Brian Babcock

Aircraft Maintenance Technician II
REACH 2 – Stockton, CA

Brian Babcock, Aircraft Maintenance Technician II, REACH 2 – Stockton, CA Brian Babcock, Aircraft Maintenance Technician II, REACH 2 – Stockton, CA

Where do you live, and how long have you been with REACH?

I was raised in San Mateo, but now I live in Salida, a small town north of Modesto. I’ve been with REACH for almost four years.

Can you describe your current job in one sentence?

To insure that the aircraft is kept in airworthy condition at all times, 24 hours a day. That’s my primary task, in a nutshell. I’m also the Base Maintenance Safety Rep <Note: See Brian’s article on Safety below this interview>, and I coordinate with our headquarters. I enjoy it. I get to interact with the crews. There’s open communication here, so people can tell me when something’s on their mind.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Originally, I wanted to be a pilot. In high school, I kind of changed gears and decided I wanted to be an aircraft mechanic. I was in the Army for 23 years. I joined when I was 18. I spent seven years in Germany, three years in Alabama and the rest of the time stateside in various places. I was very, very fortunate to find this position available at REACH when I retired from the Army. I applied and they must have liked me, because they hired me pretty quickly.

What’s your favorite thing about your job so far?

I think I enjoy my coworkers the best. I like coming in every day and, besides working on the aircraft with them, I like finding out how they’re doing.

What’s the most challenging thing?

When they call, we have to come running. And then we have a lot of down time sometimes. My wife still doesn’t quite understand my schedule.

Do you have a surprising personal factoid to share?

I think people are kind of amazed when they find out that I have an MBA in Business Administration.

Brian’s family:

  • Wife: Tina
  • Daughter: Sara (23)
  • Dog: Pearl (a Boxer)

What do you think about what you do at REACH?

It’s just a great job. It’s great knowing that what we provide for people who are sick and injured. Without REACH, they might not get where they need to be in a timely manner. I feel that what we do makes a difference. Originally I wanted to be in the law enforcement field, a “giving back to my community” kind of job. The opportunity at REACH allowed me to do that while doing something I already knew how to do.

Any final words?

I believe we’ve got the best people working at REACH. I like everybody here, but I’m partial to the people I work with. I think my coworkers are the best!

The safety article below is provided to you courtesy of Brian Babcock, Aircraft Maintenance Technician II, REACH 2 – Stockton, CA.

NORMS

norm noun
A norm is a group-held belief about how members should behave in a given context.

Everyone has found themselves either with too many things to do in the time allotted to do it or failed to foresee the time required time to do their assigned tasks. Many people create proper techniques to cope with this such as creating checklists or making their process leaner. Often, some people choose to deviate from the prescribed directions in a way to complete their assigned tasks on time. These shortcuts can be informally passed from one team member to another. Over time this new way to do a procedure becomes the accepted norm. Norms can appear to be very inconsequential but in fact they can be deadly. Written directions and procedures are many times made with safeguards placed to protect us, those we serve, and the equipment that we use.

The use of norms is widespread throughout many industries. This was recognized in our industry in the NTSB’s 2011 report of current issues with air EMS transportation. In this report the NTSB identified several levels of performance in the EMS industry. The top performers, or “world class”, are composed of 3 to 5 percent of the industry. These top performers are those who strive to be the very best. The next level has companies that adopt the “best of practices” which implements quality, standards, procedures, equipment, and training above and beyond regulatory requirements. The next level consists of companies that provide the basic regulatory compliance, meeting the spirit of the regulations, but no higher. And lastly are the companies which have sub-standard performance in their adherence to regulations, and where cutting corners are the norm (NTSB, 2011).

Our industry has no place for cutting corners. The public trusts that we will do the right thing when we come to help them. If we are negligent in doing the right thing the public will lose trust in our integrity. Breakdowns in integrity can be seen in politics, sports, business and everyday life (KSL.com, 2010). REACH is better than this. We need to stand by and live by our principles. We need to turn aside the temptation to deviate from procedures. We are world class.

Related links:

Robert L. Sumwalt, “Current Issues with Air Medical Transportation: EMS Helicopter Safety,” May 4, 2011.
(
https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/speeches/sumwalt/Sumwalt_050411.pdf)
Matt Townsend, “Integrity,” KSL.com (March, 2010)
(
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=585&sid=10219021#IHkZ7X2aQoDoR74s.99)