My Story: Bob Shinholt
I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force right out of high school. I was a maintenance crew chief on the A-10 Warthog for four years, followed by 12 years crewing the air superiority fighter, the F-15 Eagle.
I was always very safety conscious in my work and maintained my assigned aircraft to my own very high standards. I was selected by the wing commander at my last base to fill the position of wing flight safety superintendent. In that role, I oversaw and assessed the overall safe operations of all aircraft maintenance performed on the flight line, in the hangars and in the back shops. I worked alongside ground safety and weapons safety personnel, picking up a lot of valuable training in those career fields, as well.
Ground safety was as close to OSHA as you can get in the Air Force. Being self-motivated and meticulous about safety, focusing on education and communication, I helped drive down the aviation mishap (incident) rate in the wing by 65 percent. I also uncovered the root cause to a critical landing gear failure and engine failures after our aircraft experienced several catastrophic failures of each system.
After retirement, I worked for several government contractors, filling the role of safety manager or director until accepting a position with my current employer. My working environment is very diverse yet very challenging, which I love, as it is 30 percent manufacturing, 30 percent heavy aircraft maintenance, and 40 percent aircraft cabin completions and refurbishment. I get to see our 270 employees go home every day injury-free, which is rewarding to a safety professional.
Senior Safety and Environmental Compliance Manager