A passion for airplanes

Posted on Sep 10, 2014

Rock Valley College offers more than three dozen career programs in a wide variety of areas.  One of the most consistently successful, and continuously growing is the aviation maintenance technology program.  Located in a hangar adjacent to the a runway at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport (and soon to move into a new 48,000 square foot facility at the airport), students get the kind of real-world experience and training that leads to tremendous career opportunities.

Wayne SanchezWayne Sanchez Jr is a 1990 graduate of the RVC aviation maintenance technology program.

“Aviation is something I have always loved.  It has a real romantic feel to it and you really get that feeling from the facilities.  I can’t say enough about the program at Rock Valley College.  The instructors weren’t just teachers, they were friends as well.

Aviation maintenance is something I’ve always been around.  My dad is a technician.  We grew up on a farm in Warrenville and had a grass landing strip.  So planes are something I’ve always been around.

Ultimately what made my decision was that I liked the atmosphere at Rock Valley College.  Even though you were in school taking classes, the facility being right there at the airport, made it feel like you weren’t in school, but you were working at the airport.

I went back a couple of years ago and not much had changed.  I walked in and I still got that feeling.  It brought back all those memories about when I was there (1988-1990).  The classroom has changed–it’s a lot nicer, the loft has increased in space and the workstations are all improved.  It was great being back.

I wouldn’t trade my time in that program at RVC for anything.  I had a bunch of good classmates.  The instructors were excellent.  It was a great experience all around.

Currently, I serve as the technician for the McDonald’s Corporation and Global Aviation Systems.  We have two aircraft.  Both are Bombardier products, an XRS and a Challenger 300.

Their mission is to fly executives for the McDonald’s Corporation from point A to B both domestic and internationally.  We’re very close to the corporate headquarters in Northbrook, so it’s convenient for them when they need to travel.

One of the things I’m proudest of, is that as a result of being in my position I was offered the opportunity to represent the global fleet at the advisory level to interface with Bombardier.  There are 35 of us, globally, who take issues to them.  We meet twice a year in Montreal.  You have to be voted in to one of those spots by the committee.  I’m currently serving my second term.”

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Passing the flame

Rock Valley College faculty are highly-qualified instructors in their disciplines, with approximately 20 percent holding a doctorate in their field. ...