When the Airport is Your 'Playground'

John Goglia, JDA Aviation Technology Solutions, spent his boyhood days at the airport and never left.


Q: How did you get involved in the industry?

A: As a kid, back before we put fences around our airports, I would find myself at the airport almost every day and I liked it so much I just stayed.

Q: What are some of the major trends you have seen developing over the past decade?

A: I think the most important for the traveling public is the work that is ongoing to recognize and address the human issues that can lead to transportation accidents. No longer are we just focused on the equipment failures.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced over the years?

A: While working for the American people as a member of the NTSB, it was always a challenge to develop enough attention on a safety issue to get the FAA and the industry to apply the resources to that issue before another occurrence.

Q: What do you favor most about working in this industry?

A: Every day within the aviation industry something interesting is happening. There is considerable opportunity for anyone to advance more than in any other industry that I know.

Q: What changes would you like to see made in the industry and where do you see it in 5–10 years?

A: Right now we need stability — a chance for all of us to catch up and not be required to go from one major problem to another major problem without any meaningful break.

Q: What advice would you give to those new to the industry?

A: Never stop learning and pay attention to the details. The more you learn about the industry, the greater the opportunity for personal advancement.

Q: Who do you admire?

A: I admire people who have demonstrated they have the will to stand tall for what they believe in. It is acceptable to change based on substance, however, I have seen many who will change their position with the slightest push back.

Q: What in the industry keeps you up at night?

A: We have a number of serious problems facing our industry and many require government action, however, it is difficult to get government agencies to commit to action given the polarized congress we have today. I think some have put political gain ahead of the American public’s interests.

Q: Is there one accomplishment that you are especially proud of?

A: Professionally, I would mention two. First, in 1994 I received the FAA/Industry Mechanic of the Year Award. To be selected by maintenance professionals from both the FAA and the industry is quite an honor. The other I would mention is to be nominated by the president of the United States and to be approved by the US Senate for a National Transportation Safety Board member’s position.

Q: If not in aviation where would you be?

A: I don’t think I ever thought about any other industry for a career. This industry is exciting and provides more opportunity for anyone to bring their dreams to life.

Goglia was appointed to the NTSB in 1995 after a long career in aviation maintenance. The first board member to hold an FAA aircraft mechanic’s certificate, Goglia played a key role in focusing international attention on the significance of aircraft maintenance in aviation accidents. Currently, Goglia is Sr. VP for aviation operations and safety programs for consulting firm JDA Aviation Technology Solutions. You can read John’s new blog, “Ramp Rap” at www.groundsupportworldwide.com.

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