Avionics News November 2012 - 57

Anchorage to finish her degree at the University of Alaska. “I intended to work in biology – fish and wildlife was particularly interesting to me,” she said. However, upon earning her degree, the timing for her job search was not good. “When I graduated from college, the Trans Alaska oil pipeline had just been completed,” she said. “The competition for jobs was tremendous – even entry-level jobs were being filled with people with master’s degrees.” She answered an employment ad for Northwest Airlines – in the catering department – “and that’s how I got my foot in the door of aviation,” she said. “It was a great job with great pay and benefits.” The catering job was fine until 1988, when Northwest started to decrease its presence in Anchorage. “Northwest started to sell off some of its business, including the catering business,” she said. Northwest was able to put its employees on furlough and help them find jobs. That’s when she made a big career decision. “I decided to go to A&P school, since Northwest would hire you before they’d hire someone off the street,” she said. She earned an associate degree in aviation maintenance from the University of Alaska and went to work for Northwest Airlines in Minneapolis. “But soon, I missed Alaska; I missed the mountains and returned.” She sent letters of interest to several Alaskan aviation companies and began working for Era in 1989. During the next few years, she worked her way up from technician to supervisor to manager, and you might end her story by saying, “she lived happily ever after.” That’s mostly true, but as a manager, she missed the hands-on work she used to do as a technician. “I have a great job and love it, but the hands-on technical part of the job is what I love the most, and I don’t get to do that often. I primarily support our technicians, so that is a double-edged sword.” Like many of her colleagues in the avionics industry, she has survived what she calls “an interesting time at Era” where ownership changed several times. “Each owner wanted to keep different aspects of the company, so there was a bit of uncertainty, but we weathered all that.” Part of the change was moving from a building that housed the avionics shop for 30 years. “We only moved to the other side of the airport, but it was a big project,” she said. “The avionics shop personnel moved the entire shop. It was quite a task to break down all the benches and test equipment, but we all worked together.” When it comes to her management style, she said, “What’s most important is treating people with respect and honesty and

Susan Windle Beam enjoys working with the staff at Era Aviation.

expecting that in return. I want to provide the technicians who work for me with all the tools they need to do the job. I want to provide them with training. I have a lot of respect for them.” In fact, other than scheduling, not much management is required. “They come to work and just start working. I never have to hover over people to get them to work.” Windle Beam has relied on the Aircraft Electronics Association throughout the years. “The support from the AEA is pretty incredible,” she said. “Ric Peri (AEA vice president of government and industry affairs) always impresses me. I’ll send him an email, and no matter what time of day, he responds within an hour. I can only guess he lives with his computer. That’s a huge value.” In addition, she is always impressed with the annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show and the obvious amount of staff time and planning that goes into organizing it. She joked
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News November 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
International News and Regulatory Updates
Modernizing Electricals
Member Profile
House & Hangar Calls
Gliders, Sailplanes and Motor-Gliders
A Conversation With...
Apple's Latest Smartphone Creates Chaos, Opportunity
Before & After
Member Profile
Business Basics
Aviation Aces
Theory & Practice
Legal Ease
What's New
Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News November 2012 - Intro
Avionics News November 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News November 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News November 2012 - 1
Avionics News November 2012 - 2
Avionics News November 2012 - 3
Avionics News November 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News November 2012 - 5
Avionics News November 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News November 2012 - 7
Avionics News November 2012 - 8
Avionics News November 2012 - 9
Avionics News November 2012 - 10
Avionics News November 2012 - 11
Avionics News November 2012 - 12
Avionics News November 2012 - 13
Avionics News November 2012 - 14
Avionics News November 2012 - 15
Avionics News November 2012 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News November 2012 - 17
Avionics News November 2012 - 18
Avionics News November 2012 - 19
Avionics News November 2012 - Modernizing Electricals
Avionics News November 2012 - 21
Avionics News November 2012 - 22
Avionics News November 2012 - 23
Avionics News November 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News November 2012 - 25
Avionics News November 2012 - 26
Avionics News November 2012 - 27
Avionics News November 2012 - House & Hangar Calls
Avionics News November 2012 - 29
Avionics News November 2012 - 30
Avionics News November 2012 - 31
Avionics News November 2012 - 32
Avionics News November 2012 - 33
Avionics News November 2012 - Gliders, Sailplanes and Motor-Gliders
Avionics News November 2012 - 35
Avionics News November 2012 - 36
Avionics News November 2012 - 37
Avionics News November 2012 - 38
Avionics News November 2012 - 39
Avionics News November 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News November 2012 - 41
Avionics News November 2012 - Apple's Latest Smartphone Creates Chaos, Opportunity
Avionics News November 2012 - 43
Avionics News November 2012 - 44
Avionics News November 2012 - 45
Avionics News November 2012 - 46
Avionics News November 2012 - Before & After
Avionics News November 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News November 2012 - 49
Avionics News November 2012 - 50
Avionics News November 2012 - 51
Avionics News November 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News November 2012 - 53
Avionics News November 2012 - 54
Avionics News November 2012 - 55
Avionics News November 2012 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News November 2012 - 57
Avionics News November 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News November 2012 - 59
Avionics News November 2012 - 60
Avionics News November 2012 - 61
Avionics News November 2012 - Legal Ease
Avionics News November 2012 - 63
Avionics News November 2012 - 64
Avionics News November 2012 - 65
Avionics News November 2012 - What's New
Avionics News November 2012 - 67
Avionics News November 2012 - 68
Avionics News November 2012 - 69
Avionics News November 2012 - Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News November 2012 - 71
Avionics News November 2012 - 72
Avionics News November 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News November 2012 - Cover4
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