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Celebrating International Civil Aviation Day with Jeffrey Church

December 7th marks International Civil Aviation Day. Our teams of aircrew maintenance engineers (AME) and dedicated support staff in Manitoba are always hard at work supporting the efforts to combat wildfires and helping protect communities across the province. 

Today, we are celebrating it at Babcock Canada by highlighting one of our many talented employees in the civil aviation sector.

We sat down with Jeffrey Church, Quality Assurance Manager for Babcock Canada to discuss his experience and journey within the Civil Aviation sector.

Q: Can you please describe your current role within Babcock?

JC: I am currently a Quality Assurance Manager for Babcock Canada. I have also been wearing a second hat as Head of Engineering/Person Responsible for Maintenance since July of 2021.

Q: What is your academic and professional background?

JC: I started my career by taking an AME course at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I then completed my apprenticeship with Allen Airways in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, where I was working on De Havilland Beavers, Otters, Cessnas and various other small general aviation aircraft. I received my AME license in 1986 working for a few small operators/private owners in the Dryden area until I got a job at Bristol Aerospace (Magellan) working on military – Canadair CF-5 aircraft, Bell 212, 206 and Cobra helicopters. In 1998 I left Bristol to work at Air Canada/Aveos where I received an Aircraft Certification Authority on Airbus 320 series, Boeing 737NG and Embraer 190 aircraft. I was promoted to Team Leader for the last 4 years until they closed the doors in 2012.

I then started my own company and headed to Premier Aviation in Rome, New York, and later to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Later that year I found a permanent job with KF Aerospace in Portage La Prairie doing Quality Assurance for their flight training fleet of aircraft.

After 6 years of commuting one hour each way to work, I accepted a position at Babcock doing Quality Assurance.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in civil aviation?

JC: At 17 years old I was not sure what I wanted to do. All I knew at the time is that I liked to work with my hands. So, when a friend said he was going to Confederation College for Aircraft Maintenance I checked it out and thought “that looks like something I would enjoy”. I applied and 6 months later I loaded up my AMC Gremlin and was off to Thunder Bay.

A CL-415 water bomber that Babcock maintains and operates in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Q: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

JC: Currently I am extremely busy, trying to manage both of my duties. Most of the days are busy with meetings, organizing audits, training, and fighting fires (the figurative ones).

Q: What is your favourite part of the job?

JC: My favourite part of my job is working with a great group of people that always makes coming into work so much easier. I really have enjoyed working with the many people that I have met in this industry, there is an aviation maintenance mindset that is unique to this group that I am so proud to be part of.

Q: What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a career in civil aviation?

JC: It is not the easiest business to be in; you can get a lot of self-satisfaction when you get the aircraft serviceable and ready for flight – often after working all night putting in a 16 hour shift. However, nothing feels better than when the aircraft takes off because you did an amazing job.

Q: What is something you would tell your younger self starting out in your career?

JC: It is so much easier today to research careers or companies, I would say choose good reputable companies and always look to advance within or outside your current employer.

Also, take leadership courses to understand how to treat people; you earn more respect by showing someone you care about them and take the time to listen. You also learn a lot more by listening than talking and you start leading people whether you choose to or not, because soon after you become licensed you are given an apprentice to lead and mentor.