March 10, 2021
Taking things apart and putting them back together is nothing new for Shannon Hotchkin, who first started demonstrating a keen mechanical aptitude at an early age. Now, as the director of maintenance for the Nike flight department with responsibility for its aircraft and maintenance staff, she is still fascinated by all things mechanical and loves working on the airplanes, which she does in addition to her managerial duties.
“At Nike, we walk the talk,” says Hotchkin. “We have a passion for safety and quality.”
And even though the past year has been challenging because of COVID-19 restrictions, Hotchkin and her team were still busy, supporting pilots on training and currency flights, performing scheduled maintenance and more. “A change for us is that tires aren’t wearing out and stuff isn’t breaking as much,” she said.
Hotchkin’s career began in the U.S. Navy, where she was a mechanic on an F-14 as an active-duty sailor and subsequently as an aviation maintenance technician for several defense contractors, during the decommission of the F-14 and the start-up of an F-5 adversary squadron. After receiving an undergraduate degree and taking master’s degree courses from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, she accepted an engineering position at Lockheed Martin Missiles. An offer from Gulfstream then brought her to Savannah, GA, where she ultimately served as the G450/G550 production quality manager in Major Assembly.
“I got particular satisfaction out of helping with aircraft designs that take into consideration the ease with which maintenance technicians can work on the aircraft down the road,” said Hotchkin.
Hotchkin feels that as a successful woman in the field of aircraft maintenance, volunteering in the industry and mentoring others is not optional. “I owe it to others in the industry to help mentor them,” she said, noting that she has had many mentors along the way. She has volunteered with the Society for Women Engineers and recently joined NBAA’s Maintenance Committee.
Like many other women in aviation, Hotchkin has felt the pressure to be highly qualified for the work that she does. “I’ve got to be the best I possibly can,” she says. “There’s no other alternative.”
NBAA is running a series on women in aviation throughout March, which is Women’s History Month.