With a very successful maintenance skills competition this past month at the Miami Beach Convention Center, held in conjunction with the annual MRO show, there is little time to celebrate our successes. And there were many successes – including fielding 39 teams of 5 people per team from 7 different countries. The global nature of aviation has made the skills competition a lure for countries wanting to prove their maintenance skills. And we were very pleased to see several countries added to the international mix this year. The overall winner was a team from Southwest Airlines. Yet the Chinese teams made a very strong showing, sweeping prizes in the commercial competitions. We’re looking for more teams and more countries to compete next year!
But with the competition barely over, planning for 2016 already begins. I would like you all to save the dates: April 5-7 in Dallas-Fort Worth. The exact location has not been announced but we will once again hold the skills competition in conjunction with the annual MRO show. The venue proved to be an outstanding opportunity to showcase maintenance talent and create a buzz among the hundreds of companies exhibiting at the MRO. Due at least in part to the location at the MRO show, we had record-breaking attendance both in terms of competitors but also visitors to our section of the convention.
Many of you have asked how you can help next year. We are a not-for-profit so our budget is very tight and we depend on volunteer help from mechanics like you – as well as sponsorships from companies big (this year Snap-On Tools provided $100,000 worth of tools that were given out as prizes in the competition) and small. We would definitely like the local aviation community to be as involved as possible, especially smaller organizations that don’t have the budgets to travel outside their local area. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to interact with the national and international maintenance community.
One of the things that made this year particularly special for me was the attendance at the event by more than 300 aviation high school students, mostly from the Miami area. They are, of course, our future and with the looming shortages in qualified maintenance personnel – some of that shortage isn’t looming but in fact here – I feel that we have to make opportunities to introduce a new generation to our profession. What better way to make that introduction than in a venue where the best and brightest compete?
So, in terms of help, any of you that work in or near the Dallas-Fort Worth area and would like to volunteer, please contact me (at [email protected] or Ken [email protected] ). We would love your help, especially anyone with connections to local aviation high schools and colleges. Of course, we look forward to volunteer help from other parts of the country and around the world!
We’re hoping to build on the impressive successes of prior years and make the skills competition a premiere function for maintenance professionals from around the world.