The intersection between customers and technology is a very comfortable spot for Honeywell Field Service Engineer (FSE) David Heilman. He’s a “people person” who thrives on solving problems for corporate operators in the Northeast and has been fascinated with aviation since hanging a photo of a World War I Sopwith Camel in his boyhood bedroom.
“My dad was in the military and worked in aerospace development after getting out of the service,” Heilman remembers. “He inspired my imagination in aviation at a very young age. So when I finished high school I followed by passion and went into this business and I’ve never looked back.”
Heilman has been hanging around turbine-powered aircraft for more than 35 years, starting at AVCO Lycoming where he was an overhaul/test cell tech working on the ALF502/LF507 engine program. He also spent about 12 years on the road, teaching maintenance crews at customer companies in Europe and South America how to work on Honeywell engines.
Since then, he’s worked on just about every propulsion engine and auxiliary power unit Honeywell makes during stops at Honeywell Aerospace headquarters in Phoenix and, eventually, at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. The common denominator in all his positions in product support and program management – creating a unique, positive customer experience.
“Customer relationships are so important in this industry,” he said. “I’ve always tried to develop deep and lasting partnerships, not just with the flight departments themselves, but with the techs who work there. I want them to feel free to reach out to me for any reason – whether it’s to help them understand a service bulletin, answer a pilot’s question, or deal with an aircraft on the ground situation.”
From his base near New York City, Heilman routinely works with the flight departments of major corporations like IBM, AMEX, JP Morgan and PepsiCo, to name a few, and with some of the world’s premier charter companies.
“Many issues can be resolved over the phone,” he said. “But if they can’t, we’re fortunate to have five service centers and four mobile repair teams in this general area that we can call on at a moment’s notice. We don’t hesitate to deploy a mobile team to help a customer in need.”
Of course, there’s nothing to stop Heilman from responding himself if the situation calls for it. For example, when his cell phone rang last July 4th, Heilman jumped in the car and headed out to have a look at a Honeywell engine with a warning light on. He hooked up his computer and downloaded new digital electronic engine control software, which solved the problem in less than an hour. All in a day’s work.