Preparing letters of engagement, requests for proposals and building contracts to provide aircraft spares are daily challenges for Kathy Hammerson, LJ Walch's manager of business development - North America
Do you have a degree?
Being raised in an entrepreneurial family, I was highly motivated to start working right out of high school, so I skipped college and went to work.
I have taken many different college classes that I felt were of interest, but I have no plans to get a degree in any discipline. In my opinion, practical experience is something that cannot be taught.
What career path led you to today?
Before aviation I worked in a sales office for an aluminium distributor. Livermore, California-based service company LJ Walch was my first job in the aviation industry. I started pulling parts, assembling hardware kits, worked in the purchasing and customer service departments until I took my current position. Somehow the aviation industry has been in my life for many years.
Hammerson: practical experience cannot be taught
My husband has worked for LJ Walch for over 33 years, he is the materials manager. After work, we don't always leave work at work. It has always been a great place to work and we are both proud to represent our company in any fashion.
And, before you ask, it is no problem for some husbands and wives to work together.
Can you ever predict what will soon be in demand?
Predicting demand is difficult in aviation since all airlines have different maintenance policies on removal intervals.
We do, however, try to offer our customers the option of using new PMA parts that we have developed to save them money on their repair costs and increased reliability with our engineering orders.
Is one of your biggest fears suddenly having a warehouse of expensive paperweights?
The best way to predict when parts will go obsolete is to watch the airline industry order trends. When the larger airlines retire aircraft they are usually sold to smaller or international airlines. We also market to these companies. Maintaining just-in-time inventory levels also helps alleviate this problem.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job, and what is the most enjoyable?
To me, if it isn't challenging it wouldn't be fun. The most challenging part of my job is time management. Making sure that all our customers get their requests for quotes back in a timely manner and keeping up with customer contacts that are required. The most enjoyable part of my job is working with all our current and prospective customers and making trips to visit them. The aviation industry has some really nice people to work with.
What is the least enjoyable part of your routine?
In aviation is there such a thing as routine? If I were to pick out a part of my job this is my least enjoyable, it would probably be the reading and reviewing of proposed contracts. Some of them get very boring.
When you fly for work or pleasure, are you always thinking of the tiny parts in the aircraft?
I enjoy the beauty of flight and then I must admit that I am thinking about parts that LJ Walch could provide service on. I love the idea of saving hours or days by taking a quick flight. Why not leave driving to the pilot and relax for a few hours?