Sponsorship and Just a Bit of Friendly Competition

It is fascinating meeting people born knowing what they were meant to do.

People like Pratt & Whitney's John Koza, whose love for aviation is matched by the sea of people competing in the MRO Americas Aerospace Maintenance Competition, in which Pratt & Whitney is a main sponsor.

"I am very proud of my career. I started out as a mechanic myself. This is my license right here," Koza said, showing his certification during the interview. "Being a mechanic and knowing people in the industry, I thought it would be a good idea for Pratt & Whitney to get involved in the maintenance competition."

Koza is a flight safety investigator for Pratt & Whitney.

Sponsorship was just the first step – the engine company is also fielding its first team.

"We kind of rely on each other," said Asif Mohammed, operations manager, Line Maintenance Services.

"Just represent the company and try and do our best," said Michael Varela, service coordinator, Line Maintenance Services.

"Have fun, that's the key," said Robert Mathews, military instructor, Customer Training Center in East Hartford.

"I think they judge you pretty kindly here," said Steve Myers, customer support, Customer Training Center.

Pratt & Whitney competed against maintenance technicians and aviation technical school students in a variety of timed tasks. Meanwhile, Koza judged one of two assignments on the PW1100G-JM Geared Turbofan engine. The fuel saver drew a crowd – and competitors earned a photographic keepsake in front of an "EngineWise" display.

"We're having everybody from seasoned aviation mechanics to students to armed forces personnel work on the engine to show how easily it can be maintained, how promptly, and most importantly how safely it can be accomplished," Koza said.

Sponsorship. Competition. Education. And even a few surprises.

"What I loved is [when] one of our competitors came up and wanted to take pictures with the engine as well. So that was kind of ... interesting," Koza said.