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Maintenance Industry Honors Graves, Lipinski for Aviation Workforce Leadership

On March 13, the aviation maintenance industry honored U.S. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) for addressing the chronic shortage of technicians threating to undermine the growth and vitality of America’s aerospace sector.

Art Smith, AAR Corp vice president and chief quality officer, congratulates U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) on his earning ARSA’s 2019 Legislative Leadership Award. Click to enlarge.

Last year, Graves and Lipinski were lead sponsors of H.R. 5701, which created a new federal grant program to help recruit and educate aviation technicians. The legislation was ultimately enacted as Sec. 625 in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization law signed by President Trump in October 2018.

In presenting the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s 2019 Legislative Leadership Award, the association’s President David Latimer, senior vice president of regulatory compliance for HAECO Americas, stated that the program demonstrates how good people collaborate to address pressing needs regardless of party affiliation and despite any evidence of ideological difference – a fact ARSA’s team observed in its industry-wide coalition building supporting the grant program.

“Those of us who don’t live and work in D.C. hear a lot about the acrimonious atmosphere on Capitol Hill,” Latimer said. “Whichever news you watch, you’d be forgiven for thinking Democrats and Republicans never speak to each other and are too busy throwing slings and arrows across the aisle to work together.

“Our two honorees are evidence that this simply isn’t true. It’s a significant statement and

CD Aviation Services Billy Cupps, director of quality assurance, and John Gilmore, quality engineer, post with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) after his acceptance of ARSA’s 2019 Legislative Leadership Award.

recognition of bipartisan cooperation that this is the first ARSA Legislative Leadership Award ever simultaneously presented to two members of Congress.”

ARSA members have identified the technician shortage as one of the top strategic challenges facing the aviation maintenance industry. The new program is designed to facilitate collaboration among businesses, labor organizations, schools and government to address the challenge. In a recent letter to Transportation Secretary Elain Chao and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, 40 aviation organizations called on the administration to request full funding for the technician program and a related a pilot education program in the president’s proposed FY 2020 budget.

The award presentation took place in conjunction with ARSA’s Legislative Day – a component of the association’s Annual Conference. More than four dozen executives from leading aviation maintenance companies met with lawmakers to urge Congress to appropriate the funds needed for the Department of Transportation to initiate the grant program.

Keep up to date on ARSA’s Annual Conference, which runs through March 15, at arsa.org/conference.



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