Q: How did you get into the Ground Support industry?
A: It's important to me that you know that my background in this industry began when I enlisted in the Air Force with a guaranteed job as an Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) Repairman in 1975. Before that I think the only time I ever touched a wrench or a screwdriver was to fix the chain on my bike.
I served more than 26 years in the Air Force repairing, supervising and managing the movement of equipment and personnel in this field. My last position as the Air Combat Command AGE Functional Chief -- one of three females to hold this position during my career, speaks volumes of my ability to be the proud President of L & G Technology Services.
In June of 2002, I retired as a Chief Master Sergeant -- the highest position of the enlisted rank, with an Associate in Aerospace Ground Equipment Technology and a dual Bachelor of Science in Management/Human Resources -- for a family situation.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: In July 2002, based on the need for equipment refurbishment in lieu of funding shortages for equipment acquisitions and update modifications, I began forming the home office of L & G Technology Services and finally in October 2002, received my license to operate as a sole proprietor in Easton, MD.
In July 2003, I changed the company to a Limit Liability Corporation as we began a mentorship program with TrailBoss Enterprise and took on additional employees
In June of 2004, L & G finished its mentorship program and started operations in Macon, GA. During this time the company was awarded two GSA Schedules, one to provide heavy duty vinyl climate equipment covers and the other to provide ground support and AGE equipment refurbishment, modification and enhancement services.
Q: What have you seen over the years -- trends, M/F ratio, technology, etc.?
A: Over the past 29 years I have seen many changes from equipment upgrades and modifications to the number of women working and succeeding in this field. When I first enlisted in the Air Force, a work center of 50 plus might have had 4--6 female assigned and maybe two of them actually working the equipment. By 1986 I saw work centers with close to a quarter of the work force being female actually working the equipment or in supervisory positions. Towards the end of my career I started seeing a decrease in females entering the field and/or staying in the AGE field. I don't think it was because they couldn't do the job; but rather like they were getting more technical and wanted bigger and better challenges and that female mentors in leadership positions were few and far between to encourage them to endure the challenges and to stay.
Equipment wise, I have seen changes from all gasoline engine equipment to diesel engine and now to computer program module equipment. What a change, as we took on the age of computer technology and dealing with younger men and women who are growing up in this age, it was and is necessary to challenge not only their mechanical expertise, but their technical ability as well.
Conservation of energy, pollution issues and customer demand on aircraft turn around also dictate the change in equipment structure. It is easier to setup a work site with one to two pieces of module equipment, then to surround a work site with 4--5 pieces of equipment that might relate to safety issues, additional personnel and aircraft generation delays.
Q: Did you ever run into challenges as a woman in the field?
A: As a female in this field, I think, females will always be challenged to prove not only their ability to be exceptional technicians, but to also be outstanding managers. All females who want to succeed will need to know that some of the keys to success are to accept all challenges, do the best you can and finally, not to be sensitive to those challenges or the person presenting them. Your ability to accomplish any and all things hinges on you being self motivated and continuously trained.