Magazine article Techniques

Women in Aviation Maintenance

Magazine article Techniques

Women in Aviation Maintenance

Article excerpt

The Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) was born from the need for women involved in the maintenance and engineering segments of the aviation industry to communicate and support one another. These women found that, even at the Women in Aviation conference, they were perceived to be in the minority, since most of the attendees were pilots. With the creation of AWAM, they now have their own association, designed to meet their own needs.

AWAM was established for the purpose of "championing women's professional growth and enrichment in the aviation maintenance fields by providing opportunities for sharing information and networking, education, fostering a sense of community and increasing public awareness of women in the industry."

Robin Lamar is the president of AWAM and one of the original 10 cofounders of the organization. Lamar says that although the organization was started by women who saw it as something they were doing for one another, one of their biggest surprises was the reaction of an industry eager to find more women aviation maintenance technicians to promote and employ.

"What we didn't realize," explains Lamar, "is that the industry was waiting for a place to make a connection to women in aviation maintenance."

Membership in AWAM is open to both men and women and consists of maintenance technicians, engineers, teachers, scientists, vendors and pilots who support maintenance in one form or another. There are also student and corporate menthership opportunities.

Some very remarkable women serve as leaders of AWAM.

President Lamar has always loved airplanes--taking soaring lessons and general aviation lessons. But when she enrolled in aviation maintenance school, she found that adding the hands-on element made her love of airplanes complete. After graduating from West Los Angeles College with a degree in aviation maintenance technology, Lamar went to work for TWA. She was then employed by United Airlines from 1997 until her recent furlough. Lamar is certified to teach in career and technical education in California and has taught aviation maintenance at her alma mater--sometimes as a long-term substitute teacher.

AWAM Director Laura Gordon is director of curriculum development for Aviation Learning, Inc. She is also a licensed pilot and a licensed airframe and powerplant (A&P) technician with an expertise in avionics. AWAM Secretary Mary Alice Rice is a semi-retired owner and chairman of the board of Northrup Rice USA, Inc. …

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