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Teammate Spotlight: Tom Norton, QC Inspector

PEMCO’s teammate spotlight features employees throughout the company. Every month, we’ll introduce you to a teammate that makes PEMCO possible.

Meet Tom Norton…

What’s your role at PEMCO? How long have you worked at PEMCO?
I’m the lead QC inspector and I also do the NDT (non-destructive testing) on second shift. I assign all inspectors’ work, review work on each airplane, manage the manpower, and set the stage for the flow inspection-wise. I do most of the releases on second shift and any of the NDT call outs.

I’ve been here six years and in the aviation industry for almost 30 years.

What did you do before PEMCO? How did you get started in aviation?
I was previously with United Airlines; Ducommun Aerostructures, a repair station for composite parts; and Pacific Gas Turbine, an engine shop.

I originally got an associate’s degree in non-destructive testing from a community college. I didn’t want to have just an associate’s degree, and Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois had an A&P program tied to an NDT degree. I ended up with a bachelor’s degree in NDT and my A&P license.

I’ve always liked everything about airplanes. As a kid I lived by Ohio Airport and would watch the planes take off and land. At that time, you could go right up to the runway just outside the fence, and we could watch planes all day long. I knew from a young age I wanted to work on airplanes. I learned about non-destructive testing in high school and decided that’s what I wanted to do.

I’m all about aircraft safety first of all; secondly appearance. Our main goal here is putting out a safe product. Flying safety is my main interest.

“Tom’s abilities as a lead inspector are infinite. He plays a crucial role in safely and expeditiously assisting production in completion of our customers’ aircraft. He is exceptional in multitasking and able to accomplish numerous tasks while interacting with numerous departments. His interpersonal skills set him apart, allowing him to solve many issues simply by being involved. Any organization would be considered fortunate having him as part of its team.”

– Chris Zielenbach, Manager of Quality Control

Do you remember your first flight?
My first flight was to my brother’s wedding. I have seven kids, but I had my very first newborn with me at the time and my wife and I had never flown before. We made about 30 bottles for a two hour flight. We looked ridiculous.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
X-ray vision. It would sure help me on the aircraft.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I hang out with my family. I have seven kids total, four in the house. Two are home schooled, so I do that in the morning. On my days off, we like to go theme park hopping.

What does Lean mean to you?
I’ve been in a few RIEs (rapid improvement events); mostly those focused around QC. I can see we’ve made great strides in the six years I’ve been here. Since Lean’s come in, we’ve actually made a lot of progress which has provided more organization. It’s extremely helpful to my everyday job.

What would you tell others interested in working at PEMCO; interested in aviation?
I think that everyone who works on aircraft should get a license. It makes it much easier for everyone that you’re working with. They must have high integrity, be hard working, and be prepared to adjust their lifestyle for busy times and slow times.

PEMCO is a great place to work. If you come here and do your job, you can have a long and meaningful career.

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