Posted 69 days ago ago by Admin
What is your current position?
I am currently the vice president and general manager for Precision Aircraft Services located in Peachtree City, Georgia. PAS is an Airbus premium service center, MD Helicopters service center, and Robinson service center. We maintain a wide array of avionics dealerships such as Garmin, Avidyne and Genesys, etc. We provide inspection and MRO services for all types of helicopter operations. All our mechanics come from the field and understand customer urgency so our customers get my cell number and can call anytime in need.
Tell me about your first experience with helicopters.
When I separated from the U.S. Air Force, I attended Alabama Aviation and Technical College. My instructor, Chief Whittaker, informed me the maintenance contractor at Fort Rucker was hiring mechanics and I should apply. I told him I didn’t know anything about helicopters, and I felt sure that I couldn’t pass an interview. He asked a fellow student that had served in the Army to walk me around the school’s Huey and teach me everything I would need to know to pass an interview. As it turned out, I only missed one question and was hired by Sikorsky Support Services. My first day on the job I knew I would work helicopters for my entire career. My love affair with rotorcraft began and remains strong today.
If you were not in the helicopter industry, what else would you see yourself doing?
That’s a very interesting question. I love people and connecting with people. I would probably find myself helping young people navigate a course they have chosen for their careers and help them become responsible adults. Also, I love archery and I think it would be awesome to own an archery shop and hang out with like-minded people.
What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
That’s a fun question. I am an avid reader. I love to read my Bible first, drink coffee and then read any book that helps me understand people and how we function. Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather is cooler, Bow Hunting season is open and the Alabama Crimson Tide is on TV. Any day in the woods or on the lake is a great day and spending time with my wife is icing on the cake.
Have you ever had an “oh, crap” moment in helicopters? Please summarize what happened.
I began work at Carraway Methodist Medical Center (CMMC) in Birmingham, Alabama, back in 1990. My work experience at the time was five years as a crew chief in the Air Force and four years serving army pilot training at Fort Rucker. My second day on the job at Carraway the helicopter crew scrambled for a 32-year-old with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. CMMC was a Level One trauma center, which meant the patient was coming back to our pad and would be transported by van to the emergency room across the street. When the helicopter landed and the patient was wheeled on the gurney in front of me, I saw a small blood-stained bandage wrapped around her head. During my 50-mile ride home, I was emotionally wasted. It was my “Oh, crap” moment when I realized that everything I did contributed to the welfare of the crew, which contributed to the welfare of the patient. “Oh Crap,” this is a real person, and everything matters! That was the moment I discovered my “why” for Helicopter EMS: “To provide a safe and legal aircraft that will transport lifesaving personnel that will aid in the relief of suffering of my fellow man”. Simple, yet powerful, energetic and empowering words.It gave me a reason to answer the call. My career was servant leadership in action. I gleaned all this from an “oh, crap” realization.
What is your fondest memory of the industry?
Every day I am grateful for the opportunity to serve. I have been very fortunate and blessed to have met so many people and have become friends with the best the world has to offer. When this door closes, I know that my relationships will continue to grow stronger. The hard times tend to fade, but I love the memories of working in the rain, heat, sun, cold, dark and long hours to provide a safe and legal helicopter. Serving and helping others, along with lasting friendships, will be among my most cherished memories.
If you could only give one piece of advice to new people coming into the industry, what would it be?
It will be difficult to stop at only one piece of advice, but I would tell every new mechanic coming into this industry to take ownership of his work. One will only take ownership if one cares about their work, their crew, and their machine. Taking ownership demands that you have integrity and always pursue excellence. This is not a game; life is at stake, and it is imperative that everyone goes home to their family at the end of the day. Be sure to leave your aircraft better than you found it.
What is the greatest challenge for the helicopter industry at this moment in time?
Without a doubt, the current and coming pilot and mechanic shortage is a timebomb waiting to explode. I see it every day and I feel it every day. Advertisements, social media, contract houses, recruiters, and yet no one can supply a consistent flow of experienced helicopter-mechanic resumes. Trust me, you don’t want just anyone so you can say you checked the box. A helicopter mechanic or avionics technician who is knowledgeable and has a good attitude and good work ethic is a treasure. I also believe in growing our own, but this should be done only if you have a full stable of experienced mechanics. This shortage is one to watch. Fill the silos boys; famine is coming!
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