Veterans Training Veterans

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
Veterans Training Veterans – A Timely Career Trend Story

Timely consideration for workplace/career features regarding so many of Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics faculty working as veterans of the US military and instructors at PIA…and what we’ve learned is even more fascinating is that quite a numerous faction of the student body are veterans as well.

These honorable vets about their work in preparing students for very high demand careers in aviation maintenance – exemplary use of the GI Bill considering that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that the 2017 median annual pay for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians was $61,260 and that Boeing’s 2018 Current Market Outlook forecasts that between now and 2037, the aviation industry During the next 10 years, airlines will spend almost $4 billion to retrofit more than 9,000 airplanes with satellite connectivity.

In terms of current students on the GI Bill, studying as veterans – follow this link to a variety of more in depth stories:

And for b-roll and student veteran insights:  – this piece features comments from faculty Veteran Lee Carnes and students Mark McCray, Stacie Powers, David Smith.

Warren Guthrie 49 years, PIA ALUMNI (AMT), Air Force Veteran Mr. Guthrie is one of the longest serving faculty members at PIA, sharing his experience from his military service with B52 Bombing & Navigation Systems and Low Level Terrain Avoidance Radar. Mr. Guthrie spent 34 years as an Industrial Electrical Specialist with the U.S. Postal Service, as well as working with Strategic Air Command, American Airlines, Executive Jet and light aircraft at Northern Airmotive.

Mark Mihalko  5 years, (AET), U.S. Navy Veteran Mr. Mihalko comes to PIA after serving over 21 years in the United States Navy, with a specialty in combat systems and communications while deployed on the USS Trenton, Carter Hall and Ponce. He then served as a submarine repair facility production supervisor and a Naval Station airfield manager.

Kevin Reid 14 years, PIA ALUMNI (AMT), US Navy Veteran and Army National Guard After Mr. Reid’s service in the U.S. Navy he went on to work at Interstate Airlines, Conrad Aviation Services and the Army Aviation Support Facility in Washington, PA. He has forty years of experience with all types of aircraft including jets, small aircraft and helicopters. While in the aviation industry, Mr. Reid continued serving his county for 15 years in the Army National Guard. Mr. Reid is certified to test individuals seeking the FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification.

Randall Reynolds 16 years, (AMT), US Airforce Veteran Mr. Reynolds served 24 years in the Airforce. From 1986-1992 he was the crew chief for Air Force 2, the Vice President’s aircraft under Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. He also served as an Aircraft  Crew Chief on C-130 cargo planes. Mr. Reynolds brings to PIA extensive experience with over 40+years in a multitude of aircraft. Mr. Reynolds retired after 9 years as PIA’s Youngstown Branch Campus Director and has returned to PIA’s main campus to teach Powerplant.

Frank Says 30 years, PIA ALUMNI (AET), US Army Veteran Mr. Saye served 21 years in the military specializing in long and short range radar missile systems including the Nike Hercules, Ajax, Patriot and Hawk Missiles. After serving overseas in Germany and Korea he returned to his native Texas to teach military officers at the Air Defense School at Fort Bliss.

Albert R. Simon, Jr.  15 years, (AMT), US Marine Corps VeteranMr. Simon is a specialist in Powerplant Mechanics with over 20 years at US Air and 10 years at Fed Ex. Mr. Simon is consulted for his expert troubleshooting skills after 44+ years of aviation experience. He also has taught at PIA’s branch campuses.


The school was opened by Glenn Curtiss and Orville Wright in 1927 as Curtiss-Wright Flying Service, and became PIA in 1929. Today, PIA is a non-profit, career-focused family of schools offering programs in Aviation Maintenance and Aviation Electronics.

The instructional staff combine real-world experience with classroom instruction, and a wide range of student and graduate services.  PIA’s Career Services team works individually with each student to reach their employment goals. PIA is often the first stop for many employers looking for quality employees. PIA offers an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree at its West Mifflin, PA, location and Diploma programs in Youngstown, OH, Hagerstown, MD, and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics was recognized as the #1 school fighting the nation’s skills gap in a list published in 2018 by Forbes.

Niche rankings place Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in the #8 position among 619 trade schools in the United States for 2017 and #2 of 23 in Pennsylvania. Niche rankings are based on rigorous analysis of data and reviews. Additionally, in 2017, Zippia placed PIA among the top 10 best U.S. junior colleges for jobs based on a variety of score card data including emphasis on job placement results.

PIA’s campuses in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Hagerstown and Myrtle Beach have been selected as four of approximately 40 aircraft maintenance schools to partner with Delta Air Lines in an effort to find the schools whose graduates are able to meet or exceed their high expectations. There is open enrollment through the year accompanied with admissions requirements. For more information, call 1-800-444-1440, or visit


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