Young Professionals in Business Aviation (YoPro)

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NBAA Scholarships Promote the Future of Business Aviation Maintenance

May 5, 2017

At NBAA’s 2017 Maintenance Conference, held May 2-4 in West Palm Beach, FL, many hands were raised when asked at the closing education session how many people had been in the industry for more than 25 or 30 years, and how many planned to retire in the next five to 10 years.

That’s why the NBAA Maintenance Committee makes it a priority to bring new people into their sector of the industry through the Maintenance Technical Reward and Career Scholarship (TRACS) program. At this year’s conference, NBAA announced nearly 40 recipients of 2017 scholarships, and more than $35,000 was raised toward future scholarships. Review the full list of 2017 NBAA Maintenance TRACS winners.

Some of the 2017 scholarship winners in attendance at this year’s Maintenance Conference shared their thoughts about the scholarship program and the business aviation industry in general:

Stephen Blake

Stephen BlakeA 2014 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Blake, 25, received a Williams International FJ Series Engine Line Maintenance Course for his scholarship. An A&P mechanic at Turbine Aircraft Services in Oklahoma City, OK, he works on a variety of aircraft.

“I like the precision behind aviation,” he said, adding he had family members and mentors who helped guide him toward the industry. “Business aviation was something that kind of fostered in me when I was at Embry-Riddle, and I like the community that business aviation has.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in business aviation,” he added. “It’s a smaller industry, but opportunities are always growing, and always coming up, and I think the reward is potentially higher.”

Victor Garcia

Victor GarciaGarcia, 30, was awarded a GE Aviation CFM56 Jet Engine Line Maintenance Course. Entering his sophomore year at ERAU, Garcia served in the military before entering college.

A helicopter mechanic, Garcia served in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he said helped him see firsthand the impact of aviation. “You may take aviation for granted until you see what aviation can do for somebody who needs to get picked up because they are being shot at,” he said.

“Being in the military for 10 years and being very familiar with GE products, getting a scholarship with GE – that’s pretty much a dream,” Garcia said. “Short of working there, that’s probably the best thing that I can do.”

Garcia said once he finishes college, he can see himself working in the business aviation industry in the future.

“I would like to continue working on engines because that’s what I’m most familiar with, but after learning everything else on the aircraft, I can go anywhere,” he said. “It’s pretty much unlimited as far as where I can go.”

Mark McGill

Mark McGillMcGill, 27, is a three-time Maintenance TRACS winner, with his latest award being a Garmin Ltd. G3/5000 Avionics Intro Course.

A 2014 graduate of Western Michigan University, he originally studied accounting but later switched to aviation management. “What made me think of aviation was thinking about what ignites a spark within my soul,” he said.

McGill’s first job in the industry, while still in college, was with the Hinman Company, where he did everything from detailing aircraft to cleaning hangars. After graduation, he worked for AvFlight at Detroit City Airport where he largely did ground support equipment maintenance. Last year, McGill started his own company – NextGen Aerotech Services – and works as a subcontractor helping maintain a variety of aircraft. He credits NBAA’s Maintenance TRACS program for changing his life.

“I’m so grateful for these scholarships and the relationships that I’ve made in the business aviation industry,” he said. “I’m going to make an extremely strong effort to get involved, become successful and give back.”

Lynze Price

Lynze PriceAt one time, Price, 20, thought she would be a band director, but her first commercial airplane flight her senior year of high school changed her life.

“I was in awe. I was amazed,” she said, and then began considering a career in aviation. Sitting in a cockpit wasn’t for her, and neither was sitting in a cubicle all day, so aviation maintenance was the perfect fit, as was ERAU.

Now a senior, Price received a Gulfstream Aerospace G650/G650ER Maintenance Initial Course as her award, and she plans to finish her last semester of college online while she takes the course. She spent last summer doing an internship with Amway’s flight department and is going back there again this year. She hopes it will turn into a full-time job after graduation.

Price said what she likes best about the industry is, “You’re always going to have something challenging you, no matter how old you are, as technology advances.

“This is the only field I’ve experienced where it’s a really tight-knit family environment,” she added. “They are passionate about what they do. It’s good to see that passion in their career after they’ve been in the field 30 or 40 years.”

Learn more about the NBAA Maintenance TRACS Scholarship program.