2017 AMT Next Gen Award: Luke Jean

Nov. 21, 2017
Vice President of Maintenance/Accountable Manager, 37, Heritage Aviation, South Burlington, VT

In high school, Luke Jean took a two-year aircraft maintenance course which he enjoyed and excelled at which basically just rolled into college and a career.

Jean received his A&P and associate's degree from Embry-Riddle, Daytona Beach Campus. Advanced training includes several factory training certificates from FlightSafety International and also the aviation interpersonal maintenance management (AIMM) certification from Global Jet Services. 

Jean had a job offer and actually had to skip his graduation from Embry-Riddle in order to make it to indoctrination class with Continental Express (DBA ExpressJet Airlines). He worked with ExpressJet from 2001 to 2007. Then he hired on with Heritage Aviation as a technician and has worked his way to the vice president of maintenance/accountable manager position. 

Nominated by David Stiller, president, Heritage Aviation: "Luke Jean is the vice president of maintenance at Heritage Aviation, where he has made an outsized impact on the staff, culture, customers, and financial viability of the organization over the last 10 years. Luke started at Heritage as an A&P and worked his way up to become the director of maintenance of the company's Part 145 repair station in 2012. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of promoting Luke to his VP position at the age of 37 in recognition of his commitment and contributions over the past decade. As DOM, Luke served under three different presidents over the course of four years as the company reorganized and rightsized after struggling to gain traction as a charter operator. He brought stability to his department during this rocky period, but he also served in a critical leadership role advising the interim president as the company restructured its operations to focus solely on FBO and aircraft maintenance and becoming cash flow positive in the process. Luke followed through in completing a real "turn around" for Heritage's Maintenance Department in every sense of the term: financially, culturally, and reputationally. He did so by forging meaningful relationships with customers and building a team-oriented culture that holds the values of safety and customer service above all else. Luke developed his financial literacy and took ownership of his department's profit and loss statement in the process, but he never put the numbers above the values. His approach resulted in an unusually large financial impact for the company in 2016 when one of our customers, a large charter fleet operator, closed one of its in-house maintenance bases. The closure created a need for the customer for safe, efficient, and reliable heavy inspections for some of its primary airframe in its fleet throughout the balance of the year. The customer chose Heritage as one of only two vendors selected to meet the need. He also led a major parts inventory clean-up project in partnership with our director of finance that sifted through thousands of parts of "legacy inventory," left over from the closure of the charter department, to segregate current inventory from slow moving and obsolete inventory, verify the proper book values in our accounting system, and install processes to ensure the inventory is appropriately managed on an ongoing basis. More recently, he has assisted our sales and marketing department in aligning our maintenance capabilities with customer needs, and he is beginning to assist in strategic planning to set company-wide objectives and goals that connect our operations to our five-year financial targets."

As for giving back to the industry, Heritage Aviation tries to hire as many graduates as it can from a local A&P school. 

Jean's short-term goals are to help Heritage Aviation develop and implement a “cross utilization” program where its FBO line technicians and customer service reps can work alongside its A&P technicians to build hours and eventually receive their own A&P certificate.  His long-term goal is to someday work for the FAA as a safety inspector.