At Duncan Aviation, diversity is more than a buzzword. It’s been a practice for years as the company, founded as an aircraft sales organization, had to slowly diversify its services to survive. Teams at Duncan Aviation now specialize in services that reach from an aircraft’s tip to its tail. That’s a workforce diversified by talent.
Diversifying ideas, perspectives, and people is also extremely important. If everyone always agrees, things will stagnate. New ideas are vital to growth, despite the resistance they often face. New perspectives depend on new people.
With the labor pool shrinking and many industries facing critical shortages, finding new people can pose a challenge.
“Traditionally, we’ve had a huge pool of labor from which to choose, and we didn’t really have to do any recruiting,” says Enterprise Engineering Manager Michael Hill. “The need to recruit has accompanied an increased interest in diversity of workforce.”
Duncan Aviation has had a companywide DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) committee since 2019. The committee focuses on creating an environment in which everyone is welcome.
Michael explains that the committee’s goal is to allow team members to be their true, authentic selves.
“We want to be good stewards in our community, hire the best people for our positions, and help our team members perform their best,” says Michael. “Our team members should be able to come to work and talk about their families, whatever they may look like, and not hide who they are. We spend a lot of our time at work, and it would make for a miserable 40+ hours a week if you couldn’t be yourself.”
Recruiter David Sturdy says that the DE&I committee is a way for team members to learn and build a better future.
“I keep asking myself, ‘What is our mark in the industry?’” says David. “We want the members of our teams to reflect the demographics of the communities in which our facilities are located.”
Safety Supervisor Aya Hashimoto understands this is no small feat, and knows small steps will make positive impacts.
“We want to create a psychologically safe workplace for our team members,” says Aya. “As an industry leader, we want to impact not just Duncan Aviation, but the entire industry and continue to expand the comfort zone.”
Airframe Team Leader Sam Rogers wants to advocate for less vocal team members.
“I want to help bring awareness to the differences in people and make people more mindful of the effect their actions have,” says Sam. “We are working to create an environment where people are happy to come to work, can be themselves, and not feel like they have to hide anything.”
Engine Line Tech II Jeremy Abwoga says the DE&I committee is a way to share that what’s normal to one person is not necessarily normal for everyone.
“It’s more of an awareness piece,” says Jeremy. “It’s a way to help ourselves and each other realize that we aren’t so different. We all work together for the same goal—to serve our customers. We may come from different backgrounds, have different beliefs, but in the end, we aren’t that different.”
Engineering Team Leader Tracy Bohaboj believes the committee works to uphold the company’s DE&I statement:
Duncan Aviation team members have diverse backgrounds but a common thread that ties us together is an inherent sense to do the right thing and a professional, positive attitude.
“Not only do we want to have a diverse group of individuals, we want every one of them to feel like they belong at Duncan Aviation,” says Tracy.
With the support and guidance of Duncan Aviation’s Senior Management Team, Human Resources Supervisor Jennifer Monroe says HR team members have been working to establish partnerships with various community organizations.
“Specifically, we have organized facility tours and on-site career fairs for individuals within various community organizations who are interested in seeking employment with us,” says Jennifer. “We’ve also donated an industrial sewing machine to an organization with a sewing club, are working to develop a careers class to assist with resume creation and interview skill-building, and are looking at job shadowing and internship opportunities.”
As an example of the company-wide community outreach, Satellite Avionics Tech Tyler Kelly with our Kansas City location recently hosted 50 students from the Jegna Klub, which has a mission to improve high school graduation rates for its members. Efforts like this support Duncan Aviation’s long-term plans to expand team member diversity.
Additionally, Duncan Aviation’s recruiters have targeted outreach programs to historically Black colleges and universities with aviation programs to introduce students to career opportunities at Duncan Aviation and in the business aviation community.
“We as a company are also actively participating in Women In Aviation events, including the Women In Aviation Conference Symposium in Battle Creek held in February, and the 33rd Annual Women In Aviation Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee, in March,” says Jennifer.
West Coast Regional Manager Alfredo Garcia is proud to work for a company at the forefront of the industry.
“I appreciate the fact that Duncan Aviation is doing something about diversity and inclusion. This is helping our company become well-rounded, and this effort creates broader ideas, helps make everyone feel welcomed, and creates opportunities for a larger demographic,” says Alfredo. “It shows that Duncan Aviation has the drive to expand and continue to make a bigger and better workplace for everyone!”