James Rardon Aviation Maintenance Technician Student of the Year Award

Presented by ATEC, in collaboration with:

Northop Rice Foundation

Purpose:  The Rardon Award recognizes the outstanding achievement of an Aviation Maintenance Technician student.  The achievement must be demonstrated through academics as well as through involvement that makes a direct impact on the student’s associates, school and/or community.

Past Recipients:
2023: Aaron Phillips, Alabama Aviation College
2022: Waren Lelewa, Blue Ridge Community College
​2021: JuliAnne Miller, Lansing Community College
2020: Nicole Cain, Aviation Institute of Maintenance
2019: Mikayla Green, Colorado Northwestern Community College
2018:  Jason Gries, Aviation Institute of Maintenance - Norfolk & Anthony Kinsey, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
2017: Collin McDonald, Middle Tennessee State University
2016: Joel Brashear, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
2015: Russell Wheatley, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
2014: Cody Marks, Lewis University
2013: Maria Liberto, Aviation Institute of Maintenance
2012: Karen Knewtson, Salt Lake Community College
2011: Debra Monchilov, Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology
2010: Mabel Hinton, Middle Tennessee State University
2009: Brian Brunner, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
2008: Shawn Smith, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
2007: Brenda Wallace, Aviation Institute of Maintenance
2006: Blaze Mitanoski, Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology
2005: David Garvin, Tulsa Technology Center
2004: Erin Burleson, Purdue University, Aviation Technology Department
2003: James Guidry, Sr., Hallmark Institute of Aeronautics
2002: Michael Moreland, Antelope Valley College
2001: Michael Harris, Everett Community College
2000: Denise Nugent, Colorado Aero Tech

Eligibility:  To be nominated, an individual must be a full-time AMT student at an ATEC member school


  • Nominators may only submit one nomination for the award
  • Nominators must submit two recommendation letters from third parties

Review Process:  A selection committee made up of ATEC member representatives will review all submissions and select award finalists.  Nomination packages for the finalists are then forwarded to the Northrop Rice Foundation Board of Directors for final selection

Selection Criteria:

  • Leadership/Motivation:  What has the student done to encourage and lead his/her fellow students to newer and higher levels of learning, or to promote aviation maintenance as a career? Total value: 30%
  • Academics: How has the student approached his/her own learning, and what grade level has the student achieved? Total value:  30%
  • School/Community:  What has the student done to assist the school faculty develop new/better training methods, maintain necessary records and maintenance requirements, and/or promote the institution in the community? Total value: 20%
  • Recommendation(s): Two additional recommendations will be considered to become as familiar as possible with the attributes, abilities and achievements of the nominated student. Total value: 20%

Award:  The recipient will receive the following thanks to our generous donors.

  • Complimentary registration to attend the ATEC Annual Conference
  • Complimentary hotel for up to three (3) nights
  • Reimbursement of coach airfare cost to/from the conference and $100 per diem for up to three (3) days (provided by the Northrop Rice Foundation)
  • Toolbox (provided by Snap-on)
  • $750 cash award (provided by JSfirm.com)

​Nominations are due by February 1, 2024.