Honor Rolling Ahead

Nov. 28, 2016
2016 AMT Next Gen Award Winners represent the best in the aviation maintenance community. From diverse backgrounds, with different experiences and performing a wide range of needed tasks, each one keeps the world safely in flight.

AMT Magazine is proudly honoring its second class of Next Gen Award winners. The annual tradition of celebrating these young men and women is a vital showcase for the talent we will depend on for decades.

This year’s winners represent an honor roll of high performance across ARSA’s membership: Eight winners from seven different member organizations:

• Kevin Easley, Maintenance Supervisor, AAR Aircraft Services

• Hilary Kerkstra, Turbine Engine Technician, Pratt & Whitney Engine Services

• Carolyn Rena Kincaid, Manager of Training and Records Dept., AAR Aircraft Services

• Joshua Krotec, Senior Vice President, First Aviation Services

• Tony Oggs, Field Service Lead Technician, StandardAero

• Josh Riehle, Director of Quality, HAECO Cabin Solutions

• John Wing, Program Manager, PEMCO World Air Services

• Xiang Yao, Lead Aviation Maintenance Technician, FedEx

Taking pride in this group is easy. Every person – yes, even those whose employers aren’t ARSA members – represents the best in the aviation maintenance community. From diverse backgrounds, with different experiences and performing a wide range of needed tasks, each one keeps the world safely in flight. We can’t fly without them and we wouldn’t want to.

While celebrating their hard work, let’s consider how to help them move ahead: Nurture their careers while attracting new applicants to work and learn alongside them.

Finding and retaining talent is the single greatest challenge facing the global maintenance community. Retirements are looming and markets are growing. To meet new demand and uphold the highest safety standards, this generation of workers will have to step into roles of greater responsibility and hundreds of thousands of new bodies will be needed to support what is projected to be a $100 billion global industry by 2026.

The mechanic may be the icon of the maintenance shop, but hands-on technical work is only one piece of the puzzle. To fill the other roles that repair stations depend on – quality, engineering, business development, sales, leadership – we need not only to bring in top quality talent but also to nurture the development of those already on the payroll…regardless of where they started.

How can ARSA help? Celebrating this year’s Next Gen winners is a small step. The association also provides tools for finding and developing the right people:

1. Aerojobs.org. The web-based recruitment tool specifically targets individuals with the skills needed to maintain aircraft (regardless of what industry they’re in now).

2. AVMRO.arsa.org. The industry’s information portal introduces the world of maintenance, repair and overhaul. The site has information useful to everyone from job seekers to the media to elected officials to nervous fliers.

3. Propaganda. “You Can’t Fly Without Us,” a seven-minute documentary on the maintenance industry produced for public television. ARSA provides license for use of the film as an informational or recruitment tool. (Visit arsa.org/documentary to see how you can use the video.)

4. Training. In addition to a growing library of on-demand recordings, live sessions are hosted weekly on regulatory compliance, government affairs, legal and business development topics. Everything you need to get better at your job and get ready for the next one. (Visit arsa.org/training for course information and to register.)

As this larger work continues, it’s nice to stop and celebrate a group of special individuals. Kevin, Hilary, Carolyn, Joshua, Tony, Josh, John, and Yao, congratulations. Keep up the good work – we’ll be working for you.

Brett Levanto, a 2015 AMT Next Gen Award winner, is vice president of operations of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C. managing firm and client communications in conjunction with regulatory and legislative policy initiatives. He provides strategic and logistical support for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association and Associated Equipment Distributors.

About the Author

Brett Levanto

Brett Levanto is vice president operation for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA). He graduated from the George Washington University in 2004 and earned a Master of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary in 2009. For more information visit www.arsa.org.