“The most important component in any aircraft is the human component”.
Jon Hawkins is a Production Manager with Atlas Aerospace, an Aereos Operating Company
Jon Hawkins, Production Manager, speaks his mind; he’s as straight-forward as anyone you’re likely to meet. With 32 years of experience under his belt, he’s exactly the sort of person you would want on your team. Shortly after high school, Jon joined the U.S. Marines and their testing determined he would be a good structural mechanic. He ended up in Hawaii, the same place his grandfather was sent to the day after Pearl Harbor. “Grandfather was a troubleshooter for Allison Aircraft…I ended up in Hawaii working on F4 Phantoms. Had the time of my life.”
“These are two very important factors in being successful: pride and quality of workmanship… and lots of coffee.”
“Always had a knack for fixing anything,” Jon admits, and so went his career with the VMFA-232 Red Devils. Returning home, a friend soon tipped him off that the aircraft MRO sector was thriving in Florida. He watched for jobs in the newspaper (this was a bit before LinkedIn), and landed the first gig for which he applied. “I quickly caught on; going from line mechanic to bench mechanic.”
All that training was invaluable to Jon who admits that in today’s environment, “computers are not my forte.” He augments the MRO shop’s Quantum ERP system with sound judgement. “To run a shop, you have to be here, be involved and pay attention. Education comes from experience…and little information provided by the OEMs makes things more of a challenge.”
Jon’s leadership is all the more important to new techs in his shop. Computer diagnostics aside, sometimes manual troubleshooting is still the best option. He embodies the Aereos Value, Dynamic, when he assists his team to “help them to ‘think outside the box,'” – taking over where schools for A&Ps sometimes fall short. His education is his experience, and he’s seen it all.
Nothing surprises Jon. “After a while…you just know, it’s how you’re wired. Thinking on the run. We want faster, faster, faster but there is a process.” And he takes that process very seriously. The process is “an event that must take place. A physical act to repair an item.”
When asked what is necessary to run a successful shop, Jon has it down to a science. “Stock repetitive units, high use items and units with long wait items. Keep an open dialogue with your sales force and keep your technicians happy – make work a fun place to be.”
And while the computers assist the shop in its daily activities, “there is still a Human Factor.” The experience of Jon and his team is what ultimately produces the best results for their clients. “These are two very important factors in being successful: pride and quality of workmanship.” Finally he adds, “and lots of coffee.”