SGTC aviation alumni return to share industry insights

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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Four South Georgia Technical College Aviation Maintenance Technology graduates returned to the college recently to “give back” and share with the current Aviation Maintenance and Precision Machining and Manufacturing students about current industry needs.

   Jamie R. Guined, Kip and Kolby McClelland, and Ryan Carter were the four graduates who returned recently to share insights and industry knowledge with the current South Georgia Technical College Aviation Maintenance Technology students, Precision Machining and Manufacturing students as well as SGTC faculty.  They met with students in the Griffin B. Bell Aerospace Center on the Americus campus.

 Jamie R. Guined was a non-traditional student in the aviation maintenance technology program who enrolled at SGTC to pursue her aviation maintenance interests after having earned a four-year degree and being employed in a different field.

   In addition to speaking to the SGTC Aviation Maintenance students, the South Georgia Technical College Foundation scholarship recipient has returned to SGTC numerous times to give back of her time for recruiting fairs and STEM camps to motivate high school students to consider a career in the Aviation Maintenance Technology industry.  She received the Hurt Aviation Scholarship and various grants.

   She worked as a Quality Assurance Auditor/Air Safety Agent for Embraer in Macon after completing her education at SGTC.  She is now working with Blue Origin Aerospace Company.  Blue Origin Enterprises is an American aerospace manufacturer, defense contractor, launch service provider and space technologies company.  Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos with the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space for the benefit of Earth.  They are developing reusable launch vehicles and in-space systems that are safe, low cost, and serve the needs of all civil, commercial, and defense customers.

   Guined talked about the need for the Aviation Maintenance Technology graduates and Precision Machine and Manufacturing graduates in the space industry.  She also shared her story and how South Georgia Technical College helped her to realize her career ambitions.

   In addition to Guined, Kip and Kolby McClelland, owners of Twin Aviation LLC, shared their stories and talked about the need for AVMT’s in the general aviation section and how SGTC allowed them to achieve their goals in the aviation maintenance field.

   Koby and Kip McClelland, twin brothers from Douglas, GA, graduated from the South Georgia Technical College Aviation Maintenance Technology program in August 2020. Not long after graduation and starting their own business, they were featured in “Flying Magazine” for their expertise in helping a retired American Airlines pilot, who experienced engine trouble in a Piper Arrow.  “Flying Magazine” is the number one source for aviation news, airplane and gear reviews since 1927.

  The twin brothers are both thankful they chose South Georgia Technical College in Americus to study aviation maintenance and receive their Airframe and Power Plant (A & P) certification.

    South Georgia Technical College celebrated its 75th anniversary recently and aviation maintenance was one of the original programs offered when the school first opened.  It is still going strong today.

   “I always knew I wanted to fly and work with airplanes,” said Kip McClelland.  “I initially tried to enter the military but that didn’t work out so my brother and I googled ‘good A & P schools.’  South Georgia Technical College came up and we visited the college and fell in love with the school.

   “Anytime, I have the opportunity to tell others about South Georgia Tech, I am quick to tell them it is a great place to go.  Everyone is very friendly and it is very affordable.  The instructors are awesome and we both still call Instructor Paul Pearson, if we have a question about something,” laughed Kip McClelland.

   The McClelland brothers operate a full-time aviation maintenance shop that conducts annuals, service calls, radio repair and more.  Basically, anything to get someone back in the air quickly and safely.  Kip and Kolby are enjoying the opportunity to excel in the aviation maintenance field utilizing the skills they learned at South Georgia Technical College.  The two both earned their pilots’ licenses after graduation and are offering flying lessons in addition to the maintenance and repair.

   As a student at SGTC in 2019, Koby McClelland was selected to represent the Aviation Maintenance program for Student of Excellence by instructor Paul Pearson. Ryan Carter was also nominated for that honor while he was a student. Carter went on to be recognized as the overall Student of Excellence for December. He was also an SGTC Foundation Dan Linginfelter Aviation Maintenance Scholarship recipient.

   “Ryan goes above and beyond in everything that he does,” said SGTC Aviation Maintenance Instructor Victoria Herron when she nominated him for that award.   Carter also represented SGTC in SkillsUSA competition and was a member of the National Technical Honor Society. Today Carter owns South Georgia Aero LLC in Waycross, Georgia.  He is from Blackshear, GA.

    Carter decided to come to SGTC to study aircraft maintenance technology after working on his pilot’s license for a summer. “I went at least every Saturday and twice a week to work on my pilot’s license – and when I was flying, I would help my instructor in the shop. I realized then that maybe I needed to go over to maintenance,” he said. “So, I started here [at South Georgia Tech], and I was nervous, but we became a family in the class. I think that helped all of us.”

   All four individuals thanked their instructors for the dedication and willingness to go the extra mile for their students.  And they all expressed appreciation for the opportunities that their education from South Georgia Technical College had provided in the way of career opportunities.

   South Georgia Technical College is currently registering students for summer semester.  Classes begin May 23.  Registrations will be held on April 23 and May 21.  SGTC offers over 200 associate degree, diploma and technical certificate of credit programs of study.

   SGTC is one of only two technical colleges in Georgia with on-campus housing.  SGTC also offers students the complete college experience with nationally recognized academics, student activities, and intercollegiate athletics.  Currently students can apply in March and have the $25 application fee waived by using the code MARCH24.  To apply, visit and click on Apply Now.

    SGTC alumni are also encouraged to reach out and share their experiences by contacting SGTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird at or 229-931-2248.  “We are very proud of our graduates and students,” said Bird.  “With over 75 years of providing workforce development training and education, we have a large number of graduates who have done exceptional things in their chosen career fields.  We would like to hear from them.”