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Next destination: Third career is a charm

After serving eight years in the United States Navy and operating a highly successful ice cream business, Middletown, Pennsylvania (MDT) Maintenance Base Manager Mike Myers joined Piedmont to get back to what he loves: aircraft maintenance. Mike reflects he wouldn’t be where he is today without the skills and knowledge gained from his two previous careers.

Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Mike traveled all over the country with his family growing up. He briefly attended McKendree University majoring in English and Pre-Law but decided becoming a lawyer was not a good fit for him. At the age of 22, he joined the United States Navy and attended Naval Aviation school at Naval Air Station Millington in Tennessee where he learned to be a fire control technician troubleshooting and repairing navigation, communication and weapons delivery systems. Mike was naturally skilled in electronic systems and enjoyed working on avionics systems in fighter aircraft. After eight years in the military and a majority of time spent at sea on aircraft carriers, he decided to leave the military and spend more time at home with his family.

Mike worked briefly for Boeing in Seattle installing electronic systems on 747-400 aircraft. He then obtained his certification in fire protection engineering and became a fire protection engineer for a local company where he designed and installed high-tech fire detection and suppression systems for large corporations.

During his time in Seattle, Mike’s parents had relocated from Kentucky to Ocean City, Maryland to open a Dippin’ Dots ice cream franchise on the famous boardwalk. Business was booming so they asked Mike and his family to join the business and help them grow. Mike packed up the family and moved from Seattle to Ocean City to help his parents run their successful business. Shortly after moving, Mike’s mother became terminally ill and he took over the business operation and expanded it to open seven more locations. He is proud to share that he operated four out of the top five busiest Dippin’ Dots locations in the world, which speaks volumes considering their business was only seasonal. The business was great until the economic downturn in 2008 and the resort industry suffered. He sold the business and decided to get back in to the aviation industry. In 2008, he joined Piedmont as an avionics technician in Salisbury, Maryland. During this time, Piedmont was downsizing their DeHavilland Dash-8 fleet and as a heavy check lead, he made sure all the avionics systems were put back into original configuration for when the planes were returned to the lessors. After six years, Mike was promoted to avionics supervisor in MDT.

“It was an exciting time at Piedmont as we were transitioning from the Dash-8’s to jets,” Mike recalls. During this time, Philadelphia’s line maintenance base was transitioning into a Remain Overnight (RON) base so he assisted by hiring avionics technicians for that location. In 2018, Mike was promoted to MDT Base Manager.

After working in two very different career fields prior to coming to Piedmont, Mike recalls each career taught him skills he uses in his job today. “From the military, I bring discipline, patience and empathy skills to my role at Piedmont,” says Mike. “Working in the airline industry is a true test when it comes to patience because you have limited time to complete your tasks each day. Our goal in maintenance is to get the planes serviced, out the door and to the gate safely and on time. Sometimes a technician can’t find a particular problem and I have to be patient with them and do what I can to help.” He also says that discipline comes into play when making sure his team is up-to-date on their training.

“Designing and overseeing the installation of complex fire protection systems gave me a keen eye and ability to see the big picture in my mind,” says Mike. “I use that ability and technical knowledge when troubleshooting avionics. When Piedmont upgraded the computer system in the Dash-8’s, it was an extremely large modification. Completing the modification was something I was comfortable doing and it was a success.”

Mike says working in the ice cream business and managing up to 100 employees taught him patience and the ability to talk to people when problems arise. “Learning how to deal with customers teaches you how to deal with anyone who has a different view than yourself,” says Mike. “To me, we are all on the same level here in MDT. When problems arise, I think it is important to meet everyone at the same level to see all perspectives. I’m here to help solve the problem and make sure my team has the tools they need to do their jobs.  As long as I have that kind of attitude, I will hopefully earn the respect of those that work for me.”

Mike proudly says this is his final career and he will retire from Piedmont. “I love this company and I love the people I work with,” he says with a smile. “The people I work with are some of the nicest, most professional people I’ve ever worked with. I’m grateful for the opportunity to utilize my previous skills to contribute to Piedmont’s success.”

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Next Destination is a Piedmont feature series that highlights our aviation professionals who joined Piedmont after working in a different career field. Piedmont is proud to recognize our team members for their contributions to the success of the airline.