Brook’s view: A high-flying internship

Hi! My name is Brooke and I’ve been working in flight operations as a maintenance summer intern at American Family Insurance. Many people want to know what my typical day is like. I actually have no typical day. I am trusted with duties such as mowing lawn, cleaning the floors, changing light bulbs and other various activities. I am also responsible for cleaning the plane. We do not wash the plane as you would wash your car; we take solvents and wipe down the airplane. My job is to continue doing all my tasks at my own pace in my own order. I do also get to help with maintenance on the plane such as changing wheels and igniter plugs.

If the plane is gone and it leaves at 6:00am, I have to be here at 4:00am. Schedule is a huge part of this internship because there are no set hours. However, you are expected to come in two hours before the plane leaves and at least an hour before the plane comes back. During the rest of the day you can leave and come back or you can perform your other duties, but you are the one who sets your own hours each day. It’s nice because if you work a few long days, you can take a short day and still make your hours.

In order for anyone to have an internship in this department they must be very aware of what they are doing and what is around them. If not, someone can get seriously injured and there can potentially be a lot of damage to assets and people. The intern must also be reliable because there isn’t always someone watching to make sure you’re on task. I choose what day I wanted to do what task and which order. There were, of course, days my manager would ask me to do one or a few specific duties.

The hardest part of working here was adjusting to the pace. There is a slower pace so that everyone can be more conscious of what is happening. I was used to doing everything as fast as possible but here it is much more about quality and safety than anything. Everything you do is done to the best of your abilities. The other thing I had a hard time with was how long everything takes — such as approvals and ordering items — but that is the same with any big corporation.

There were a few more things I had to learn and adjust to. Early mornings were one which, now that I am at the end of my internship, aren’t all that bad. They’re still not my favorite, but they’re much easier than when I first started. There were a bunch of security regulations that I had to adapt to but they’re all in place for a good reason and none of the security regulations were any bit unreasonable. One of the other new things I learned about is our Safety Management System. There are constant safety threats, whether slipping on a floor, breaking an asset or being injured, so there is a system in place in which anytime an employee notices a threat, it is brought to everyone’s attention and there is something done. For example, there are terribly slippery floors, so mats where laid down for passengers to walk on.

There are a lot of reasons why American Family is a great employer. The people I worked with were very willing to adjust to me just as I had to adjust to the company. There are always people willing to help, from assisting with a project or helping me find my way around headquarters. I also like how quiet it is out at the hanger. There aren’t a lot of people roaming around so it is very easy to concentrate and get my work done. The biggest reason I love working for American Family is that, when you did your work, someone said thank you. They actually appreciate the work you put in and the results you produce.

American Family Insurance gave me an opportunity and experiences that were invaluable to me and to my current position in life. I now have several experiences that make me a better mechanic and more aware of safety and security. I learn best by going out and giving things a try and that is what I was allowed to do here. Now I know for certain that I would like to be a corporate aviation mechanic.

One Comment

  1. Joe
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    That sounds like a cool job, I definitely would not want to be to work at 4am. Props to you! I really want to do something in aviation but the demand has gone way down since 9/11.

One Trackback

  1. By A high-flying internship- Part 2 « Amfam Career Blog on September 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    […] A high-flying internship- Part 2 Brooke, a maintenance intern with American Family Insurance flight operations, shares this video and story about her invaluable and awesome experience. […]

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