Press-Republican

November 17, 2012

Career path carved for Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute grads

By DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute has developed a relationship with a company that performs maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft at the former Griffiss Air Force Base.

Premier Aviation operates an approximately 400,000-square-foot facility at Griffiss International Airport. 

CV-TEC Director Dr. Barry Mack said the burgeoning relationship between the two entities is welcome news.

“The understanding established between CV-TEC and Premier Aviation provides an exciting and desirable pathway for our graduates,” he said in a press release.

Larry Atkinson, general manager of the Premier facility in Rome, N.Y., visited the Aeronautical Institute campus Nov. 2. 

“I was very impressed with the staff and students. They are very professional,” he said when reached Friday. 

“You can tell they are very enthusiastic and excited.”

Premier started at Trois-Rivieres Airport in Quebec in 2002 and acquired the former Empire Aero facility at Griffiss in 2010. Atkinson said they have 142 employees in Rome, and their goal is to add 10 a month at present.

He said they don’t presently know how many they could employ, but the facility is capable of handling 700 workers.

The two bays in the hangar can each handle aircraft such as the Boeing 747. They are also capable of holding four narrow-body aircraft at one time.

CAREER PATHWAY

James McCartney, principal of the CV-TEC Satellite Campus, where the institute is located, said Atkinson’s visit was very encouraging. He said Premier officials had approached them.

“They are very interested in providing a career pathway for our graduates.”

It is an exciting opportunity for recent graduates to find employment with a maintenance, repair and overhaul company yet remain in the Northeast, he said.

CV-TEC and Clinton Community College started plans for Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute in 2004 as a way to promote economic development, provide high-quality technical training to high-school students and adults and promote development of Plattsburgh International Airport. It was also intended to help attract aviation-related businesses such as Laurentian Aerospace Corp., which has yet to obtain funding.

The FAA-certified Airframe and Maintenance school opened in the fall of 2009.

The institute has both high-school and adult students. The first class graduated last year, and its students are now pursuing FAA certification as Airframe and Powerplant technicians.

Another class is expected to qualify to take Airframe-only exams in November. McCartney said they can then return to school for their powerplant education if they desire.

‘WIN-WIN’

Atkinson said his company would interview graduates to see which ones meet Premier’s needs. He said he believes there is a potential to employ several graduates every year.

Mack said it’s a win-win for the school and company.

“The Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute represents an excellent educational resource for our area school districts, and the relationship with Premier Aviation represents an excellent resource for the high-school students and adults,” he said. 

“The Rome facility is accessible to us geographically and allows those who are serious about working in the aviation industry to find meaningful employment.”

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com