David Hernandez | Mayo Aviation

 In 2022, David Hernandez—Line Service Manager at Mayo Aviation—received NATA’s Safety 1st Line Service Professional Award, recognizing outstanding service to the aviation business community.

Read the following excerpt from the Aviation Business Journal to learn more about how David got his start in aviation and how he came about receiving this award.

Unlike many of this year’s NATA Awards winners who said their dreams of aviation careers started in childhood, David Hernandez says his career began with a chance recommendation from a friend the summer after he graduated from high school. 

“My buddy was working at Vail Valley Jet Center and said, ‘Hey, you should come work at the FBO.’ I thought it sounded like fun,” Hernandez recalls. “In the beginning it was a college job, but then over 12 years there I kept getting promoted. I really loved the fast-paced energy of it all, constantly being on the go, being outside, being on the move. It was a unique job I’d never really considered until I got into it, but I ended up being the line operations manager there before moving over to Mayo Aviation three years ago.” 

Hernandez says he was caught “quite by surprise” when he learned he’d won the Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award: he had no idea he’d been nominated, or that he’d been called “one of the most safety-focused, reliable, and team-oriented individuals to have ever joined our staff” by his boss, who also wrote, “David champions safety in every aspect of his work and responsibility areas, regularly reviewing operations and assessing any potential impact on safety. Our customers routinely compliment David and his team on the exceptional level of service they provide, as do his fellow employees across the breadth of our company. He anticipates the needs of both client and colleague, is mission safety focused, and is a key factor in how we remain a successful industry leader in the Rocky Mountain Region.” 

Hernandez, ever humble, says he prefers to consider it a team award. 

“I’m not great at receiving individual recognition, especially when it comes to something like a Safety 1st award,” Hernandez says. “To me this is really a recognition that our whole team is functioning well together to prioritize safety, and it shows how much our team really cares, so I’m going to regard this as a group award. We were nominated as Colorado’s best charter service this year, so it’s not just me: it’s a whole group of people that want to do the best they can.” 

While he loves working with airplanes, Hernandez says the people are the best part of the job. 

“In addition to loving working with my team, I love working with our clients and I like the customer service aspect of it all: taking care of people, figuring out problems, trying to make everything look seamless,” Hernandez says. “It helps put the Safety 1st aspects of the job into perspective. Yes, we’re working with $5 million, $30 million, $60 million jets, and we’re on the front line moving those planes around and protecting those assets, but even more so it’s about people: keeping our team and our customers safe.” 

He says he considers his line technicians the key to that effort. 

“We’re a charter company, so there’s a lot of different moving parts: we have a maintenance department, we have charter sales, and we have owner services. With line service, we’re the frontline,” Hernandez says. “We’re the first people that everybody sees when they get off the plane and the last ones to make sure their trip has gone well. In some ways we’re the face of the organization, so everybody here strives to be the best that they can.”

* This article was originally posted in the Aviation Business Journal. Read the full article here.