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«Winter 2009

Ongoing Training

Today, the future of young aviation professionals is dependent on human investment and the degree of training, type of culture and growth potential a prospective employer offers. Recently, this has become a much more significant part of the aviation hiring equation, primarily because graduates of aviation schools need an employer who is not only innovative in its operations and technology but also in its support of individual career needs. They want companies with solid core values that are more personally attuned to their career pathways and who are enlightened by progressing careers through education.


Matt Stolz, Airframe Technician, and Tim Garity, Technical Representative, study aircraft blueprints to determine the next step in a major repair to the aircraft.

As with so many things in contemporary times, this type of commitment to human investment boils down to the vision and resources companies wish to devote to the values they espouse. Duncan Aviation understands these important human needs and has provided an Education and Professional Development team that specializes in assisting employees, acting as advocates in their career development. Over the last three years, Duncan Aviation has increased the budget for this department by $300,000 bringing the 2008 budget to $2 million. In an era where most companies are cutting back on training, Duncan Aviation is making human investment a paramount value for the future of the company.

According to Julie Reilly, Manager of the Education and Professional Development team, Duncan Aviation invests in many forms of training including technical and non-technical, leadership and computer. In addition, Duncan Aviation offers a Tuition Reimbursement program to assist employees in pursuing college educations. “Internal” training has always been part of the fundamental base Duncan Aviation has used for decades in acquiring vast amounts of expertise in the many aviation disciplines. Duncan Aviation’s “Coaching Program” is an example of this type of training. In order to effectively integrate new team members into the Duncan Aviation team environment and culture, the Coaching Program pairs new team members with a “Coach” who has demonstrated strengths in leadership, job knowledge, communication skills and core company values. The program emphasizes consistent practices while allowing department flexibility. This type of partnering promotes team building and the team values of Duncan Aviation while helping new team members discover their career pathways. “Few companies incorporate the comprehensive commitment to training that Duncan Aviation displays,” Reilly explains.


Many people at Duncan Aviation rise through the ranks to prominent positions. Mark Cote is a great example. Currently Vice President of Completions and Modifications, Mark was hired in 1987 as an avionics technician. He later grew into a career path that included customer service and program management. “I recognized early in my career that strong relationships are not built in a short time. One’s experience, knowledge, honesty and dedication are the primary building blocks for successful relationships and careers. That is why Duncan Aviation believes in personal growth and providing the tools and opportunities employees need to help build a satisfying career,” Cote reflects.


Safety Officer Kendall Folds watches Lead Technician Greg Becker and Mike Griffiths explain to Airframe Technician Zach Ortiz the best way to grease a slot bearing on an Astra. The maintenance manual provides differing procedures in two entries, so the Lead Technicians need to verify that the proper procedure is followed for the best customer result.

U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that people between the ages of 18 to 42 average 10.8 job changes over a 28-year time frame. Much of this propensity to move stems from the lack of commitment to training from previous employers. Duncan Aviation doesn’t believe that good, educated people should change jobs so frequently. Training and commitment to the success of each employee is one of the reasons the company is able to deliver such high-quality products and services. There is a partnership between Duncan Aviation and its team members, a partnership that revolves around respect for each other and recognition of the importance of ongoing training. That’s the prescription for retaining people, maintaining high levels of experience and that provides customers with the type of service that is legendary in the aviation industry.

From a customer perspective, the value of training can sometimes be missed because of the focus on the expense of maintaining an aircraft. Yet, when reminded of the value of training, customers quickly understand the importance of knowing the core values of their service provider concerning this important issue. Julie Reilly sums it up, “Duncan Aviation customers are reassured from knowing that extremely qualified and educated technicians are working on their aircraft. And that becomes another reason Duncan Aviation is so dedicated to providing the training and human investment that’s so vital in the aviation industry. To stay at the top in aviation requires a vast commitment, not only from Duncan Aviation, but also from the thousands of team members who make up the company. Our customers see the results of this joint commitment to excellence every day.” Duncan Aviation’s Education and Professional Development team is one example of the company’s commitment to its core values, its team approach and the idea of being a true “Learning Organization.” The ideas and training provided by the Education and Professional Development team are far-reaching and permeate Duncan Aviation; this team touches nearly every person at Duncan Aviation in some fashion. Duncan Aviation’s team of professional educators dedicated to support our employees is a testament to the innovative thinking prevalent at Duncan Aviation.


The ongoing investment in our employees’ personal and professional development is one of the reasons Duncan Aviation remains number one in the industry and why customers view Duncan Aviation as their “First Choice.” The programs developed by the Education and Professional Development team help us continue to be the best at what we do.

– Jeannine Falter, Vice President
Business Development