Women in Aviation: Jacki Sugg

Get to know LIFT Academy’s Manager of Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Development, Jacki Sugg.

A couple of fun facts about Jacki: I really like EAA Airventure Oshkosh and I hope to pursue my helicopter pilot license one day.

Jacki works with LIFT apprentices, teaching their curriculum to become certificated AMTs. The curriculum consists of in the classroom learning and hands on training on the LIFT DA40 and DA42 aircraft that our students fly.

My career in aviation started when I joined the United States Army, hoping to become a Blackhawk mechanic. Due to an unfortunate injury, I was medically discharged from the military. After separating in September 2009, I enrolled in Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology’s Aviation Maintenance Technician program that October to continue to pursue my dream of working on aircraft.

I attended Spartan’s 18-month Aviation Maintenance Technician’s program for an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) certification and extended it to 21 months, adding on an Associate degree as well. During my time in school, I worked for a company that built heat exchangers and condensers for multiple aircraft and military contracts. I started out on the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)side where I built and stacked cores for brazing. I then moved over to the MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhall) side, where I worked as a bench mechanic, tearing down heat exchanger cores for core replacement. After reassembly we would clean and leak-check the heat exchanger cores.

While attending Spartan College, I also worked for another interesting aviation company that built aircraft simulators for various aviation training. This included cabin door simulators for flight attendant and emergency exit training and a C17 full fuselage load master trainer. While there, I worked as a fabricator, building parts and subassemblies for the different simulators.

After graduating from Spartan College in April 2012, my first A&P job was in Greenville, TX for L3 Communications MID. There, I worked as an electrician and flight line mechanic on King Air B300/B350i for their military contracts. Part of the role required that I learn about electrical wiring and how to close out connectors before moving to the flight line. My role was to assist in troubleshooting and servicing aircraft once they were released from the hangar after their inspections and modifications.

In November 2013, I started role at Republic Airways and have been a part of the Republic family for almost eight years! I’ve been lucky enough to hold various jobs within the company, starting out as a mechanic in Kansas City, MO. While in Kansas City, I worked on both the Embraer 170/190 and Bombardier Q400 and was eventually promoted to a lead mechanic role. I was also an on- the- job trainer, Run/Taxi trainer and Required Inspection Items or the Q400. After about a year and half, I transitioned to Republic’s Headquarters in Indianapolis, IN, working in the Maintenance Control (MOC) Department, taking phone calls from pilots and maintenance on discrepancies or issues on the aircraft, working with either maintenance bases or on-call providers to get the aircraft back into service. I worked in this role for three years before transitioning to the Quality Assurance Department to work as a Heavy Check Maintenance Representative, providing onsite technical and customer support to our contract vendors, both here in Indianapolis as well as travelling back and forth to Nashville, TN.

In September 2019, I came to LIFT Academy as the Manager of AMT Development, where I helped launch the Aviation Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship program. I now lead the program and our group of apprentices who train with LIFT. Our program is an “earn as you learn” model, meaning those in the AMT Apprenticeship program are paid to work, learn and eventually become certificated A&P technicians. I believe that the earn as you learn model is vital to the next generation and is a big reason as to why our apprentices are committed to the work they do. I am very happy to be a part of LIFT and the work we are doing to train AMTs and pilots for the aviation industry!