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Message from the President

If you were living in the 1890s you would have never stepped into an elevator without an operator on board. Today you don’t give it a second thought. You call for the elevator, the doors open, you walk in, you press a button, and presto; the doors open and you are at the floor you selected. In the 1940s you would have refused to board a train that didn’t have an engineer up front. Today Disney World, and just about all International airports, move thousands of people a day on trains without engineers…or any operator for that matter. So now we are in the 21st century. Space craft are flying to the International Space Station; unmanned. Aircraft are patrolling borders, filming movie scenes, and carrying packages; unmanned. Even automobiles are beginning to show signs of autonomy. It will soon be common place to get in your vehicle, tell the virtual driver where you would like to go, and then relax during the trip. And as for passenger flights? I don’t think they are far behind the unmanned aerial vehicle movement. But, from elevators to aircraft, one thing remains in common with all of these technologies, the great need for the technician. We are seeing technical schools putting out thousands of technicians with industry demanding more. As I travel from coast to coast visiting technical schools I am told time and again that the students are being hired before they have completed their technical program. In aviation, this is less common due to the FAA licensing requirements; however, I am seeing students working in aircraft manufacturing while they go to school or work towards certifications. Yes, no matter how automated the aviation business becomes, we will always need technicians. The Northrop Rice Foundation is working hard to help the aviation industry meet their demands for new technicians. We provided more in scholarships this year than ever before and we are working with several aviation-related companies to assist them in providing scholarships, training programs, and aviation equipment donations to support their industry. If you are not currently a member of the Northrop Rice Foundation, visit our web site and join up. We are looking forward to helping you become, or help others become, a much needed aviation technician.