Tyler Brown

Tyler Brown is interested in all things aviation, especially avionics. “I like aviation, I like electronics. Why not do both?” he explains.

The SkillsUSA champion in Aviation Maintenance Technology already had two job offers before graduating from Burlington (Vt.) Technical Center. But this past summer, he decided to combine his love of aviation plus electronics and recently completed an avionics program.

While going through both the high-school and postsecondary aviation technology programs at the center, Brown first won the state high-school gold medal in Aviation Maintenance, then the national high-school bronze. The next year, he earned college/postsecondary gold medals at the state and national levels.

“When I was little, my dad was an airport fireman, so I used to go to the airport sometimes to see him, and I was always fascinated with the planes up in the sky,” Brown says. “And then, freshman year of high school, the tech center [representatives] came around, and I heard about the aviation program. That sparked memories of me liking planes, and so I thought I’d give it a try. I loved it, and I’ve been trying to excel at it ever since.”

The center’s aviation program is based at Burlington International Airport, next to a hangar for Aerodyme Corp. Brown approached an Aerodyme supervisor, said he was interested in learning more and asked if there were any openings. They talked again a week later, and Brown was hired on the spot. He’s now one of two aircraft technicians performing major alterations and updates to aircraft.

SkillsUSA advisor Richard Sylvester, the school’s aviation director, says Brown frequently helps friends and family with an extensive knowledge of computers and programs. This skill earned the student a second job at the Vermont Flight Academy, where he’s currently servicing computers and taking pilot lessons. Once Brown earns his airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificate, he’ll be the only aircraft technician at the academy.

Besides avionics and computers, Brown developed an interest in business, helping out at his father’s electrical company.

By adding business studies and experience to his broad love of aviation, he hopes to one day start his own company. “Starting an aviation company would be the best of every world,” he explains.

Overall, Brown’s thankful for the edge SkillsUSA’s given him in the job market.

“SkillsUSA is great because … this really shows people that I’m not just a typical employee. I have shown that I excel at what I do, and that I can be more valuable than other people who’ve applied.”