REACH Newsletter
Table of Contents

Aviation & Maintenance Operations

Aviation & Maintenance Operations



I’m going to continue to lead by example by doing the right thing. I’m very proud to be working for this organization and to be side-by-side with professionals—it gives me such a feeling of purpose. I want them to know how proud I am of them.

Andy’s background

Andy has been a licensed pilot for nearly 35 years. “I started working in a repair station in Oakland right from the get-go,” he says. “It was very busy and we worked on several different helicopters.” After soaking up an enormous amount of knowledge and experience on that job—as well as doing a one-year stint on a tuna boat with a helicopter—Andy embarked on a 16-year adventure. “I became senior tech rep and instructor for Agusta, the manufacturer of the legacy fleet that REACH has right now,” he says. “It was a great job. I traveled the world, I got to see 38 of our states.” At Agusta, Andy also made an auspicious connection. “As a tech rep, REACH was one of my very first customers, back in 1987,” he shares.

In 2002, Andy was ready to strike out on his own. “I started my own shop in Auburn—Power Aviation. It was general aviation at first, then helicopters. The name was a tribute to the Agusta 109.” After growing from one shop to three, he sold the company in 2010 and joined REACH as a training instructor.

Andy & REACH

As Interim Director of Maintenance, Andy oversees all maintenance functions. “Really,” he says, “my job is to build integrity among the AMTs and to make sure they are well-trained—that they understand Dr. McDonald’s mission, that they understand their jobs and safety. I’m here to grow the company and maintain the mission.”

Andy expands on the importance of safety. “Training is very important to me, continuous training. The way we got to be this safe in aviation is, unfortunately, due to the mistakes of others. We really have to respect that and learn from our own mistakes,” he stresses. “One thing we’re never short on is ideas for improvement.”

To Andy, who is “the customer”?

“Within our department, it’s both flight and clinical. Without one, you can’t have the other. They are both very important to me, and it’s essential to provide them with aircraft they can get into without any reservations.”

How does he connect with the customer?

On the flight side: “Because I understand what the requirements are and because I understand every single aspect of what a pilot requires, I can provide the necessary answers.”

On the clinical side: “I ensure that their equipment operates properly, and I make sure they know that they can ask for support—and that they’ll get it.”

To illustrate…

“I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty; in fact, I enjoy it,” Andy admits. “One time at REACH 7, there was an aircraft with a drive shaft bearing that needed to be repaired. I was available, so I went down and helped the technicians, and we got that aircraft back in service. I will always put everything else aside to help a technician.”