An instructor at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and a student from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance have been named the 2020 recipients of ATEC's most prestigious awards. The annual awards are made possible through partnership with the Northrop Rice Foundation and JSfirm.com, who provide travel reimbursements and cash prizes to recipients.
PIA Educator Al Simon was named the Ivan D. Livi Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year Award for 2020, while Aviation Institute of Maintenance Student Nicole Cain was named the James Rardon Aviation Maintenance Technician Student of the Year for 2020.
Cain, the fourth AIM students to receive the award since 2000, was cited for academic achievement, involvement in activities that showcase leadership, and other contributions to the school and/or community. As this year’s winner, she will receive free registration, airfare, lodging, and a meal stipend to attend the ATEC Annual Conference in September. Additionally, she will be presented with a plaque and cash award at the ATEC Awards Luncheon.
Cain held a 4.0 GPA throughout her 21-month program, while also providing tutoring to fellow students and regularly leading class projects. As a wounded veteran, she devoted time to the school’s Veteran Resource Center assisting other student veteran’s transition to civilian life. Outside of class, she trained junior mechanics in maintaining the airworthiness of unique aircraft as an apprentice at the Military Aviation Museum where she has been offered a full-time position and is the first intern to convert to employee.
“Her passion for aviation is infectious,” said AIM’s Director of Education Tim Murray. She commits herself to her education, and her apprenticeship. Despite being a single mother and a wounded veteran, Nicole’s dedication to her studies and fellow students is apparent. Our institution, the local community, the organization of Women in Aviation International, and the local veteran population are all the better due to her involvement.”
Nominations for instructor of the year come from across the country to recognize AMT instructors who, either through a single event or over the span of a career, have a direct impact on aviation maintenance students. Simon joins two other PIA instructors who have received the award since 1990.
Simon’s experience began as a 1969 graduate of PIA, after which he began his service in the United States Marine Corps. His civilian career includes positions at Allegheny Airlines and FedEx. Simon is currently in his 20th year of teaching at PIA, continuing to hand down his wisdom and experiences to future technicians.
"Mr. Simon has contributed so much to the education of PIA students over the years,” said PIA Dean of Academic Affairs Jason Pfarr. “We are truly honored that he has spent his career at our institution."
Both Cain and Simon will be honored at the ATEC Annual Conference Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Avotek, scheduled for September 13-16, 2020 in Fort Worth, TX.
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