A Career that Makes a Difference

A Career that Makes a Difference


Project Description

Paul Speelman

Pittsburgh Campus, PA
Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)
Employment: Helicopter Maintenance Technician, Maryland State Police Aviation Command

Third Generation PIA graduate Paul Speelman works as a helicopter technician for the Maryland State Police Aviation Command (MSPAC). MSPAC performs emergency medical evacuations, aerial law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security and disaster assessment.

“Things can and do change at any moment so there is no knowing what will be in store for me,” Speelman said. “I also enjoy doing something different on a regular basis.”

Speelman’s responsibilities include maintaining MSPAC’s twelve helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft. One two engine rotorcraft primarily extradites wanted prisoners from the State of Maryland. MSPAC utilizes its smaller single engine rotorcraft for speed enforcement, surveillance and crime scene photography. Utilizing fixed wing aircraft provides a significant cost saving compared to a helicopter.

“I like that what I do makes a difference in people’s lives,” Speelman said. “The helicopters I help fix save lives in and around the state of Maryland every day.”

Currently MSPAC is transitioning into a new aircraft fleet which Speelman finds can be very challenging to learn new systems and procedures.

Speelman didn’t start his technician career at MSPAC. He began working for Piedmont Airlines within days of graduating from PIA. Speelman interviewed for his initial position at PIA with assistance from career placement services. He moved on to MSPAC after a year with Piedmont.

Speelman regularly interacts with other PIA graduates in the industry. MSPAC currently employs five graduates who hold positions as avionics technicians, production control supervisors and quality control inspectors.

“PIA is everywhere in the industry and with good reason,” Speelman said. “The grads I have come across are on another level (professionally and technically), for sure.”

Speelman continues to further his education and professional ambitions after PIA. He recently obtained his Inspection Authorization under the Federal Aviation Administration. This authorization allows individuals to recertify aircraft for service following annual inspections or repairs.