Open Letter: AMT Recognition

Call for grass-roots support of National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day

AMTA has now donated $6,000 busts of Charles Taylor to maintenance facilities, museums, and aviation-oriented colleges. So far seven busts of Charles Taylor have been donated as of the date of this publication. One of Ken’s biggest accomplishments to date was to donate a bust of Charles Taylor to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Dulles on Aug. 11, 2006. You can read all about the event in the December 2006 issue of AMT Magazine.

You should not blow-off this accomplishment at the Air and Space as being as easy as a slam dunk by a 7-foot-tall basketball player. It was the equivalent of sucking a plate of cold grits through an ear trumpet. The Smithsonian’s bureaucracy makes the FAA’s way of doing business look like a lean, mean fighting machine. To make my point, until that day in August 2006, there was not one artifact, display or even a casual mention of the contributions of mechanics found anywhere in the Smithsonian’s Dulles or DC’s Air and Space museums.

Let’s fast forward to April 15, 2007 when Ken, now tired of the lack of progress on AMT Day, sends a letter of petition to Congressman Oberstar (D) requesting the congressman re-introduce the May 24 resolution. The good congressman replied back that he is now chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he would like the ranking member of the Aviation Sub-Committee, Congressman Robert Filner (D) to introduce the resolution.

God works in mysterious ways. Congressman Filner of San Diego, CA, is Ken’s congressman. Balancing work, a lovely wife that is eight months pregnant, and all the rest of the problems that life throws at us, Ken decides that a face-to-face meeting with the Congressman would be a very important first step to move the May 24 resolution forward.

The meeting

On May 18, 2007 at 11 a.m., Ken and Maryanne DeMarco now the legislative director with the Passenger-Cargo Security Group, found themselves outside of Congressman Filner’s office in the Rayburn Building in Washington, D.C. The congressman welcomed them into his office, where Ken launched into his well-rehearsed but short speech. The congressman listened carefully and then said OK. Then he told them that he would put forth the resolution the following week. The whole process from “Good Morning Congressman Filner” to his buy-in, took all of 15 seconds. At 11:10 the meeting was over. Sometimes, this democracy of ours can move very fast when it wants to.

On the same day, Ken got the word that FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey will send a letter of support of his letter to Congressman Oberstar for the May 24 AMT Day resolution. Special thanks go to Dave Cann, manager of the Aircraft Maintenance Division, Jim Ballough, director of Flight Standards Service and Nick Sabatini, associate administrator for Safety because without their support the Administrator would have never seen the letter, let alone sign it.

Now what?

Remember the lack of grass-roots support I mentioned earlier that killed off the two resolutions? Despite the hard work done by Richard, Ken, Maryanne, and the letter of support from the FAA Administrator, this third attempt is not by any stretch of the imagination a done deal. While it’s a great start, one successful meeting on the Hill and some letters of support are not a guarantee of success. We have to move our collective butts right up to a keyboard, and start sending emails to our congressmen and senators urging them to support House Resolution #444 that fixes May 24 as U.S.National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.

To make this idea of AMT recognition prosper, Congress needs to see an electronic blizzard of emails choking their servers over the next couple of months. The emails and letters of support for the AMT resolution must come from a broad range of aerospace companies and manufacturers, large and small airlines, FBOs, repair stations, associations, A&P schools, unions, and all branches of the military.

But even more importantly, the blizzard of emails has to come from us. A lot of us! Why us? Because, every one of the mechanics and technician’s emails are taken very seriously by each congressman and senator. How so? Simply put, mechanics and technicians vote! Companies and associations do not! And let’s not forget that 2007 is a big election year and your vote means a lot to the people on the Hill so this is the time of year politicians on both sides of the aisle really want to make you happy.

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