March has been a busy month for Women’s History Month, and Women in Aviation Week (March 8-14, 2021). Erickson Inc. is proud to have many women in leadership and technical roles within the company. Here are some of the stories of Erickson’s female employees as we celebrate these milestones in March 2021.
Name: Anna Royce Reid
Job Title: Lead R&D Hardware Engineer
How long as an employee: 1.5 years
Favorite part of the job: I knew that I wanted to work in the aviation industry since high school. I have always been fascinated by the operations within aviation and the overall impact that aviation has on our lives. From firefighting, traveling, construction, and many more I believe that aviation, and specifically the heavy lift helicopter industry has positive impacts in many ways. I love being part of a team that helps make these impacts on the world.
Challenge in your role: I specifically love that every day brings a new challenge, I could be working on designing new firefighting equipment one day and working on structural analysis that implements new flight systems the next day. I love the variety of problem-solving involved in my job, since this is why I wanted to become an engineer in the first place.
The biggest challenge in my role is also one of my favorite parts of my job. The need to continue to learn different analysis methods and ways to solve problems. Each project brings new challenges and opportunities to be creative and solve problems in new ways.
Why women should enter this industry: Aviation is a great industry to work in and see the impact that you are having on the world. It is always exciting, can be hands on, and is a field with a variety of career opportunities. Women should not be intimidated to go into the aviation industry, if they are passionate about aviation, they will find a fulfilling and exciting career.
Name: Anna Marie Blower
Job Title: Director of Europe and Chairperson of SIMA and EuAC, Erickson’s subsidiaries in Italy
How long as an employee: 16 years
Favorite part of the job: With a degree in architecture, born in Florence into an international family, Anglo-Italian father, and an American mother, I grew up breathing aviation. My father spent his entire career (50+ years) in aviation and my brother, is also in aviation as a pilot of helicopters and fixed-wing jet transport aircraft.
Taking advantage of my father’s business, leveraging my organizational skills, my architects’ rational mindset and playing on my versatility, I embraced this business, 17 years ago. In the summer of 2003, I started helping my father and discovered a world that I had never considered before, although I had grown up around it, I had attended Farnborough and Le Bourget air shows and HAI Heli Expo’s. During the first years I was my father’s silent shadow, traveling with him around the industry and the world. My goals were to learn the strings of the commercial and operational aspects and later the technical interface of it all. Now as I look back, I can say I have come a long way, since those initial years, knowing so much more about helicopters and the specific operational, commercial, technical, and overall managerial skills of the aviation business in general.
Starting out in the administration department, moving through an experience in the operations office, I found my place in the marketing and sales department. There, I became a director, organizing exceptional transports with the S-64, as it happened with the wind turbines of Vestas or with the pylons for the energy transmission of Terna. This was the most exciting part of the job.
Challenge in your role: Now, since 2019, I serve as Director of Europe and chairperson of the board of two Erickson subsidiaries based in Italy: SIMA and European Air Crane, supporting the Italian Fire Brigade in the operation and maintenance of their S-64 fleet. I spend much of my time managing the day-to-day administration of running each subsidiary, liaising with our client, which presents daily challenges to overcome, but is always interesting and stimulating!
Why women should enter this industry: Although the industry is becoming more inviting for aspiring female candidates, women still have a hard time making their careers in the aviation industry; so, as women working in senior positions, we can play a big part and should be highlighted as role models, as it’s encouraging for newcomers to see women seeking a good career in top management and proof that the aviation industry has finally realized that the intellectual value is independent of gender.
“The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.”
Name: Mary Milne
Job Title: Senior Financial Analyst
How long as an employee: 11 years
Favorite part of the job: My favorite part of the job is the variety of experiences I’ve had. There have been many changes over the years, which provided a wealth of opportunity to adapt, learn new things, and keep my role interesting. I also value the relationships I’ve established over time with some wonderful people at Erickson. One of my most memorable experiences was seeing Erickson in action in 2015 on a fire at Glacier National Park. My family and I were coincidently on vacation at the park during the fire. We saw the Air Cranes® overhead making runs fighting the fire, and I took my kids to see the aircraft while they weren’t flying.
Challenge in your role: The greatest challenge in my job is working with a lot of data from multiple sources and compiling it in a way that is understandable, useful, and accurate. I’m dedicated to making sure the numbers are right and there are often system/data complexities that add to the challenge.
Why women should enter this industry: Being a woman in aviation can open so many opportunities in your career, and it’s cool! I’ve always had an interest in aviation and aerospace. After graduate school, I accepted a job with a large aviation/aerospace company that allowed me to work in many different areas of the company. My job at Erickson came about because of a networking relationship I had established while working at that company as a Senior Operations Analyst in an operations role.
I’m passionate that women pursue any education whether in college, on the job, trade, or technical. Education and learning new things provide options to help balance your career and lifestyle. Erickson has given me the opportunity and flexibility to do that in my career. I would encourage any woman to explore all the options that a career in the aviation industry can offer!
Name: Carrie Wallis
Job Title: Technical Publications Administrator
How long as an employee: 6 years
Favorite part of the job: My favorite part of the job is the fast-paced complexity of it and the various roles I play for the company. It does get challenging when I start getting behind. I strive for perfection and feeling rushed can cause mistakes. I had to learn how to accept the humanness of error and create systems of double-checking my work.
Challenge in your role: I became a hairdresser as my first career. Later in life, I went back to college and became an automotive mechanic before I started at Erickson and that experience helped me land this job. The publications I deal with take some mechanical knowledge to understand and that’s made it easier to learn. The point being that you can explore all aspects of yourself as a human being without limiting yourself because of your gender.
Why women should enter this industry: I have always wanted to work in the aviation industry and started to pursue my pilot’s license at one point. I started putting in the word ‘aviation’ to my job searches to fulfill my goal of being in this field. I believe women should never limit their dreams because of society’s traditional job roles. That goes for men too.
Aviation is an exciting industry to be involved in. From the pilot, to the mechanic, to the people on the ground making sure all are safe, and the job was done professionally. There are women in all these roles at Erickson. You don’t have to walk in knowing about aviation to get your foot in the door of the field. Never let fear stop you! Chase your dreams!
Name: Kelsi Kruger
Job Title: Safety Administrative Assistant
How long as an employee: 1.5 years
Favorite part of the job: I enjoy supporting the Safety team in working toward a common goal: to ensure every employee goes home safely at the end of every shift or rotation.
Challenge in your role: Due to the unique constraints of the past year, most of my time working for Erickson has been in a remote capacity. As someone new to the field of aviation, the process of assimilating acronyms used throughout the company has been made slower without the benefit of hearing those terms used in casual conversation around the office.
Why women should enter this industry: Many skilled trades, including aviation, are experiencing a shortage of qualified applicants. Encouraging passionate, hardworking, and dedicated women to enter the field of aviation can only benefit the industry.
Interested in learning more about working at Erickson?