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The Grapevine 2022 Issue 2
Aug 19, 2022
In this Issue
  • Special Thanks
  • Officer of the Year Award 2021
  • Presentation of the AMFA Scholarships for 2022
  • First Alaska Airlines Maintenance Controller Area Representative Takes Office
  • AMFA Teams Compete in Annual AMC Competition
Special Thanks…
By Jay Johnson, National Secretary/Treasurer
Bret Oestreich, National President (right), with Local 32 President & Interim National Vice President Rui Leonardo
The National Executive Council (NEC) extends a special thanks to Rui Leonardo for his contributions to AMFA as the Interim National Vice President from January 1 to April 5, 2022. In accordance with the AMFA Constitution, Rui was appointed to this interim position until an election was conducted to fill the recently vacated position. During this time, Leonardo was dedicated not only to accomplishing the assigned duties of Interim National Vice President, he also continued to fulfill his responsibilities as Local 32 President.
Leonardo assisted with the successful organizing card drives at both Sun Country Airlines and Spirit Airlines. The Mechanic and Related employees at Sun Country Airlines voted overwhelmingly to elect AMFA as their collective bargaining agent. The election was certified by the National Mediation Board (NMB) on June 9, 2022. The representation election at Spirit Airlines will be tallied by the NMB on September 25, 2022.
On April 5, 2022, Pat Amore was sworn in as the National Vice President. Leonardo will continue working with Amore through the Spirit Airlines tally and NMB determination.
The NEC sends a heartfelt thank you to Leonardo for his service and dedication to AMFA.
Officer of the Year Award 2021
Nicholas "Nic" Kula receives the 2021 Officer of the Year award
On March 1, 2022, the National Executive Council presented Nicholas “Nic” Kula with the Officer of the Year Award for 2021. Nic started his tenure at Alaska Airlines in December 2015 as a Line Aircraft Technician and quickly became actively involved with AMFA Local 14.
In January 2018, Nic was sworn in as the Local 14 Secretary, and then, in January 2021, he was sworn in as the Local 14 President. Nic has been an integral leader of the Local Executive Council as the Local traversed the Alaska Airlines/Virgin America Airlines merger, the re-certification at Horizon Air and subsequent negotiations, updating the Local’s website, and development and implementation of the very first Local 14 App.
Nic is also involved in the community as a Technical Advisor Committee Member (TAC) for South Seattle College. 
These are just a few of the reasons why Nic was chosen for this award. His dedication to AMFA, his local, and our craft is distinguished and well-deserving of this special recognition.
Presentation of the AMFA Scholarship for 2022
AMFA National officers presented Tucker Key with the 2022 AMFA Scholarship. Key received this scholarship in 2021 as well, making him the first-ever two-time recipient. Key is a student at Aircraft Institute of Maintenance in Charlotte, NC.
Portland Community College student Eric Thune was presented with the 2022 AMFA Scholarship by National President Bret Oestreich.
AMFA National awarded three scholarships for 2022. Applicants had to be currently enrolled in a school to gain their Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license, be a US Citizen, and submit a 500-word essay with their application answering the question: “What is your interpretation of Airworthiness and Safety of Flight?” 
After careful review and consideration, the National Executive Council selected Tucker Key—AMFA’s only two-time Scholarship winner—from the Aircraft Institute of Maintenance (AIM) in Charlotte, NC; Eric Thune from Portland Community College in Portland, OR; and Joel Mink from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Cincinnati, OH, as the recipients of the AMFA Scholarship for 2022. 
National Officers presented Key, Thune, and Mink with a plaque and $2000 scholarship at their respective schools in June, July, and September 2022.
Tucker Key is set to graduate from AIM in 2022 with a 4.0 GPA. Key has completed his General License and is in the process of getting his Airframe and Powerplant License. 
Key holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina. He is a business owner and a two-time Mobile Robotics Skills USA State Champ. In 2014, Key received the Male Student Character Award. He has a track record of leadership, including Club President and Regional Representative of Moore Skills USA and Senior Vice President of the Student Government Association. 
When asked “What is your interpretation of Airworthiness and Safety of Flight?” Key answered, “As an AMT, we are the deciding factor if an aircraft is ready to leave the ground. Whether it is a light aircraft carrying a small number of individuals or an airliner carrying hundreds, we are responsible for the final entries allowing these aircraft to take flight. While the pilot has responsibility in the air and the FAA deems what is needed to allow a plane to fly, the AMT must fulfill these requirements to allow the pilot to have control in the air at the best level of safety. There will always be risks flying, but it is my job to mitigate this risk by using the highest level of airworthiness knowledge and safety of flight that I can perform. I hold myself accountable to know the latest airworthiness directives, how to inspect an aircraft fluidly, the status of every part on an aircraft, how far I am allowed to operate without going past my legal limitations, and most of all to continue learning as the field advances. Without continuous learning, we cannot continue to make the field of aviation safer and continue surpassing the standard requirements that make an aircraft airworthy.” 
Eric Thune graduates from Portland Community College in 2024 and has maintained a 3.5 GPA. Thune is working on his Associate’s degree in Applied Science. His father, Michael, has been a Lead Line Mechanic for Alaska Airlines in Portland, OR, for 31 years.
Thune states, “every individual component is designed to produce a certain result when operating under certain conditions. The overall airworthiness of any aircraft is determined by whether or not those components are operating as expected. When a component underperforms or fails, it compromises the system of which it is a member of, and the airworthiness of the entire aircraft suffers as a result. The impact of a malfunction on airworthiness depends on which component is failing and which system group it is a member of. Safety of flight can be guaranteed by maintaining a high level of airworthiness through regular maintenance and aircraft inspections. Proper maintenance requires that components regularly be inspected and replaced before they exceed their operational lifetime. It additionally calls for special considerations to be made for parts that are exposed to unusual operating conditions, such as those that operate under especially high or low temperatures or those that are subject to long periods of inactivity between each use. When a component is damaged, it must be replaced to ensure the system group it is a member of continues to function properly, preserving the airworthiness of the aircraft.”
Joel Mink is enrolled at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and will graduate in 2024. Mink's achievements include 4-H Sharpshooters; Boone County, Kentucky, Teen Ambassador representative; first person in Boone County history to serve on the state board; Boone County Youth Cabinet (BCYC); Civil Air Patrol (CAP); first cadet in Kentucky Wing history to complete the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Wings program in 2022; Member of the youth media ministry team Grace Fellowship Church; just to name a few. 
Mink is also a Private Pilot and FAA certified. He is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA).
Mink’s interpretation of Airworthiness and Safety of Flight “is of a sacred partnership between various federal government agencies, fixed-based operator (FBO) personnel, and the pilots to make modem aviation work reliably. Each of these groups is responsible for a specific piece of information or task required to make a flight as safe as possible. It is the individual pilot’s responsibility to update, verify, and compile the provided information into a final “go, no go” call. It is this partnership that results in what we know as Airworthiness and Safety of Flight. FBO personnel are often the unsung heroes of aviation, often being the first to arrive at the airports and the last to leave. To put it simply, there would be no airports to take off from or land at without the FBO personnel.”
Congratulations to this year’s recipients, and thank you to all who submitted applications. It is inspiring to get a glimpse at the passion and quality of the next generation of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians.
First Alaska Airlines Maintenance Controller Area Representative Takes Office
Carlos Santini shakes hands with National President Bret Oestreich after being sworn in as the first Mechanic & Related class and craft Alaska Airlines area representative.
Earlier this year, the National Mediation Board determined that the Maintenance Controllers at Alaska Airlines (ASA) are part of the Mechanic and Related class and craft. On May 18, 2022, Carlos Rosado Santini was sworn in as the first Area Representative for the group who are all assigned to Local 14 in Seattle.
Santini is excited to be more involved with AMFA and honored to be representing the Alaska Maintenance Controllers. He was sworn in while attending a Professional Standards training class in Portland, OR, and will be attending the Shop Representative Training in Tempe, AZ, on September 20, 2022.
Congratulations Carlos!
AMFA Teams Compete in Annual AMC Competition
In April, four maintenance and engineering teams across Alaska, Horizon, and Southwest, along with 69 other teams, traveled to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the return of the annual Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC), which had been canceled the prior two years due to the pandemic.
Team Alaska Seattle: Ethan Barbee, Chris Dancik, Mike Flowers, Marty Hitt, Vishal Prasad, TJ Spring, and Brandon Statfield
Team Alaska Anchorage: Scott Atkinson, Danielle Carrithers, Stephen Colton, Thomas Cook, John Glen, Jason Solsvig
Team Horizon: Archie Vega, James Lambert, Anthony “Tony” Allen, Cameron Linscott, Brian Goodwin, Mercedes Hess, Anthony Rosario
Team Southwest: Kevin Shaw, Robert Clark, Manuel Ramos, Jordan O'Neal, Manuel Tavitas, Chase Lehner,
Matthew Lehner, Chad Rhyne, Bret Oestreich, AMFA National President
Over the two-day competition, 73 teams worldwide from commercial and general aviation, colleges and universities, military, and heavy maintenance vendors competed in 27 timed events (of 15 minutes or less!). These events, ranging from engine fan blade removals to aircraft tire inspections (and everything in between), showcased competitors’ technical prowess in aviation maintenance.
And out of 18 teams in the Commercial Aviation category, Team Seattle from Alaska Airlines took home the top honors and also placed second for the Bill O’Brien award (of top overall score) behind the FedEx – Indy team.
Team Seattle also ranked in the top three for seven individual events, including first for antenna testing and power troubleshooting (keeping in spirit with the competition, they deferred their win of the Alaska-sponsored External Power Receptacle event to United Airlines’ Chix Fix team) and the Click-Loc Challenge.
Team Anchorage placed in the top three for two individual events, including first place for safety wiring and second place in Aerospace Wing Sealant.
Team Southwest placed in the top three for one individual event and second place for the Safe-T-Cable event and Safety Wiring.
Congratulations to all the Alaska, Horizon, and Southwest maintenance team members for representing and showcasing how Safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground.
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