Earlier this year, PAMA elected new leadership. The Honorable John Goglia took the reins in January and is hard at work forging partnerships and developing new initiatives that will ensure PAMA’s sustainability and viability.
After decades of experience as a mechanic at United Airlines and US Airways, John was the first and only airframe and powerplant mechanic to receive a presidential appointment to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), serving from August 1995 to June 2004. He played a key role in focusing international attention on the increasing significance of aircraft maintenance in aviation accidents
John now fills his time as an independent aviation safety consultant, adjunct professor at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, and president and co-founder of the Aerospace Maintenance Council, a non-profit trade group that raises awareness about aviation maintenance technician careers through its annual Aerospace Maintenance Competition.
Among numerous other accolades, he is recipient of the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association/Flight Safety Foundation Joe Chase Award and the FAA Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.His 40 plus years of experience in the industry has made him a sought-after consultant, expert, speaker and writer. He is frequent contributor to Forbes Magazine and author of Torqued, a monthly column appearing in AINOnline.
We sat down with John to discuss his vision for PAMA, and what’s been going on behind the scenes in the first few months since his election.
What made you want to take on the job?
For me, it’s about giving back. Aviation was very good to me and it’s about giving back to my community of mechanics, and helping young people find their own path in this industry.
As a long-time member, what is PAMA’s significance in the industry?
PAMA provides a voice for the general aviation maintenance community. It plays a very important role for aviation safety, and as representative for professionals in our industry.
What has been its crowning achievement?
The PAMA Olympics. PAMA founded the competition more than a decade ago, it lives on through chapter-sponsored local events, and nationally through the Aerospace Maintenance Competition. The event showcases our talents and does a lot to promote careers in aviation. It’s something the association should be really proud of.
Given the anticipated workforce shortage, what role can PAMA play to help attract and retain the next generation of aviation maintenance professionals?
Our members are the best spokespersons for our industry, we are the only ones that can show students what it’s like to be a mechanic.
We are in the beginning stages of an effort that would bring high school students into facilities to see what we do first-hand, to spark an interest in aviation. We think more students would be interested in being part of our community if they knew what it was like. It’s not just about using your hands, you have to be tech savvy, a good troubleshooter, good with electronics, etc.
When you think back to your career in aviation maintenance, what makes you most proud?
I felt most proud the day I got my A&P license. I decided to go to mechanic school because I liked to fix cars; I figured I’d like fixing airplanes too.
I’m also proud of the opportunities I created as an A&P. I started riveting and made my way up through the ranks, all the way to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. There is more to maintenance than being a mechanic, there are so many other ways you can succeed and give back. I want current and future maintenance professionals to see and know that. There’s a lot of opportunity.
What has been PAMA’s focus since you took on the leadership role?
The board made tweaks to the bylaws, secured professional management, quality checked the member database to ensure we’re able to better communicate with the membership, and cleared outdated content off the website. We’re also exploring partnerships that will bring value to our members and finding ways to get industry involved. There’s definitely been a lot going on behind the scenes.
One of the things we’re looking at is putting a program together to help move mechanics up to the supervisor or management level, to create a pathway. We’d like to give the workforce the opportunity to get more than just technical training, you need writing and people skills to go to the next step.
What are the three things you want to accomplish during your tenure as chairman?
We want to 1) put PAMA back on solid, financial footing, 2) create a reputation for promoting careers in aviation maintenance and opening the doors for young people that want to come into aviation and 3) meet our moral obligation to society and our community through membership enhancements.