Aviation Maintenance Companies do Good Works

By Kim Gibson

Not only do many companies in the maintenance industry do good work, they do “good works” as well. Learn how the maintenance industry is giving back.

There is a school of thought out there that says corporations need only answer to their stockholders therefore they have no basis in being socially responsible. To those of that mindset, giving corporate dollars to charitable organizations is anathema.

With today’s technology we have had our eyes opened to the fact that we are not just members of our own tight-knit communities; we are all part of a larger global community. As such, we are compelled to help not just those close to us, but also people we don’t even know – especially after a tragedy has occurred. So it’s not surprising that many companies, including many within the aviation industry, are now actively practicing corporate social responsibility.

One such company is TIMCO Aviation Services, which provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services at locations across the country. Based in Greensboro, NC, the company employs approximately 3,000 people.

Leonard Kazmerski, vice president of marketing and business development at TIMCO, explained that they get involved four different ways. Firstly, on the corporate level, TIMCO makes an annual contribution to the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, which is a refurbished DC-10 jet aircraft. According to the ORBIS website, the Flying Eye Hospital “is literally a hospital with wings that brings together dedicated eye care professionals and aviators to give the gift of sight to developing countries around the world.”

Another way TIMCO gets involved is through company-organized events that allow for their employees to raise money for charitable organizations. Kazmerski described their annual summer event, which is a full day of fun for the employees. They pay to participate in activities such as bake sales, races and car washes and the money raised is then donated to the American Heart Association. They also have events around the holidays that benefit Toys for Tots.

At TIMCO they also encourage their employees to get involved in their local communities. Kazmerski explained that the company sanctions events that are organized by employees. One such event is an annual Alzheimer’s walk in Greensboro, NC, in which the employees team up to walk and raise funds to help end that disease.

“It’s fascinating because almost every other week there’s an event somewhere in which our employees are involved,” Kazmerski said. “We want to be looked at as an engaged member of the community and we encourage our employees to get engaged wherever they want to.”

And finally TIMCO works with their customers to help with programs in which they are interested. “We not only donate funds, but we also send employees to participate in their events,” Kazmerski said. Kazmerski expressed his hope that these types of programs would grow across the industry.

“It would be wonderful to see more companies in the aviation industry develop programs that help the communities in which they are located, because airplanes get people excited and that same passion can help raise awareness and funding for charitable organizations within those communities,” Kazmerski said. He may be getting his wish.

In the Heartland

Jet Aviation, a business aviation services company, employs around 5,000 people worldwide. Founded in 1967, Jet Aviation “provides maintenance, completions and refurbishment, engineering, fixed base operations, along with aircraft management, charter services, aircraft sales and personnel services,” according to the company’s website.

Ann Hein, director of public relations and communications, explained that the company has charitable programs in place at the global level and then particular locations have programs that help out in their local communities. For instance, at Jet Aviation St. Louis, where Hein is located, they have red canisters sprinkled around the company. Employees bring in food donations and drop them off in the canisters. For those donations the employees are then rewarded with being able to wear blue jeans on the last day of their work week. The food is gathered and each week a truck from Operation Foodbank comes to pick up the donations.

“It’s such an easy thing to do but the community literally gets a huge reward,” Hein said. “So far this year we’ve donated about 1,000 pounds of food, which equates to about 900 meals.”

Employees at Jet Aviation are also encouraged to get involved. They participate in the local United Way, for example. Also some employees formed a team and participated in a heart walk in St. Louis recently. “It’s (giving back to the community) become a part of the fabric of what we do,” Hein said.

Another company getting involved is Duncan Aviation, which provides support services for business aircraft. They have nearly 1,900 team members and more than 20 locations nationwide. According to Lori Johnson, marketing communications manager at their headquarters in Lincoln, NE, “Duncan Aviation is involved in many charitable organizations at a variety of levels.”

Last summer the Special Olympics games were held in Lincoln, so Duncan teamed with Cessna “to coordinate, staff and run the Cessna Citation Air Lift for the games,” according to Johnson. In addition, about 300 employees volunteered their time and helped on arrival and departure days.

Duncan also holds company-sponsored campaigns that raise money for the local United Way chapters in Battle Creek, MI and Lincoln. These campaigns include fun events for employees, such as pancake breakfasts and paper airplane contests, silent auctions and raffles. Also many employees team up to work with Habitat for Humanity. Some use it as a team-building exercise as well.

Another campaign is for a local backpack program, in which food is sent home in backpacks for school-aged kids who are enrolled in the school lunch program. Johnson explained that different departments compete to bring in the most food pounds or the largest number of items.

Florida Sunshine Banyan-Style

And then there’s Banyan Air Service, which is located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and employs around 160 people. Banyan is privately owned by Don Campion, who grew up in a small village called Egbe, located in Nigeria. He is the son of missionaries. In 1952, Serving In Mission, an organization led by his parents, founded Egbe Hospital. When Campion went back to visit, he found the hospital in need. He is actively trying to raise funds for the Egbe Hospital Revitalization Project. The company is dedicated to this cause as well and last Christmas the entire Banyan team chipped in to make a donation of $7,600 as a surprise for Campion.

“He was totally amazed. It took his breath away,” Nancy Bouvier said of the donation. Bouvier, director of marketing for Banyan, explained that Egbe Hospital project has become important to the entire team through the devotion Campion has shown.

Another way Banyan gives back is through a company-wide initiative that benefits 4Kids of South Florida, a non-profit that helps children in the foster care system. Team mates at Banyan not only donate money straight from their paychecks, they also donate their time to help renovate homes so that siblings can stay together, and they also do home repairs.

Each January Banyan holds an event called Challenge Air. The all-day event includes many fun activities for disabled children, the best of which is a 30-minute flight that Bouvier says the kids love. This past January they had 30 volunteer pilots that gave 120 flights to the children. “The Banyan team is always very generous and willing to give back to the community,” Bouvier said. Indeed.

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