Cessna's New Head of Product Support

Kelly Reich has a new challenging position. Not only are his responsibilities diverse but so also is the fleet of aircraft for which his organization plays a major support role. BY DAVID JENSEN
Cessna Aircraft recently promoted Kelly Reich to vice president of product support in its Customer Service organization. In his new role, Reich is in charge of Cessna’s customer hotline, aircraft-specific product teams, worldwide field operations organization, maintenance engineering and technical information sales and distribution. It is a big – and complex – job, especially for an airframe manufacturer with a product line that ranges from small, propeller-driven aircraft to modern, mid- size corporate jets.

A 15-year veteran with Cessna, Reich would appear to be up for the task. He holds a master’s degree and a commercial pilot’s license with multiengine, instrument and flight-instructor ratings.
Reich took time from his busy schedule to talk to Aviation Maintenance. The interview began with an elaboration of Reich’s experience in aircraft product support.

AM: Tell us more about your background. Reich: My first position at Cessna was supervisor in charge of sales and marketing for our propeller spare-parts division. I was then sales manager in the same division, then director. I had interim stints working with McCauley Propeller Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cessna.

About four years ago, I transferred into the Citation world. As director, I was responsible for all sales and marketing for Citation spares and support, as well as for all our ProAdvantage programs: ProParts, PowerAdvantage+, TapAdvantage, ProTech, all those paid-by-the-hour programs. AM: What are the challenges of supporting such a broad range of aircraft models? Reich: When you look at the fact that we started producing the Cessna 120 in the 1940s and now have the Citation X model today, that speaks for itself in terms of diversity. So there are two aspects to the challenge: the length of time the products have been out there and the variety of models. Some challenges are regulatory. We’ve seen a lot of regulatory changes over 70 years. We’ve also seen a lot of changes with suppliers. People we worked with 20 or 30 years ago are no longer in business or not supporting aviation any more. So finding new suppliers to support those products can be a challenge, especially when you get into complex aspects.

However, the good part is that, internally, we have a great personnel base to work from. A fair number of our folks [in Product Support] come from either our production area or our experimental and advanced design area. They come over and help us support products after [the products] were introduced. Their experience is very helpful for supporting this diverse product line.  AM: I assume you still work quite a bit with vendors. Reich: Yes.

While with Cessna, I’ve spent a lot of time working with suppliers. And prior to working here, I was an OEM rep; I represented a lot of companies into the aircraft manufacturers. Today, I get very involved with suppliers, particularly if there is a systems issue. When working on a service bulletin, we’re looking for technical solutions and for that we need to get very involved with our suppliers. MORE ONLINE

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