Hagerstown Branch Campus, MD
Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)
Employment: Southwest Airlines, Supervisor of Aircraft Maintenance
In 2011, Adam Keuler was working at the Hagerstown Airport when he first heard about PIA’s Hagerstown branch campus opening next door. During his time in the Air Force, Keuler had experience working on F-16’s. He knew aviation maintenance interested him, but he hadn’t thought about pursuing a career in the field.
“I have always had an interest in aviation, but it wasn’t until I was about 33 years old that I thought about making a career move,” said Keuler. “I had spent years rotating through a career field which had left me unsatisfied and unfulfilled; I had always believed that I had more to offer but wasn’t sure exactly what it was. After delving into other opportunities, my love for aviation and aircraft maintenance has come full-circle.”
Keuler was a member of the first graduating class from the Hagerstown Campus. Forged from the 80 year reputation PIA had built in the industry, the campus touted the same respected education. “The electrical course was impressive. Like many students, I didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject going into school. I had an excellent instructor who was able to easily put things in perspective for a beginner.”
Upon graduating, Adam received a job offer from Cape Air, the company he was working for when he initially heard about PIA. The new position allowed him to utilize his new education as a mechanic on Cessna 402’s. His opportunities for education continued after graduation as well, when he was awarded the National Business Aviation Association’s Maintenance Technical Reward and Career Scholarship. The scholarship allowed him to participate in a Citation II Maintenance Initial Course in September of 2012, at the CAE Simuflite Training Center in Dallas, Texas.
Since graduating, Keuler’s passion for aviation has not waivered, and he is now the Supervisor of Aircraft Maintenance for Southwest Airlines. “I work as a maintenance coordinator of sorts, a liaison between Southwest Operations and the Maintenance Department. I work with the mechanic to get a plan of attack, then coordinate with operations to give an estimate of how long the job will take, providing constant updates to various departments. My goal is to help minimize the disruption of the maintenance operation as much as possible while keeping the aircraft safe to fly.”
With more than 4,000 weekday departures during peak travel season, Southwest is the nation’s largest domestic air carrier according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting. “Things are always moving fast. I enjoy having my finger on the pulse of the day-to-day operations and working with some of the most intelligent mechanics in the industry,” said Keuler. “I have been fortunate in my career to work at a few excellent companies, and wherever I have been employed I have found a fellow PIA graduate. Companies in this industry know that PIA produces some of the best [techs] in aviation.”