SGTC hosts large Aviation Industry Listening Session

Published 8:06 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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Staff Reports

  South Georgia Technical College recently hosted one of the four Aviation Industry Listening Sessions sponsored by the Technical College System of Georgia.  The event featured individuals from Delta Airlines, Pratt & Whitney, Robins Air Force Base, and Lockheed Martin in addition to officials from the Technical College System of Georgia and four other technical colleges.

   “The purpose of this event is to provide a forum to share emerging trends within the aviation industry, and also spotlight the Technical College System of Georgia and its Aviation Maintenance Technology programs efforts to best meet the needs of the industry,” said Ray Perren, TCSG Deputy Commissioner for Technical Education.

   South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford welcomed the over 100 individuals who attended the meeting in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus.  Officials from Delta Airlines, Pratt & Whitney, Robins Air Force Base and Lockheed Martin met with SGTC Aviation Maintenance students, SGTC officials, officials from Columbus Technical College, Albany Technical College, Southern Regional Technical College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College as well as Technical College System of Georgia officials.

   “South Georgia Technical College has the oldest aviation maintenance technology program in the state,” said SGTC President Dr. John Watford.  “We are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year and Aviation Maintenance was one of the original programs offered in 1948.”

   Dr. Watford also shared with the Aviation Industry partners that SGTC is one of only two technical colleges in Georgia with on-campus housing and it offers students the “complete college experience” with nationally ranked academic programs, student activities, and intercollegiate athletics.  SGTC Aviation Maintenance Technology students have finished in the top in the Georgia SkillsUSA competitions and in the nation.

   Jon Byrd, TCSG State Aviation Advisor and Executive Director of Aviation for Georgia Northwestern Technical College explained the purpose of the Listening Sessions and the Round Table discussions.  Joseph Echols TCSG Dual Enrollment Director gave an overview of the TCSG Secondary Education Initiatives and then the Industry officials presented information about and the needs of the industry.

   Mark Sandrin, Georgia Manager for TechOps Training for Delta Airlines; Jesse Peabody, Associate Director for AMO for Pratt & Whitney; Brian Malloy, Training Supervisor for Robins Air Force Base; and Clarence “Dave” Byington of Lockheed Martin; talked with students and the education officials about the benefits and needs of the airlines industry officials.

   FAA-certified Aviation Maintenance Technicians work in highly-technical specialty occupations involving keeping U.S.-registered aircraft operating safely and efficiently.  The career provides well-paid opportunities.

   AMTs hold highly-transferable skills that can be used in a broad-range of industries; career opportunities in the aviation section include employment at airlines, fixed-based operators, manufacturers, repair stations, aviation maintenance schools and in business or general aviation.  Specialty fields include avionics, balloons and airships, rotorcraft, and unmanned aircraft systems.

   SGTC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program can be completed in two years and students have the opportunity to test for the FAA Airframe and Powerplant licenses.  For more information about the SGTC Aviation Maintenance, Avionics, or Aircraft Structural Technology programs contact Victoria Herron,, SGTC Lead Aviation Maintenance Technology instructor.

   SGTC Aviation Maintenance Technology students are eligible to apply for the HOPE Grant and the U.S. PELL grant.  The HOPE Grant and the HOPE Career Grant will pay 100% of tuition for qualified students.