2016 AMT Next Gen Awards: Chris Solomon

Nov. 28, 2016
Director of Operations, CAS Components, Fairhope, AL Years in Aviation: 13

39-year-old Chris Solomon says, "In March of 1984, I was 6 years old when my parents took me to watch a NASA Boeing 747, ferrying the Space Shuttle Enterprise on its back, land at a local airport while it was en route to be displayed in New Orleans for the World's Fair. I remember not paying much, if any, attention to the space shuttle; however, I was completely mesmerized by the aircraft carrying it. "How in the world could that plane possibly fly through the air with that huge shuttle on its back?", I thought to myself. I was later able to gain some relief from my curiosity when I had the opportunity to enroll in an aircraft mechanic vocational program being offered during my junior and senior year in high school." 

Shortly after graduating high school in 1995, Chris enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he spent four years in the fast attack submarine fleet. After his enlistment, he returned home and enrolled in a four-year college. After a few years of working odd jobs and halfheartedly working toward his degree, he realized that he was a "hands-on" type of guy and enrolled at Enterprise State Community College located at Brookley Field in Mobile, AL, and returned to aviation in 2003. During his first semester at A&P school, he was employed by AIRINC, a Part 145 repair station, as a mechanic's assistant during the evening shift. He went on to hold various positions within the company including lead positions in the Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Avionic Departments, training coordinator, quality inspector and product manager until the company closed in late 2011. Since 2012, he has been employed by CAS Components as their Director of Operations. With this position Solomon is responsible for all technical activities in the repair station, all technicians, Inventory Department as well as the employees in the stock room. His main focus is to maintain the flow of work, ensuring that the quality and turn-around-time provided exceeds the customer’s needs.  

Larrie Zimmer was an instructor in the aircraft mechanic vocational program at his high school and Solomon considers him a mentor. Larrie went on to become the director of the A&P school that Solomon attended. He says, "A recipient of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, Larrie was a great example of a level-headed technical expert who had a way of transferring information and experience to others that has gone unparalleled. He still serves as the DME for our region."

Solomon stays active within the aerospace sector of SAWDC, a workforce development organization in the state of Alabama. With the new Airbus Assembly Plant and its associated support companies coming online locally, this workforce council has become quite busy trying to help satisfy the personnel demands of a rapidly growing aerospace corridor along the Gulf Coast. He has been assigned by his company to be the “Subject Matter Expert” pertaining to input on workforce training, regulatory issues, and technical requirements above and beyond the regulations in regards to aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul.  

He says, "I like to think that I give back to those just starting in our industry by serving as a part-time instructor at the same A&P school I attended, Enterprise State Community College in Mobile. I find that helping these students get their start in aviation, whether they are just out of high school or starting their third career, is one of the most rewarding things that I have been involved with at this point in my career."

Solomon says his career goal is to be instrumental in making CAS Components the most cost-effective and timely solution for all of its industry partners while maintaining the highest level of safety culture and awareness possible at a Part 145 repair station.