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Women in Aviation International Conference – True to Their Motto: Connect. Engage. Inspire.

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Women In Aviation InternationalThe 29th International Women in Aviation Conference took place this year at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, March 22-24. The WAI is an enthusiastic organization, and if the conference’s motto “Connect. Engage. Inspire” was an indicator of what was to come, being there and participating surpassed all my expectations.

I was thrilled to attend this conference, where I had the opportunity to meet many women passionate for aviation and aerospace, coming from all professional levels — a NASA astronaut, engineers, top-level executives, pilots and students, all sharing experiences, supporting each other, and ready to help young students dreaming of a career in aviation.

ATP Scholarship awardSupporting young students was one of the reasons that brought me to Reno to attend the conference. ATP & CaseBank are committed to the aviation maintenance industry, and we awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Kathryn Brenner for her dedication, endurance against adversity, and for demonstrating outstanding scholastic achievement in pursuit of the Airframe and Powerplant licenses.

ATP was founded, by a woman, 45 years ago, and has been a long-time and proud supporter of Women in Aviation and the global aviation industry at large, with technology and services that promote safety and quality for maintenance operations. For the last 20 years, CaseBank Technologies, a division of ATP, has been at the forefront providing troubleshooting and defect trend analysis to engineers and service teams, promoting safety and reliability in aviation.

The conference schedule included great speakers as well as educational sessions and networking. In a congenial setting, WAI members were given the opportunity to meet current and former board members to discuss what to expect in the coming year. There I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Peggy Chabrian, WAI President and CEO, as well as Marcy Veronie, who has just been re-elected to the board and named chair.

Abby of GulfstreamAt the exhibit hall, I visited our customer Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., and enjoyed a conversation with Abby Gilmore, the first and only female in Gulfstream’s Field And Airborne Support Teams (FAST) that provides swift, and well-coordinated response to aircraft on ground (AOG) situations. Abby, as support technician, told me that she enjoys working with the Computerized Maintenance Program (MyCMP) for the G650/G650ER and G550, and likes the fact that the system collects and shares best practices and field experience, improving the troubleshooting process as more techs use it. This diagnostics tool is based on CaseBank’s SpotLight® platform. It integrates a customizable diagnostic reasoning engine and a database of known equipment faults and troubleshooting procedures, and has the capability of capturing field experience and deploying best practices.

Janine ShepherdI was particularly inspired by the presentation of speaker Janine Shepherd recounting her moving TED Talk “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person”. An athlete, contending to win Australia’s first ever medal in cross-country skiing at the Winter Olympics, Janine was hit by a truck when cycling with her team. With a broken neck and back, and against all prognostics, she survived and recovered from her life-threatening injuries and a partial paraplegic state. Jeanine went on to walk again, obtained a Commercial pilot’s license, became a trained aerobatics flying instructor and had three beautiful children.

AviatrixAt the authors corner, I was honored to meet Mary Bush Shipko, the first woman pilot for Hughes Airwest and the fourth woman airline pilot in the US. Her memoir, “Aviatrix” is a story of courage and overcoming setbacks, while breaking gender barriers and fighting discrimination. I treasure a copy of her memoir.

A memorable moment was the induction to the Pioneer Hall of Fame of Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, Brigadier General Linda K. McTague and Kathleen Fox, whose career in air traffic control in Canada led her to senior positions with Nav Canada. Today she serves as chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The WAI2018 Annual Conference covered serious topics, provided programs for career guidance to young girls and aspiring young women, and brought together an amazing group of women passionate in aviation. It proved to be a very valuable and fun experience.

To all the women with a passion and drive to work in aviation… May your dreams come true!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alicia Carbo-Guha is Director of Marketing at ATP & CaseBank Technologies. She is a proud member and supporter of Women in Aviation International (WAI).