Naval aviation experience translates to new Boeing career for Brandman graduate
Travis Roberts knows airplanes. Retiring from the U.S. Navy after a 20-year career as a P-3 flight engineer, aviation structural mechanic safety equipment (AME) technician, CNATTU MTS instructor, and LC-130 loadmaster, it only makes sense that he is now working in the 777 Quality Organization at Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace manufacturing company.
“After retiring from the Navy, I worked for three years as an aircraft maintenance contractor for L-3 Communications at NAS Whidbey Island VAQ-129 before joining Boeing as a quality inspector,” said Roberts. “Right now, I’m working in the 777 program Wing to Body Join area. Since they figured out I’m an airplane guy and understand aircraft structure and systems, I am asked to assist in several other 777 areas that are not necessarily within my area of direct responsibility.”
Roberts started at Boeing as a fuel tank inspector on the 777, describing some of the fuel tanks as “seeming to have the area of a small bedroom.” He quickly volunteered to assist in other program areas experiencing larger workload demands and is hoping to eventually move into management.
“That’s one thing I haven’t done here at Boeing,” he said. “I know the planes, the systems, and I want to get something done.”
So Roberts is positioning himself for the future at Boeing by completing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Brandman University. He’s now pursuing a master’s degree in organizational leadership at Brandman’s Whidbey Island campus. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
“I want to keep my brain engaged and keep studying,” said Roberts. “Brandman is a good fit, and I went right into the M.A.O.L. program. I can use that knowledge in management.”
He expects to graduate with his master’s degree in three years, knowing that it might take a little longer to finish his classes while working long days and weekends, sometimes up to 10 hours. “I want to keep up my GPA,” Roberts explains. “I graduated with honors for my criminal justice degree and I like to continue earning A’s from the M.A.O.L. instructors.”
Roberts knows what it takes to advance in his career, based on his Navy experience. He joined the military right out of high school in Dayton, Ohio, and completed an aircrew assignment at Point Mugu Naval Air Base in Ventura County, including deployments to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station to assist the National Science Foundation. After that, he moved to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, to perform the duties at the base intermediate level rework facility. After duty at NAS Lemoore, he completed 12 more years with assigned duties including P-3 flight engineer, “A” and “C” school Instructor, and quality supervisor before retiring in 2009.
Now, he hopes to make a difference at Boeing. “It’s a big company and important to the United States.” said Roberts. “Company leadership must determine effective long-term planning to be successful. I’ve participated in roundtable discussions aimed at making targeted changes to increase production quality and operations efficiency, and also determine more effective manpower management techniques that can be adopted by first level managers.”
He hopes to make a move into management sometime within the next few years but admits that his timetable is flexible. “Nothing can be left off of the table, if something more important, interesting or career-enhancing knocks, then I will consider any opportunity!”
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