Two Mobile Computer-Aided Design and Drafting College Graduates Are Company Leaders at Star Aviation

In 1997, two students named Don Giles and Gordon Smart graduated from the Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) Program at Remington College – Mobile Campus, then known as Southeast College of Technology.

Office of Star Aviation in Mobile, Alabama

Some 15 years later, Engineering Technical Services Manager Don Giles and Vice President of Operations Gordon Smart help to run Star Aviation, Inc. (http://www.staraviation.com/), a successful aviation engineering, certification, and manufacturing company that specializes in post-delivery modification of commercial aircraft.

Star Aviation has more than 105 employees in two locations, Mobile, Alabama, and Seattle, Washington.


Mobile’s CADD Program Chair Recalls His Former Students
One of Mr. Giles’ and Mr. Smart’s instructors, current Mobile Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) Program Chair Gene (Arnold) Guined, recalls his former students’ motivation and early success:

“I taught Gordon and Don when they were in school, and I remember both of them being excellent students who were ready to get out in the world and do something. I don’t think they knew each other before school, but they became friends while they were students in our then-CAD program.

They both started working for Star Aviation while attending our school, and the company has continued to grow until this day, refurbishing commercial aircraft as a key member of Mobile’s industrial community.”

Our Alumni’s Career Paths and Roles at Star Aviation
Mr. Giles’ career in aviation began in 1997, when he served as a Technical Designer on Boeing electrical engineering contracts for a local aviation engineering firm. On joining Star Aviation, Mr. Giles worked as a contractor for Star onsite at Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility for six months.

Upon returning to Star Aviation’s Mobile facility, Mr. Giles was hired as a direct employee and held positions as the Lead for multiple Boeing offload groups. Mr. Giles moved to Seattle, Washington, in 2003, to open and manage a satellite office for Star Aviation’s Boeing offload work. He returned to Mobile again in 2004 to become the Engineering Technical Services Manager and has been in this position since that time.

In addition to earning his Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) degree from our Mobile Campus, Mr. Giles earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from our Campus in 1999.

Mr. Smart’s aviation career also began in 1997, when he served as a Program Manager/CAD Manager on Boeing electrical engineering contracts for a local aviation engineering firm. Prior to joining Star’s executive management team, Mr. Smart held positions as Operations Manager and Technical Services Manager.

While maintaining his current position with Star Aviation, Mr. Smart is also Managing Partner and Executive Vice President of Operations for the recently formed AeroStar, Inc., a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 repair facility specializing in hydraulic and pneumatic component repairs for commercial airlines, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) facilities.

Beyond his current duties for both companies, Mr. Smart focuses on new business development and diversifying Star’s core market base. He is also an officer on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Aerospace Industry Association (AAIA) and is a member of the Mobile Air Service Task Force and Work Force Development Team.

Helping Our Mobile Campus Stay in Touch with Industry Needs
Still in touch with our Mobile Campus, both Mr. Smart and Mr. Giles serve on our CADD Program Advisory Committee as industry experts and regularly contribute their feedback on our program. Their company has hired other Remington College graduates in the past.

Mr. Guined said, “The company motto at Star Aviation is ‘Making Future Innovations Fly Today.’ It’s very rewarding to know that our Mobile college had a role in helping to make that happen, and it’s satisfying to know that both of these ‘Star’ graduates are helping us prepare future graduates as well.”

Filed in: Computer-Aided Design and Drafting, Graphic Design & CADD, Mobile, Recent News

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