Don’t Hold for Applause

Nov. 21, 2017
In supporting this year's winners, we must continue to uphold our end by advocating for better workforce policies, commonsense regulation, and commitment to both good safety and good business

This month, AMT Magazine is proudly honoring its third 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. As always, this year’s winners include some of the best young talent from across ARSA’s membership: Peter DeSutter, AAR Aircraft Services; Adam Thacker, AAR Aircraft Services; Collin Stannard, Constant Aviation; and Jan-Philipp Loos, Lufthansa Technik AG.

It’s great to celebrate them. In fact, it’s vital: Despite projections that the global aviation maintenance industry will top $100 billion within a decade, repair stations report increasing difficulty finding and retaining technical talent. Finding good examples of developing professionals already serving the aviation community is a great way to spotlight good careers, professional advancement, and the personal rewards of keeping the world in flight.

The challenge, though, is that we can’t slow down while we’re doing so. There’s no chance to “hold for applause,” as they say in show business, because our show never ends. Even as we take a moment to recognize the good works of this year’s honorees, they have parts to inspect, overhauls to perform, and schedules to meet. In supporting them, we must continue to uphold our end by advocating for better workforce policies, commonsense regulation, and commitment to both good safety and good business.

This past year, ARSA’s work on Capitol Hill focused more than ever before on growing the aviation maintenance workforce of the future. With the support of its champions in Congress, the association proposed FAA reauthorization bill amendments directing the Government Accountability Office to study the aviation technical workforce, creating a pilot grant program to support MRO skills development and seeking ways to enhance the value of airman certificates.

The legislative push – one of the most successful in ARSA’s history – underscores how important it is for the maintenance community to develop new talent pipelines while nurturing those who’ve already shown up to work. Participants at October’s Strategic Leadership Conference spent a day “engaging for effect” in the capital city to help drive these points home.

(We’re charting FAA reauthorization, which is still a work in progress, at

While ARSA’s team is busy in Washington, it continues the work of providing tools and resources for repair stations, component shops, and parts producers across the world. The association’s work is carefully laid out on, but there are key points to check for finding and developing the right people:

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

2. 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 to see how you can use the video.)

4. Training. The association’s growing library of sessions on regulatory compliance, government affairs, legal, and business development topics now includes eight hours accepted for IA refresher training. Everything you need to get better at your job and get ready for the next one. (Visit for course information and to register.)

We’ll continue our larger work even as we celebrate this year’s honorees. Congratulations to Peter, Collin, Adam and Jan-Phillip – you may not get to stop for our applause, but we know you can hear us cheering.

Brett Levanto 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.

2017 Strategic Leadership Conference – Washington, D.C.

Each year, ARSA’s SLC provides industry leaders from around the world an informal setting to discuss important issues facing aviation maintenance. On Oct. 18 and 19, the aviation maintenance community landed in the U.S. capital to “engage for effect.” See what happened by visiting