Class of 2011: What now for Tom Speca?
- Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering technology
- Master’s degree in technology with an emphasis in aviation and aerospace management
- Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificate
The position deals with issues that come up during the manufacturing and operation of the aircraft, in my case the Boeing 747-8. I will be asked to design and implement repairs and corrections to the aircraft to improve and return the safety of the airframe, and extend any corrections into the manufacturing process. This could include design repairs for customer’s operational airplanes, design repairs for problems that develop during manufacturing, or extend product improvement to the entire fleet from manufacturing to operations.
Purdue classes that helped prepare Tom for his job:
- All classes during the undergraduate dealing with education and lab training for the Airframe and Powerplant Certificate. In particular: Advanced Composites (AT272), materials courses (AT108, AT208, AT308), and maintenance management (AT402)
- Applied Research Proposal (AT496) and Project (AT497) – I learned about Lean Six-sigma and process improvement
- AT 520: Operational Assessment and Improvement
- AT 524: Managerial Economic Decision Making
- AT 530: Multicultural Issues in Team Operations
Other ways the College of Technology and/or Purdue provided preparation and assistance:
- The College of Technology provided me with the hands-on experience to understand the practical application of engineering and manufacturing. Not only do I offer a basic understanding of engineering theories and processes, but I know how to directly apply them to real world processes. My hands-on experience has given me opportunities in internships during the summers and as a leader on a design and build team with engineers.
- My graduate degree provided me with experience in the application of managerial tools. I developed an understanding of working with people and processes to improve efficiency for product flows.
- Purdue provided me preparation for working for an employer like Boeing through the level of students that study here, and the standards that are required of those students. I have grown to appreciate the variety of students, the level of competition, and the various points of view at Purdue. It has also humbled me to knowing where my level of understanding is and given me experience in searching out help when I need it. I feel employers look for students that not only are naturally smart and can earn good grades on their own, but also have learned how to seek out the answers to questions they can not answer themselves.
Thanks go to:
- My parents: for supporting me during my education both before coming to Purdue, and during my time at Purdue. They always pushed me to try harder and never give up on my goals.
- My fiancée: for dealing with my ever-changing school and project schedules and supporting me in my opportunities to take summer internships 2,000 miles away even though it meant spending summers away from one another.
- The Aviation Technology faculty: for truly caring about the welfare of the students going through the program; always taking the time to talk to students when they have needs and questions; supporting students in personal and classroom projects and career goals; and becoming friends as well as instructors.