a passion for aviation or an influence in your life to introduce you to aviation?
HA! HA! Nope. This is funny because of how I actually got into aviation!
What brought you into the avionics community?
The United States Navy. I wanted to be part of the Navy JAG Corps and joined as an Aviation Electrician Technician instead. Best thing that ever happened to me!!!
Did you go to school or certification program prior to joining the industry?
I was in the Navy for 5 1/2 years and received some schooling while I was in. I started out as a bench technician at AIMD, working on Electronic Countermeasures equipment. When I rotated to sea duty, I wanted something more exciting and took orders to VFA 136 working on F/A-18C's!! From the Navy, I was a contractor doing modification in the rotorcraft industry. I've done mods to Blackhawks, Bell Helicopters, Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters, and eventually became an Avionics/Completions Manager of a 145 repair center. Being part of a repair center gave me the opportunity to get back into some fixed wing!! So, that was a long winded answer to say no. My certifications and schooling were all done along my journey.
What does your day to day look like in your current role?
My day to day isn't ever the same. That's what is great! Sometimes, I am behind my computer all day doing CAD integration drawings, but sometimes, I am in the hangar. Next week, I travel on site to assist in the hangar with a program that we are currently working on. Some days, I have a lot of customer interaction working through substantiation document because they have changes in their aircraft that does not fit within our STC documentation.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I am allowed to wear a lot of hats. My main task is to integrate our systems into rotorcraft and fixed wing aircraft systems., but I am also working on becoming an ODA Unit Member, I do hands on aircraft work; from troubleshooting to assisting installations. AND, at the end of the day, I am still able to have quality time with my family. That is what is awesome about my current job; I am able to balance my work life with my home life.
Do you have any advice for someone beginning their career or transferring into the avionics community?
Get your A&P! Those licenses will take you far! And don't get pigeonholed into a single skill. For me, I was lucky that I got to work in shops that let me explore. While Avionics/Electrical was my main skill, I was allowed to do mechanical work and sheet metal work as well. An engineering department allowed me to tag along on a project, as well, and I loved to see what was behind the curtain! Right now, shops and businesses are hurting for aviation people all over the industry; to me, that is to anyone's advantage. The aviation world is your oyster! Not to mention, technology is changing so quickly that you won't be working on the same thing for long!