Youngstown Branch Campus, OH
Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)
Employment: Constant Aviation, LLC., AMT Supervisor
Originally, Matthew Trowbridge wanted to join the Air Force like his father, who worked as a jet mechanic. Instead, he earned a 4-year degree in criminal justice from a four-year institution, but he didn’t find the work fulfilling.
“Looking back, I realize that was just me thinking about retirement and not really doing what I wanted,” admits Trowbridge. “So at 30 years old, I decided to switch my career goals. Now I’m finally doing what I love.”
For Trowbridge, earning his A&P certification from the PIA Youngstown Campus not only enables him to earn a living by doing work he enjoys, but it also keeps him in touch with aviation history.
When he’s not working on modern planes as an AMT Supervisor for Constant Aviation, Trowbridge volunteers at Liberty Aviation Museum. There, he gets to work on vintage planes like the museum’s B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engine medium bomber from WWII, and helps keep them flight-worthy for airshow performances.
“There are very few mechanics who have both the A&P certification and the time to do this kind of work,” says Trowbridge. “But for people like me who just love aviation, it’s the chance of a lifetime to be able to work on these old planes. You’re keeping history alive, and for me that’s the most important thing.”
Trowbridge says the biggest difference between PIA and a traditional college is the faculty’s highly-relevant expertise.
“All the instructors I had at PIA had really worked in the industry, so they knew the ins and outs. It’s different than learning a theory out of a textbook, as opposed to them telling you: ‘This is what you’re going to run into on day one. This is what the work actually is, and this is how the real world works.’”
Trowbridge interviewed with Constant Aviation during his fourth quarter at PIA and received a job offer before he even graduated. He has since worked his way up to become an aircraft maintenance technician supervisor. In this role, he identifies and prioritizes the jobs that need to be done and then assigns them to the mechanics.
“There are so many opportunities for advancement in this industry, especially as older mechanics retire,” says Trowbridge. “If you get hired in as a mechanic, you may not stay a mechanic, unless you want to. That’s what attracted me to PIA. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed, but you’re pretty well-assured of a career in aviation when you graduate from PIA.”