Aviation Maintenance Technology program graduate comes back to faculty position
Josh Page was a little late coming to the Aircraft Mechanic party. He had always enjoyed his hobby of working on ‘muscle cars’ and bought a 1976 Pontiac Trans AM when he was just eighteen. That it needed a new engine made it even better. He loved working with his hands.
But he never thought about taking his mechanical aptitude in a different – higher – direction until he heard SJVC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) radio ad several years ago. It caught him at the right time. He was working at a job he didn’t like and knew he needed something that would allow him to provide better for his family. He was intrigued and made an appointment to tour the Fresno TEC campus.
Ten years and solid AMT work experience later, Josh is teaching AMT students at the same Fresno TEC campus from which he graduated in 2013.
How has your background as a SJVC AMT graduate made you a more effective faculty member in that program?
I came into this program with the assumption that it’s going to be hard, and I had that young mentality of ‘Oh, I can’t do that’. But my struggles were more of just putting in the effort and not being lazy. I knew if I just put in the work, I could figure it out.
It is something I can use to tell my students, ‘Everything you want in life is not going to be easy. If you want success, it’s going to be hard. And that’s what makes this life (in aviation) so great – you had to work for it.’
How well did your AMT program education prepare you for a position in that industry?
I graduated (from SJVC’s AMT program) in 2013 and got my Airframe & PowerPlant certifications a couple of months later, just before I went to work for SkyWest (airlines).
I was at SkyWest for 7-years with a Level-3 Mechanic position and because of my experience there I got a position at ACI (Aviation Consultants, Inc.) where I worked on multimillion dollar planes. I was part of a team that traveled around California and out-of-state to work on super expensive executive jets for a few celebrities and other famous people.
What attracts would-be students to SJVC’s AMT program?
There has to be that ‘spark’ of something. It’s a fascination with aircraft and getting to touch the airplanes. Sometimes it’s an interest in mechanical things in general. It might be more of a family member’s idea or just providing better for family.
There is a certain ring to ‘aircraft mechanic’. You can say ‘car mechanic’ or ‘diesel mechanic’, but when you say ‘aircraft mechanic, it’s an automatic conversation maker. People want to know about it; there’s a curiosity about it.
We have a lot of students who have a military background who have worked on aircraft and do very well because this is a natural progression for them to take.
What is your teaching style in the classroom and when you are with students who are working on aircraft in the program’s hangar?
Nothing in the AMT program is really hard; you just have to take the time to explain things in a way that students understand. Diligence and perseverance are the most important things for students to focus on when going through this program.
Instructors are on the front lines of support. If a student is struggling, I tell them, ‘Let’s try to figure this out’. If it’s a make-or-break moment, they usually rise to the occasion.
I really push the maintenance manual because they really need to understand it. They can’t rely on another person’s information; they need to get it for themselves. I tell them that there are no short-cuts in aviation maintenance. They know ‘the look’ I’m going to give them, when they want that fast answer.
Can you tell if someone is going to do well in this career choice?
There are always two kinds of mechanics in aviation: A good mechanic or a less effective mechanic. There is no in between.
A ‘good mechanic’ will make it a habit, part of their behavior to read the manual. They will make sure they have everything they need before they actually do something. This person is always working on bigger projects and troubleshooting.
A ‘less effective mechanic’ has an arrogance and assumes they know something without reading it. That also makes them uncertain about doing something out of their comfort zone. In aviation, when you’re dealing with people’s lives, arrogance is a very dangerous thing.
I want all my students to be good mechanics by knowing that it’s one thing to understand the theory of how things work, but it is even more important to learn to read a maintenance manual and follow directions.
How important is it that your campus and AMT program are located at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport?
Military jets take off, commercial planes land and take off all day long. Being here allows our students to see all these aircraft and still have that wonder-look when they see it.
It is also a reminder that this is a solid career path, in demand. It’s evolving technology, so there’s always opportunity for them to learn something new.
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