To understand the biggest factor behind FEAM’s esteemed reputation, one would only have to look at the quality of people we employ. People like Jonathan Lee who, just like our company, have grown exponentially in just one year of joining our family. We’re proud to shine a spotlight on his unique career path and his story so far.
What attracted you to work for FEAM after 20 years in the Marine Corps?
The largest factor that attracted me to want to work for FEAM was their belief in me. They understood I was more than just a retired Marine who had worked helicopters for 15+ years. The leadership of FEAM, some of them being veterans themselves, saw the “soft skills” and leadership skills that the Marine Corps had spent more than a decade developing in me. This vision, and the true feeling of family that I felt from the start with FEAM, was critical after leaving an organization that is so heavily based around an almost fanatical level of brotherhood like the Marine Corps.
How has your life changed after working at FEAM for a year?
Over the past year, I feel like I have peeled back a curtain on a world that I thought I knew. Getting to learn and see how not only the aviation cargo industry but also how the passenger side of aviation truly works and flows has been an amazing learning experience. I have felt myself grow as a mechanic and a leader at an amazing rate by adapting the leadership methods the military taught me to lead my stations. Going from a single station with about 18 mechanics to 3 stations with over 60 mechanics has forced that development in myself at a rate I didn’t know I could do. Honestly, outside of my combat deployments directly supporting troops on the ground, this past year has been some of the most rewarding work I have done by getting to see the stations grow, to see FEAM grow, and to see our customers thrive in a very dynamic setting because of our support.
You’re a huge proponent of networking. What’s the best way to start connecting with people in your desired industry?
The best way I have found to network within your desired industry is through LinkedIn. Utilizing this platform, you don’t have to go out and send a ton of invites. You will get much better traction by having a relevant core group of connections that you can interact with, and then through those interactions, you will open a door by connecting with a great number of other people within multiple industries. If you find someone within your desired industry that you feel a connection would greatly serve you, then actually put some thought and effort into the connection request and don’t just send the basic default message.
What advice would you give to fellow servicemen transitioning into the aviation industry?
For starters, get your A&P certificate as soon as you can after you’ve met 36 months of the experience requirement. Even if you plan to make a career in the military, it is the most critical piece. The longer you have the certificate, the better it looks on a resume. There are awesome programs in all of the branches to assist in this, so take advantage of it while you can. Also, the military is great at teaching us to specialize in our narrow little field. DON’T! Get out there and learn with every shop on the line from avionics to airframes, flight equipment to maintenance control, and even the supply side. If you get the chance to learn a new platform, jump at it! Being able to understand both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft is a very sought-after skill set outside of the military.
Since you joined the FEAM family, you’ve added two more stations and started your AS in Aviation Maintenance. What does the future look like for you?
I plan to continue working towards completing my AS in Aviation Maintenance and then possibly looking at progressing to a BS in Aviation Maintenance Management. On the FEAM side, I’m continuing to develop and train the team of mechanics that I have at all 3 stations to provide the highest level of support we can. As new opportunities present themselves within FEAM, I plan to take advantage of them to continue my own development and learning.