Michael E. McDaniel

Director of Aviation Programs, Alabama Community College System

Michael (Mac) McDaniel has been actively working in the aviation maintenance field for 29 years, starting his career in Anchorage, Alaska, for ERA Aviation, moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, for SkyWest Airlines, then Atlanta, Georgia for ExpressJet Airlines. Now Mac is taking on a new challenge as Director of Aviation programs for the Community College System in Alabama.

As an employee of SkyWest and ExpressJet Mac spent 18 years as an Instructor, Manager, and General Manager of Training. During that time, he has had the opportunity to develop training, provide instruction, and manage both training departments. In addition, he was able to expand the role of his department to include involvement in the development and implementation of programs and in the recruitment of new talent to the airlines. 

Leaving the airline world behind, Mac’s new role finds him in the midst of helping the Alabama Community College system. His mission is to look for ways to enhance the Aviation schools in Alabama in an effort to meet the needs of the industry.

Michael is passionate when it comes to the safe and efficient operation of aircraft and believes that the training of maintenance personnel requires a complete understanding of the workforce, the environment they are subject to and the culture they exist in.

On a personal note Michael is married with five grown children and two grandchildren. He lives in Pike Road, Alabama, and enjoys woodworking and antique furniture restoration.

Alabama Aviation Maintenance Colleges: Changing the Model

As a regional airline training manager my role was to educate the maintenance workforce on the skills needed to safely and efficiently maintain the aircraft in a regulated environment. In doing so I learned about what kind of skills the employees needed to be successful, and the need to adapt to a new workforce. This led me to recognize how the cost of recruiting, of re-training/remedial training of new mechanics can put a strain on the organization. Conversely I noticed how schools that provide better skills training graduate students that typically require less upfront skills training investment.

Now as part of the Alabama Community College System, I have a new perspective on the challenges presented to educators to meet the requirements of the FAA regulations, the needs of the aviation industry employers, as well as the need to adjust to the skills and knowledge of the new student population.

The Alabama Aviation Colleges mission is to train the next generation of high quality mechanics who can be successful in the workplace. To accomplish this task, we are building new partnerships with the FAA and local employers to identify workforce and educational needs. These partnerships can help us produce an optimal training environment, provide information to determine the return on the educational investment, validate the process, and help us determine how to efficiently use our resources. These partnerships can also be beneficial for the FAA in determining how best to provide onsite and insure safety while modernizing the regulatory element. Working together we can create opportunities for the next generation of mechanics to have successful careers. 

In Alabama we are poised to make those changes happen.