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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Amazing AvProNet

By Joy Finnegan, Editor [jfinnegan@accessintel.com]

Back in our October issue last year I wrote about our new networking site called the Aviation Professionals Network (see "The New Networking" More) We’ve already nicknamed it AvProNet like its web address, www.avpronet.com.

When I wrote about it in October, we had only recently launched the site. I wanted to give an update and let you know how amazed we are with the response the site has received, and tell you about a couple of things that have occurred there.

A post appeared on the site recently that stated, "Got laid off... now what?"

First, let me give you a little background. Most people today are starting to embrace online networking sites, both the social and professional kind. As I mentioned in that October article, I don’t jump on bandwagons often. Although I consider myself an "early adopter" when it comes to technology — I got the original iPhone — I’m not one to do something just because everybody else is.

I remember a couple of years ago hearing a comedian joking that he was shocked to learn his father had a MySpace page. But now it seems that more and more people are creating these pages and utilizing them to stay in touch or reconnect with friends from the past. They aren’t just for kids anymore. I have to admit I gave in and created a Facebook page a while back. I have been delighted to reconnect with high school friends, college friends and friends from my former places of residence that I had lost contact with over the years.

This brings me back to our site, AvProNet. I have been utilizing the site and have met folks from all over the U.S. and the world there. A maintenance group has been established and the participants in that group all have one thing in common — this crazy business we work in. And I’m not talking about aviation in general. I’m talking about the business of keeping the passengers of multi-million dollar aircraft safe by maintaining these complex, amazing machines. By the way, our maintenance group has the most members of any group on the site so far! I mentioned that I wanted to share a couple of things that have already happened on the site. These things happened just like we had hoped they would, by widening the net of contacts available to a person.

For example, I met a multi-talented guy, Marty Montez, on AvProNet. Currently working as an EMS Bell 222UT helicopter mechanic, he is also an accomplished artist. I saw a couple of Marty’s drawings and cartoons on his profile page and was drawn to them (pun intended). I contacted him and asked if he would be interested in making some cartoons showing humorous situations in the maintenance world, for us to use in the magazine. He agreed and we are delighted with the results. The first of Marty’s cartoons is running on page 6 in this issue. Look for more to follow.

The best part is that without AvProNet, I might never have had the opportunity to meet Marty or been able to bring his artistic talents to these pages.

Next, I wanted to tell you about a post that appeared on the site recently that stated, "Got laid off... now what?" I was tremendously impressed with the responses that followed from the other members of the group. Those postings included everything from moral support to job search websites to retraining opportunities to other industries that value the A&P certificate.

If nothing else, those posts showed me the community and caring that exists there and hopefully the original poster felt that as well.

When I wrote about this site in October I said that I had seen highly qualified, excellent employees lose their jobs over the years. I myself worked for an airline that went out of business and one day simply ceased operating. When these things happen it can knock the wind out of your sails. But as I know so well, it is easier to pick yourself back up and begin the search for another job if you have the encouragement and support of others who know the business.

Please consider joining this site now. Especially with all the economic turmoil the world, our country and this industry is facing.

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