Did you grow up having a passion for aviation or an influence in your life to introduce you to aviation?
I can honestly say I've always thought aviation was interesting but never thought I'd be in the industry. I remember as a kid flying in my dad's ultralight and being amazed by it. But as I grew older I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do coming out of high school. I had a close family friend that suggest I should get my A&P and go work on helicopters. So I applied to the local school, was accepted and it's been history ever since.
What brought you into the avionics community?
When I was in A&P school, I had a friend that was working part time at Avionics Solutions and said they were looking for some help. I sent my very limited resumé in and received a call back with a job offer. I accepted the offer and worked part time after school. After finishing school I went full time and have now been with them for 9 years.
Did you go to school or certification program prior to joining the industry?
Finishing high school I wasn't sure what career path I wanted to take, so I took a year off and worked at a diner. After that year I sat down, looked at my options, talked to a lot of people and decided aviation was the route I wanted to pursue. I attended A&P school but had very little electrical background before joining the industry.
What does your day to day look like in your current role?
One day I can be rewiring a tailboom on a Bell 407 and the next doing a RVSM recertification on a CRJ900. Some weeks it's a different aircraft everyday, others it's a few week project. But I do love that I get to work on so many different types of airframes.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The most enjoyable part of my job is seeing the finished product. It is satisfying to see a 40 year old aircraft go from the original equipment to the latest and greatest technology. I am always amazed at how far technology has come in such a short span of time. We take out units that are 9-10 pounds and replace them with a box that weighs half as much but has twice the capabilities.
Do you have any advice for someone beginning their career or transferring into the avionics community?
I have 2 pieces of advice someone told me starting out and they stick with me to this day. the first is having quality tools. Knowing that you have tools that won't fail you in the middle of a job makes it a little less stressful. For example, if you're in the middle of troubleshooting and a tool breaks, now its like you're working with one hand tied behind your back. The second piece of advice is to always be willing to learn something new. Sit through those seminars, read that book on a system you've never touched, or listen to someone who's been in the industry a while. You can pick up information that could very well help you later on.