James Scott Smith, AMT 40 Under 40 Award Winner

Oct. 7, 2021
Crew Lead, Stevens Aerospace and Defense LLC, Greenville, SC, 38 years old.

James Smith (Smitty) always liked airplanes growing up, but never really had been around them up close. He also enjoyed fixing things and learning how certain components operate. Then in his junior and senior years of high school, he had the opportunity to receive high school credit plus college credit with his local tech school, Greenville Technical College. "I saw that an aircraft maintenance class was available so I took that opportunity and never looked back," he explained.

Smith started with Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems in 2003 as a line service technician. Then, about a year later, worked his way in to the hangar. It was then he started working on King Air’s, Piaggio’s, Barons and Bonanzas in the Electrical Shop. The shop handled all electrical items (minus for avionics) and air conditioning. "Then, about a year later, the maintenance manager at the time asked me if I wanted to go on to an airframe crew, so I did," he said. "I still got to work a lot of the electrical side of the aircraft along with my new responsibilities."

He started to gain more engine maintenance experience and began to take on more leadership roles. So, in 2016, he decided to make it official and become a crew lead, which is Smith's current position. "You get to take care of and oversee just about every aspect of the project, big or small," he noted. "It’s been a great experience so far, but it can get a little challenging. Especially when you have bigger multi department projects like phase inspections with avionics mods, paint and interior refurbishments."

As for career goals, he says he is pretty content with where he is now. "You never know though, that could change with whatever opportunity comes up," he stated. "Stevens is always looking into new areas and ideas, so anything is possible."

"Smitty has become an extremely talented troubleshooter and possesses a wide variety of talents, due to his willingness to volunteer for special projects, attend special training events and study any available resource, to acquire and master new skills," commented Smith's nominator, Stan Soper, lead inspector, Turboprop Division, Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems LLC. "Smitty is a very valuable asset to the Stevens team and his projects are always well managed, continually delivered on time and on budget. He is a very honest, reliable and committed aviation maintenance professional, with both lead technician and inspector capabilities within our organization. Smitty holds very high standards, and definitely deserves to be recognized in this way, for his hard work and dedication to both our team and his chosen profession."