Follow Your Passion / By Mark Luginbill
There is the saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” It sounds a lot like me because I feel blessed to have worked my entire career in the most exciting industry I can think of – aviation. As I reflect on my professional journey, I think of all the big and small influences that led me down this path. Growing up in a small Midwest town, my first memory of “things with wings” was my parents taking me to the local grass strip and watching small aircraft land right over our car. My mom would say, “There goes a Piper Cub” but it was only when I got older that I realized that every small plane, regardless of the type, was a Piper Cub to her! In middle school, I would hang out at my best friends’ house where his dad and brother built model airplanes and hung them from the ceiling. Gazing up at all the fighters and bombers, there is no doubt in my mind that was where I caught the airplane bug that has never left me.
The next logical step was to go to a college that could fuel my passion for aviation and I selected Purdue to earn my Airframe & Powerplant license. It was a bit awe-inspiring to take classes in the same hangar that Amelia Earhart prepped the Lockheed Electra for her ill-fated round-the-world trip.
Upon graduation, my first job was a long way from home but just a short drive away from the future GA Telesis offices. It was thrilling to be a “big jet” mechanic for a major U.S. carrier – Eastern Airlines. However, after a few years, I realized that crawling around inside the wings of L1011s and DC-9s to seal fuel leaks in the middle of Miami summers was NOT a long-term goal of mine. It was then that I went back to school at night for a Masters Degree in Aviation from Embry-Riddle. At the same time, I was learning to fly and it just so happened I earned my degree AND my private pilot license the same week. How’s that for passion!
As Eastern faded into the history books, the next step of my journey turned out to be just six blocks away with a small, relatively unknown – at that time – commercial aircraft manufacturer named Airbus. Beginning in Customer Support at their new Training Center, not only did I gain experience with a growing company with a family feel, but found myself becoming a seasoned international traveler, something that was never on my radar growing up. Through my long tenure with Airbus, most of it Virginia, I gained a wide range of experience with trade shows, customer events, aircraft performance, and product marketing.
Little did I know that this blend of technical experience and love of talking about airplanes would address the needs of the GA Telesis Marketing Department. I’ve only been here a month but recognize in GA Telesis, that same sense of family, teamwork and belief in the company’s success and growth. In hindsight, I’ve lost count of the amazing experiences I’ve had by being around all things that fly but ask me about planes and the memories will come back.
If you’re a Disney movie fan, it feels like my move back to Florida completes the “Circle of Life”. And the one constant in this circle is aviation – my passion for aviation.