Blakely – Former VP HAECO Americas named new president at Triad tech firm

Katie Arcieri – Triad Bus Journal

Kip Blakelyformer vice president of customer and government relations for HAECO Americas, has been named president of Greensboro-based Technology Concepts & Design Inc.

In his new role, Blakely will oversee the company’s strategy, operations, finance, security/compliance and growing the business organically and through mergers and acquisitions.

“We are extremely pleased to have Kip join the TCDI team,” said Bill Johnson, CEO of TCDI, a provider of litigation technology, computer forensics and cybersecurity services. “This is an exciting time for our company as we prepare to launch new products and services. Kip’s leadership and experience will help us deliver the next level of service and innovation to our clients, as well as expand into new markets.”

Blakely said he looks forward to ensuring that TCDI continues to deliver on the brand promise it has made to its clients.

“It is an honor to join TCDI as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary and to be a part of the leadership team shaping how the company will continue to evolve and grow,” he said.

Blakely earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been recognized as one of the Triad’s Most Influential Leaders by the Triad Business Journal and received the 2016 Leadership Award from the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

Groundbreaking female pilot from Guilford died in war

By Harry Thetford Special to News & Record

Mary Webb Nicholson was 22 when she took her first flight in 1927.

She was the first woman in North Carolina to hold a pilot’s license and to receive both her commercial and transport licenses.

A new historical marker along Friendly Avenue, in the area across from the Quaker Village Chick-fil-A, is dedicated to Nicholson, who is buried nearby in New Garden Friends Cemetery.

 Nicholson was one of two daughters born to a Walker Avenue Quaker family — there were four Nicholson sons. Her banker father was Francis, her mother was Frances, a school teacher at Curry School. After Pomona High School, Nicholson attended Woman’s College (UNC-Greensboro) and Guilford College, majoring in music.

I wonder if Nicholson was among the 25,000 who celebrated Charles Lindbergh’s fly-in of Oct. 27, 1927. She may have watched the Spirit of St. Louis touch down at Greensboro’s relatively new Lindley Field.

She probably couldn’t have made it over to Woman’s College in time to catch his convertible-ride through the campus — but it’s quite possible she was among the 20,000 who heard America’s most famous celebrity speak at War Memorial Stadium.

How could anyone afford flying lessons during the Great Depression?

While the Nicholson family took in renters, their daughter made parachute jumps to advertise an Ohio Flying Service.

Nicholson logged over 600 flight hours, many of which involved air shows and barnstorming all over the south. She set an altitude record for North Carolina in 1931 by flying a 45-horsepower Curtiss-Wright Junior to 15,200 feet.

Nicholson financed her flying escapades with a series of day jobs: giving flying lessons; bookkeeping at Sternberger Hospital; business manager at Hickory’s Memorial Hospital; and airport promotional work for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

She was married briefly to a medical doctor but asked for a divorce and took back her maiden name.

She became a charter member of the 99s, an organization of female pilots formed to promote advancement of aviation. Of the 117 licensed women pilots in the U.S., 99 of them joined the new group, headed by Amelia Earhart.

Earhart appointed Nicholson as governor of the Southeastern area. Nicholson moved to New York City in 1937, where she took a job as personal secretary for Jacqueline Cochran — a wealthy and well-connected aviatrix almost as famous as Earhart. Not surprisingly, Nicholson then became governor of the 99s’ New York-New Jersey Chapter.

Cochran had the ear of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who shared the 99s’ vision that women could serve as ferry pilots — freeing up male pilots for combat duty. Although WASPs (Woman Airforce Service Pilots) would eventually ferry thousands of U.S. military aircraft from factory to base, Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold initially vetoed the concept.

Meanwhile, Cochran learned that Britain’s Royal Air Force was already using women ferry pilots in their Air Transport Auxiliary.

“The ATA had 1,153 men ferry pilots — all rejected by other services, too old, surplus, or otherwise unfit; and 168 women ferry pilots — young, sound of mind, wind and limb,” according to

Cochran’s personal secretary did most of the logistics as 25 U.S. women pilots were organized and sent to England. Nicholson herself went over with the last group.

By late 1942, Nicholson was ferrying RAF aircraft all over the country from her base at Maidenhead, near Berkshire.

She flew without benefit of radio or maps, lest they fall into enemy hands if she were shot down.

Ferrying new aircraft directly from the factory came with considerable risk. For 2nd Officer Nicholson, insufficient lubrication caused her Miles Master engine to fail on May 22, 1943. Flying too low to jump, she attempted to land in an open field. She struck a stone building just short of the field and died in the flaming crash. She was the only American in the ATA-RAF to lose her life during the war.

Frances Nicholson wrote a letter to her daughter on May 11, but it arrived too late. “We have taken in two Army families and are enjoying having other soldiers into our home for meals — they sure do like fried chicken.”

The Nicholsons were members of Asheboro Street Friends Meeting. Their daughter’s tomb is in New Garden Friends Cemetery — not far from the burial sites of the Quaker family of Knights, who lost four family members when a U.S. Navy ferry pilot crashed into their home near Guilford College during World War II.

North State Aviation to lay off 345 employees

Katie Arcieri – Triad Business Journal

North State Aviation, an aviation maintenance business at the Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem that officially began in 2011 with a handful of employees, notified the state that it will permanently close its facility at the Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem starting this week and lay off 345 people due to an “unforeseeable significant downturn in business.”

Company officials told the state in a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) notice that North State Aviation was not successful in obtaining capital to avoid or postpone “this unfortunate result.”

Gary Smith, CEO of North State Aviation since last year, did not immediately return a reporter’s phone call. Charlie Creech, president of North State Aviation, also did not return a call this morning.

Smith recently served as a panelist on the TBJ’s Business of Aviation event held March 9.

As of 2015, North State was operating six production maintenance lines for United Airlines and had amassed a client list that includes other major aviation customers.

Smith said recently that the firm had been seeing increased competition from maintenance repair and overhaul in areas south of the U.S. border.

North State had become part of the burgeoning aviation sector in the Triad, which is home to major companies — including Honda Aircraft Co. and HAECO Americas — that combined employ thousands of workers.

Triad economic development groups hire aviation executive

Katie Arcieri – Triad Business Journal

Jim McArthur has been hired as Triad’s aviation executive who will promote economic development opportunities at the Piedmont Triad International Airport as well as other regional airports and sites for potential aerospace tenants.

His position is a collaboration of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, High Point Economic Development Corporation and Winston-Salem Business, Inc. McArthur is scheduled to begin work in April and will report to the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce office in Greensboro.

McArthur is a “seasoned marketing and business development professional with more than 20 years combined experience in the private and public sectors” who previously served as deputy director with the Mississippi Development Authority, according to a press release. He also has worked extensively with aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies seeking new locations in the United States and helped develop comprehensive strategies with multiple partners for workforce and infrastructure development.

As deputy director, McArthur built a successful relationship network with site selectors and tier suppliers that paved the way for numerous development project wins and team leadership success.

Kevin Baker, executive director of PTI, told TBJ that the McArthur’s position will be funded by PTI, as well as PTP, the Greensboro chamber, HPEDC and Winston-Salem Business Inc.

“We all unanimously agreed on this candidate and we all unanimously agreed on the salary,” said Baker, declining to provide the salary amount. “You have got to pay for the talent when you are looking at something like this. We were not looking for a rookie; we were not looking for somebody to learn on the job. We were looking for someone to come out of the shoot and charge right ahead. It doesn’t come cheap.”

Brent Christensen, president and CEO of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that aviation and aerospace have long been important targets for Greensboro-High Point and that the region and this position adds capacity for business development in a growing industry.

“Having a dedicated person out there meeting with prospects, and marketing our properties to potential employers is a great addition to our team,” Christensen said.

Stan Kelly, president and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, said he is thrilled that the region can bring someone on board to “focus on identifying and landing prospects and targets for this sector in our region.”

“It is inspiring how our communities have come together around this effort,” Kelly said.

Job Opportunity – Greensboro, NC

Product Integration Leads – Greensboro, NC


Job Description:
STS Direct Hire is currently hiring Product Integration Leads for full-time positions in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Note: Our staffing services come at no cost to you, the candidate. This is job seeking made simple! For more details, please contact our recruiters at 1-877-707-5767.

Job Summary:

Creates repeatable methodologies to be used by all design team and assures consistent application across the Engineering organization.

Job Duties:

  • Interfaces with Engineering and other areas to assure that aircraft design is perfectly integrated.
  • Identifies critical characteristics to control in 3D design.
  • Coordinates drawing off board reviews to assure that:
  • All necessary parts are being considered in approved design change;
  • Space reserved from movable parts are properly considered in design;
  • 2D documentation properly represents the intent of design and is in line with company requirements.
  • Steward 3D information to reflect the aircraft design at the serial number level:
  • Integrity of design;
  • Issues reported and fixed;
  • Other.
  • Pro-actively work with teams to address issues found or reported.
Job Requirements:

  • Bachelors’ in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering.
  • 10 years’ experience in Vehicle Design, preferably with Systems Installation.
  • Excellent oral and written communication.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to multitask in a fast paced environment.
  • Excellent detail orientation.
  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suites (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Lotus Notes.
  • Solid understanding of technologies involved in assembling new aircraft builds with composite and metallic materials.
  • Practical experience with design challenges related to the installation of Systems in an Aircraft.
  • Proficient use of CATIA for design, including clash, clearance, and tolerance stack up analysis.
  • Teamcenter experience preferred.
  • Working knowledge of PLM and CAD tools.
  • Thorough understanding of Engineering design.
  • Excellent negotiation skills.

Physical Requirements:

  • Incumbents may be routinely exposed to equipment operational noise heat-cold-dust, and/or aircraft equipment, parts, or fuel odors.
  • Incumbents may be required to stand, sit, squat, walk, bend, climb ladders, move, reach, or stretch for prolonged time periods with no restrictions, as required by job duties.
  • Work in a safe and professional manner while adhering to all regulatory requirements (FAA, OSHA, DOT, EPA, State, and Federal regulations, etc.).
  • Read, hear, speak, and see with no restrictions, as required by job duties.
  • Comprehend and adhere to management directions and/or safety instructions with no restrictions.
  • Effectively communicate in Business English language.
  • Pull, push, carry, lift, or move items up to 10 lbs. throughout the work shift without assistance, as required by job duties.
  • Pull, push, carry, lift or move materials/people/items/equipment weighing up to 50lbs or more during the work shift, with the use of Company provided “reach assistance technology” or “movement assist technology” (fork-lifts, pallet jacks, pulleys, dolly’s, robotics reach equipment, people movers etc.), as required by job duties.


At STS Direct Hire we offer a comprehensive benefits package to all employees, and candidates of every background are encouraged to apply.

If you have questions about pay rates, benefits, etc…  please contact us at 1-877-707-5767.

Thanks so much, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Salary Range:
Job Ident #: 37612

Company Overview

STS Aviation Group
2000 N.E. Jensen Beach Blvd.
Jensen Beach, Florida 34957 USA

STS AeroStaff Services places Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and Aerospace Engineers into contract and direct hire positions across the U.S. We work with the largest names in the aviation industry, and we have hundreds of career opportunities for y…

STS AeroStaff Services offers direct deposits / electric payroll, an awesome medical insurance program, cash advances, and the opportunity to refer a friend for compensation. We know it takes great people to do great work, so if you’re interested in joining the STS Aviation Group family, we encourage you to apply on this page. Have questions? Give us a call at 1-800-359-4787.

Director of Triad aviation academy to retire

Katie Arcieri – Triad Business Journal

Cynthia Waters, director of Andrews Aviation Academy in High Point, will retire from the position after five years of leading the effort designed to create a pipeline of new workers for the aerospace industry.
Waters said she will stay on the job until June 10. The academy plans to hire a new leader, but that person has not yet been identified, she told the Triad Business Journal.
Andrews Aviation Academy graduate Charlie Davis is pictured here at an internship with Carolina Aircraft.

The academy, which is housed within T. Wingate Andrews High School, launched in 2008 and is expected to have 160 students by the 2016-17 school, which begins in August. That’s up from 140 in 2014.

It’s “going to be very difficult to leave,” said Waters, who retired from Virginia Public Schools in 2008 before taking the academy director post.

Waters plans to serve as a consultant to other school systems that want to start a similar aviation program. She has 38 years of experience leading teachers and teaching students across Virginia, Florida and North Carolina. She also has 29 years of experience as a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
While she has already been “offered jobs in about six different states,” Waters said she plans to stay in the Triad.

“They all want to hire me away and I say, ‘No, I love it here,'” she said in an interview.
Waters said she will miss the students in the program.

“They are just so much fun. I developed relationships with them. They come to me, and we talk and we discuss their future,” she said between tears. “I know things about them that nobody else knows. It’s just fun to watch them grow, and get excited and talk enthusiastically about what they are doing.”
Under Waters, the academy’s internship program started with three businesses and seven students and grew to nine businesses and 29 students. Participating businesses include HAECO Americas, Aerosphere Aviation, Cessna Citation, Graco Industries and Piedmont Triad Airport Authority.
Students can choose from six aviation tracks, including pilot, engineering, airport management and airframe and power plant mechanic.

To get into the program, students must have at least a grade point average of 2.8, as well as excellent character and attendance record. The average GPA for students within the program is 3.3.

HAECO to introduce new aircraft seat that will fuel growth in the Triad

Katie Arcieri – Triad Business JournalVECTOR Y front three quarters

A new aircraft seat that is expected to fuelgrowth for the Triad operations of HAECO Americas will be officially launched Tuesday at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

HAECO Cabin Solutions, a unit of the HAECO Group, will officially unveil the “Vector-Y” lightweight economy seat, with plans to make deliveries during the first quarter of 2016. The Vector seat builds on knowledge gained from the “FeatherWeight” seats, which are among the industry’s lowest-weight seats and are made at a 120,000-square-foot facility in Davidson County.

HAECO last year acquired the company previously known as TIMCO Aviation Services and renamed it HAECO Americas. In the Triad, the company operates the Davidson County aircraft seat plant that will eventually employ 500 full-time workers. The company also houses a cabin solutions unit near its hangar IV facility at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro.

“Every part of Vector is proven and tested based on what HAECO Group has learned over many decades of maintaining aircraft,” said Rick Salanitri, president of HAECO Cabin Solutions. “We see daily what the vulnerabilities are and applied those insights to develop inventive components that provide style at low lifetime service costs.”

Enthusiasts launch online effort to promote aviation in the Triad, N.C.

When John Cohen attended a major aviation show in Oshkosh, Wis. last summer, he saw a long line of enthusiasts eager to check out the new HondaJet that is being developed at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro.

“There had to be hundreds of people in line, waiting to get inside the tent just so they could see the new HondaJet and the Honda exhibit,” said Cohen, an aviation enthusiast and the former co-CEO of Greensboro-based Carlyle & Co. jewelry retailer.

But when he asked people standing in line whether they knew where the HondaJet is made, they said no.

“I probably asked a dozen people at random in this line who were all passionate about the jet. No one knew where the jet was made,” Cohen said. “And that really got my attention.”

To help promote North Carolina and the Triad as an aviation hub where innovations like the HondaJet are being built, Cohen and pilot Len Leggette, who flies with an aerobatic team called Team AeroDynamix, teamed up to launch Aviation North Carolina.

len-leggette-280xx534-799-0-0John Cohen

Len Leggette                       John Cohen

It’s a website and newsletter designed to bring greater awareness of the importance of aviation to North Carolina’s economy and the employment opportunities available across the state and the Triad. The website, located at, features aviation articles, job opportunities, and other information. Users can subscribe for immediate updates as well as a free monthly newsletter.

Cohen said there are already several groups across the state working to promote and attract aviation industry. But the ambition of Aviation North Carolina is to do a better job of educating people in the state and the Triad about the importance of aviation and help them become fluid and familiar with all aspects of the industry, he said.

“There wasn’t an easy way for people in our community to sort of get current and stay current on aviation happenings,” Cohen said.

Cohen, who with Leggette invested a few thousand dollars into the effort, said the website is not a for-profit effort. But there’s enough interest and traffic to the site that the two men are in conversations with some potential advertisers.
“We’d like it to be sustainable,” he said.

Leggette said the initiative started off as a newsletter called Aviation in the Triad a year-and-a-half ago, but the name switched to Aviation North Carolina earlier this year.
The idea is to promote aviation not only in the Triad but across the state.

While many other states such as Virginia, Ohio and Kansas proactively promote themselves as aviation hubs, Leggette believes North Carolina can do even more to get the word out about its growing aviation industry, which is home to Honda Aircraft Co., maker of the HondaJet, HAECO Americas, B/E Aerospace, Purolator and others.

“We are the state that is first in flight and of all the states that have something to brag about, I think we have a major thing to brag about, “Leggette said.

As a pilot with Team AeroDynamix who performs at air shows across the country, Leggette regularly sees other states promote their aviation industries.

“We see a large presence, and this is also in media too, whether it’s online or magazines that we are getting,” Leggette said. “There is a promotion by those states of aviation and the great impact that aviation has for those states and local communities.”

Piedmont Aero Club Meets April 16


PAC Folks,
The next meeting is Thursday, April 16th.

  • Start 6:30pm
  • GTCC AV3, room 418
  • Guest speakers: Vic Steel & Harry Saunders

We look forward to seeing you there! This will be a great meeting and good information from Vic & Harry.