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Honeywell Forge – Field Engineer Support Spotlight

Honeywell Forge – Field Engineer Support Spotlight

How long have you been at Honeywell? I have been with Honeywell on the Forge Support Team for 3½ years. Before I joined Honeywell, I worked 15 years at a maintenance, repair and overhaul business where I started my career in the paint shop painting airplanes. By the time I left, I had worked my way up the ladder and was a cabin and SATCOM integration engineer. 

Territory: I am based in St. Louis. I handle the Midwest United States, but at the end of the day, my territory is whoever calls me and wherever the customer’s plane is located.

What made you chose a career in aerospace?

Avionics is in my genetics. My dad has spent 40-plus years in the industry. He’s a sheet metal and composite technician for an avionics department. He basically mounts all the boxes I have been installing my whole career. At one point, my dad was my employee and I don’t think there was ever a prouder moment for him.

How has COVID-19 affected the Honeywell Forge team?

COVID-19 has really changed the way we do our jobs. Previously, for an entry into service, we would spend time with the customer to go over the aircraft, make sure the installation was done properly and all the equipment was good to go. Then we would do a brief training session with the customer, pilots and crew so they understood what equipment they had, how it worked and the best ways to maximize the Honeywell Forge services. That was our standard procedure. The customer had little interest in what we were doing as long as their connectivity was in working order by the time we left. But because of COVID, we cannot do that now. Helping customers remotely has elevated the level of complexity in our positions. When you deal with customers remotely, you never know who is on the other end of the phone or how tech-savvy they are. You may have to walk them through some pretty complex things that are out of their comfort zone. It has been a learning process for everyone. 2020 has forced us to be more flexible and learn how to do our jobs in new ways to continue to satisfy our customers.

Memorable customer story:

A customer took delivery of their aircraft the second week of March, very early on in the global pandemic. Before they took possession, I was lucky enough to get on the airplane and make sure everything was in order, but that was the extent of my interaction. With COVID I couldn’t be there to engage with them, so, we ended up selling them a package that didn’t meet their needs. It wasn’t the perfect situation and, unfortunately, they weren’t happy. Once we could safely travel again, a field tech, a local sales rep and I hopped on planes and went to see the customer in person. We got some time with the end user on his aircraft, which is the best-case scenario because we were talking with the person who uses the internet every day. We spent an hour with the customer and really went over everything. He had a lot of concerns and asked genuinely good questions. We took our time and set up the airplane exactly how he requested. We moved him from a Tier 1 package to Tier 4 package, which got him what he wanted and needed. That was almost 2½ months ago and we have not heard a word from him since. Sometimes not hearing from a customer is music to our ears because it means everything is working just the way it should be. We went from having a very unsatisfied customer to someone who is now an advocate for us.

Why do you love your job?

I love being on the Honeywell Forge Support Team because every day is different. You never know who’s on the phone when it rings, how big a deal it is going to be or how much time you’ve got to make a situation right. It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s like going skydiving every day. We are always in crisis mode but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Aviation in the most addicting drug out there. Once you are hooked, even if you walk away for five or 10 years, you will be back. Every time I step onto an aircraft, I’m in awe. The coolness never goes away. In our business, five minutes of losing connectivity on an airplane can cost a customer millions of dollars. We wake up every morning realizing our impact on our customers’ businesses – it’s a real thrill and an enormous responsibility.

Background on the Honeywell Forge support team:

Honeywell has field engineers across the world that support our aircraft in any and all time zones. Our experts are available for customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Honeywell Forge team always puts the customer’s best interest first. Our products and services are designed to complement and enhance our customer’s lifestyle and business practices. Additionally, our field engineers are dedicated to providing customer feedback to the Honeywell research and developmental engineers and business leaders to generate the products and services customers want - and need - to grow, expand and enhance their businesses. 

Mike Andrews
Senior Product Support Engineer

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