This week WMU Aviation is featuring faculty member Jeremy C. Hierholzer. Jeremy started as a faculty specialist in the fall of 2012. This is his second stint with Western Michigan University as he was an aircraft maintenance technician and a WMU faculty member from 1998-2003. He teaches aircraft systems for mechanics and pilots, reciprocating engine overhaul, propellers, and advanced maintenance practices and troubleshooting.
Jeremy earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technology from WMU and went on to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Career and Technical Education from WMU. He is an FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic with Inspection Authorization who also holds a private pilot certificate. Jeremy previously worked at Southern Illinois University and Purdue University teaching composites, turbine engines, electronics, and aircraft systems. He has experience performing heavy maintenance on the Pratt and Whitney JT8D turbine engine. Jeremy also has extensive experience maintaining single engine and light twin engine aircraft.
Jeremy chose to teach at WMU for several reasons. First, as an alumni, WMU feels like home to him. He states, “I have worked in industry and taught at other institutions, but nothing comes close to the feeling of teaching at your alma mater. I enjoy the college atmosphere with all the events on and around campus, especially Bronco sports. Also, teaching allows me to make an impact on people’s lives whether it’s developing a future aviation professional, showing someone how to build a home budget, or talking about work-family balance.”
There are two classes that Jeremy especially enjoys teaching. The first is AVS4965, Advanced Maintenance Practices and Troubleshooting, which only runs in the summer II semester. This is a class that meets 3 days a week for 8 hours each day. It is mostly practical/lab work, so there is an abundance of interaction with the students. The class allows the students to apply what they have learned from all their previous aviation classes. His second favorite class is AVS3070, Advanced Systems for Pilots. Jeremy enjoys this class because it is one of few where he gets to interact with flight science and management students. Also, he gets to talk about the entire aircraft from engines to hydraulics and environmental systems.
When asked to give advice to those entering the aviation industry, Jeremy says, “Network, network, and network some more. Get involved in students organizations. Go to College of Aviation and industry events. Get an internship. Apply for scholarships.” He also stresses the importance of students forming relationships with faculty in order to get recommended for jobs when the industry calls.
Jeremy reports that one of the most rewarding parts of his career is seeing students graduate and start successful careers. In addition to this, he says that being an advisor for SkillsUSA has allowed him to watch students compete and excel in state and national contests in aviation maintenance and leadership. Also, there are the lifelong relationships that develop among students and between students and faculty. But, most important to Jeremy is the flexibility that comes with being in education that allows him to spend time with his wife and two boys.
On behalf of WMU Aviation, thank you for all that you do, Mr. Hierholzer!