After graduating from LSU, Steven Rider took an apprenticeship in the industry and found his niche and he would eventually receive his Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle.
“I ran with it and made a career out of it,” Rider said. “I started off as a sheet metal apprentice, worked hydraulic and flight control systems but really found my calling in avionics. Performing prototype modifications and working AOG proved to be the most interesting.
In his current role as the director of operations, Rider wears many hats.
“Daily tasks starting with the customer, face-to-face interactions, bidding projects, forming budgets, running the teams, and assisting with recruiting,” he said.
Rider said they pride themselves on being able to do mods in a very short time span with absolute quality. They’ve overseen successful modifications of various aircraft such as B737, 757, 767, 777 and A319, 320, 321, 330. And they specialize in Wi-Fi, Split-Scimitar Winglets, Spar Mods, Large Display Systems, ADS-B, MMR and EFB mods.
One thing that Rider wants to see for the future of the industry is more young people getting involved.
“Especially on the MRO side. There's a large gap between senior/master mechanics and entry level/apprentices. I think manpower is always going to be the issue that we fight. So I'd like to see more kids coming out of high school and going into trades. It's just something I've seen as a kid that went to college. College isn't necessary. It doesn't always lead you to the right career path and it doesn't always put the most amount of money in your pocket like they try to sell you on,” he said.