2017 AMT Next Gen Award: Stephen Dodd

Nov. 21, 2017
Senior Crew Chief/Inspector, 36, Cirrus Aircraft Factory Service Center, Knoxville, TN

Stephen Dodd got into aviation because it was an interesting field with opportunities to ravel the world and help people. His first mentor was his dad, Nevin, who taught him to be a great mechanic before he ever touched his first airplane. His second mentor was Larry Owen, the owner of L&M Aircraft in Rome, GA

Dodd received his apprenticeship and test preparedness course from Bakers School of Aeronautics. Advanced training includes Cirrus Advanced Composites, Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, Cessna Caravan factory training by FlightSafety International, and PT-6 engine from Pratt & Whitney.

Dodd started as an A&P apprentice just after high school at L&M Aircraft in 2001. He received his A&P licence in the fall of 2005. "I learned to repair and inspect every type of general aviation plane imaginable," Dodd says. "We worked on everything from J3 Cubs up to Super King Air 350s. It was possibly the best education in general aviation anyone could get."

Next he accepted a two-year contract working for an organization called Mission Aviation Fellowship as an aviation maintenance specialist in Indonesia. He and his wife lived on the west coast of the island of Sumatra in the province of Aceh. He maintained the planes (mostly Cessna Caravans) helping with disaster relief and humanitarian missions after the tsunami that hit in December of 2004. He also helped with the rebuilding effort during his time off, and his wife volunteered to help teach English to the local children. He received his aviation maintenance engineer license from the Indonesian DGAC. "It was very hard work but also very rewarding. I also came to realize that I have knack for solving problems in remote and demanding environments with limited resources. I miss living in Indonesia but, the skills I learned and the abilities I strengthened while there have continued to help me almost everyday."

He returned to Georgia and resumed working at L&M Aircraft and then sought a warmer climate in Florida. He took a job as the maintenance supervisor at Platinum Aviation, a Cirrus Authorized Service Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The training he received from Cirrus Aircraft shifted his life into a new direction. And he obtained his Inspection Authorization. Next was the opportunity to work for the Cirrus Factory Service Center in Duluth, MN. "The cold winters made this one of the harshest environments I have ever worked in. The company and the people who work at Cirrus made it worthwhile, and he quickly became the second shift lead inspector in the Part 145 repair station. He spent most of 2014 as the Cirrus field service representative in the Middle East. "I thoroughly enjoyed supporting our military allies and helping to train the pilots and mechanics fighting alongside the U.S in the war on terror." After a brief hiatus to spend time with his brother who was recovering from cancer, he went back to work for Cirrus in Minnesota with the goal of helping to expand the Cirrus Factory Service Center to the new Vision Center Campus in Knoxville, TN. He is now the senior crew chief for the Cirrus Factory Service Center in Knoxville, TN. He oversees the daily operations of aircraft service and delivery at the Vision Center. All new delivery Cirrus SR20s and SR22s process through the Service Center. The facility also maintains and inspects customer aircraft including the SR20, SR22, and the new SF50 Vision Jet. 

Nominated by Dan Henchal, director of maintenance/factory services, Cirrus Aircraft Factory Service Center: Stephen has been with Cirrus Aircraft for five years. Initially he was hired as a technician at the Cirrus Factory Service Center in Duluth, MN (145 repair station). Subsequently he served as a field service representative for Cirrus Aircraft in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Upon completion of his tour in the KSA he returned to the Cirrus Factory Service Center in Duluth and was one of the few selected to open the Cirrus Factory Service Center in Knoxville, TN. Being raised in Georgia he was the perfect fit to start the operation in Knoxville along with his superior technical and leadership skills. Stephen currently is the senior crew chief/inspector, for the Cirrus Aircraft Factory Service Center in, Knoxville, TN. He was an integral part in starting the operation in Knoxville, has an established a rapport with customers internal /external and is considered "expert" in Cirrus Aircraft all makes and models. His dedication has driven him to succeed as a leader with Cirrus in a very short period of time and will be instrumental in the company's continued growth and innovation. 

Dodd gives back to the aviation industry "by working for the most innovative company in general aviation. I also strive to teach the new technicians and interns the same way I was taught: hands-on experience and one on one mentorship."

Moving forward in his career he wants to take on more leadership responsibilities and help with training. He also intends to continue traveling and helping people in need whenever he can.