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Onsite with a Field Service Engineer: Lourens Smith

Onsite with a Field Service Engineer: Lourens Smith

At Honeywell, we have customers and products all over the world. When a customer is in need of technical support, the first line of defense is our team of field service engineers (FSEs). Whether it’s in person, over the phone or through email and text, these well-qualified team members have answers to customers’ challenges and requests – no matter the day or time.

Introducing Lourens Smith who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He represents the Aerospace Technical Support (ATS) team for customers mainly in Africa and across Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

What inspired you to pursue a career in aviation?

As a little boy, I can remember playing in mud on the farm and watching military helicopters and fighter jets fly over our town. I remember playing with a cardboard box and designing the inside to look like the cockpit gauges from a typical aircraft . . . not that I knew what these actually looked like. I would spend the day pretending to be a highly-experienced pilot participating in the most dangerous missions known to mankind. I remember the day my father, a well-known motor mechanic, asked me about my career aspirations. He was expecting his son to follow in his footsteps, but I had my sights set on something bigger. As a military helicopter passed over our house, I looked him in the eye and he knew exactly what was going through my mind. I joined the South African Air Force and qualified on the Super Puma and Alouette MK3 helicopters as an aircraft mechanic in 2000, this was my home for eight years. When I left the service, I worked for an airline and my passion escalated when I was introduced to the business and general aviation world. I worked with Premier 1As, Beechjet 400s, Hawker Siddeley HS125-1/3/700 and many others.

As a Honeywell field service engineer, what do you do day-to-day?

Have you ever purchased a new television and tried to set it up, but it just wouldn’t work - no matter how much you studied the manual? Add in the stress of your family’s desire to watch the big football match scheduled to start in the next couple of minutes. It looks like it’s time to call the company who manufactured the unit for some help. The person on the other side of the phone talks you through the set-up process and answers all your questions. Before you know it, your new TV is working like a dream. The technical support technician is the hero of the day! At Honeywell, FSE team members are like that guardian angel on the other side of the phone. We support customers from all over the globe when they encounter various technical problems, no matter the day or the time. I am part of the Honeywell ATS team. We are goal driven and strive to exceed every customer’s need. Plus, we are available 24/7 via telephone or even e-mail.

Can you share a time you went above and beyond for a customer?

As a Honeywell FSE, there are so many opportunities to impress our customers with world-class service, but I remember this one day when I got a phone call from a local customer. He sounded overwhelmed with panic on the telephone because his engine started behaving strangely just before a scheduled flight. The customer expressed urgency to have his aircraft serviced as soon as possible, I got to work immediately, jumped in my car and drove directly to his hangar. The customer was shocked to see me standing at his reception desk just 45 minutes after his call. I studied the engine trend data with the aid of one of our unique software programs and quickly established the issue. The customer had a Maintenance Service Plan Gold warranty program and after a great team effort, his part shipped out the very same night. The customer asked for an update the following morning and was delighted to hear his replacement part was already en-route. Thanks to the highly trained service center personnel, we watched his aircraft take-off on schedule, with no flight delay. While it was a very long day for me, this is what I am here for and I love to see a satisfied customer.

What is your life mantra?

For me it’s very simple. Dreams without goals will remain dreams. Our children are continuously observing us and building their dreams in their minds, therefore, as a parent and mentor, it’s essential that you lay your footsteps well. Someone will follow you one day and there are no shortcuts to success. A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing grows there. This is what inspires me every day.

Ana-Maria Besleaga
Marketing Communication Specialist
Ana is the EMEAI C&PS marketing communication specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.


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