By Lindsay Emery
Melony Stratton knows the importance of rewarding employees for their continued hard work and how it can be beneficial in the long run, especially for employees manning a hangar open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"A small gesture here and there goes a long, long way I think," Stratton said. "A smoothie or an ICEE on a hot day. People call it bribing, but I call it keeping people happy."
After 10 years with PAE, Stratton has her duties as aircraft maintenance supervisor down to a science. She controls when aircraft go into maintenance, what employees fly and when they fly it, keeps records and performs inspections.
Since numerous aircraft need to be maintained and mission-ready, Stratton knows she has to be proactive in her approach.
"Everyone's got their favorite couch they like to sit on," Stratton said. "Pilots have their favorite bird they want to fly in. So if we don't control what they use, they'll only use the ones they like and they won't use the dirty birds that nobody likes."
It's important to rotate through all the aircraft so that certain planes aren't overflown.
Stratton's tongue-in-cheek motto in the hangar is, "the more you know, the less I do!" She keeps that in mind by treating employees with respect and making it her priority to encourage them to ask questions and work as a team. If she doesn't have an answer, then she collaborates to find out the answer together.
Even though teamwork brings challenges, Stratton said she tries to model acceptance to her fellow employees while focusing on the customer's needs.
Her commitment to employee education and acceptance are some of the reasons she is recognized as a PAE Values Champion for "Champion Diversity and Inclusion". Aircraft Quality Control Inspector Brian Flynn nominated Stratton for her inclusion of all employees in her hangar—from the pilots to mechanics.
"Melony has always been a champion for diversity since the first time we met on-site almost a decade ago," Flynn said. "A specific example of this is the way she interacts with both technicians and pilots, whether male or female, who are new to the site. She makes a conscious effort to professionally greet them and explain daily operations in a manner that will make them feel like they are already part of the team."
As one of the only women in her program serving as a maintenance supervisor, Stratton said she was pleased to hear she is recognized for the work she's been doing over the past decade. She appreciates the recognition from other employees like those at PAE headquarters, who see the diligence in everything that she does.
"I'm speechless. Let's put it that way because you feel like what you're doing isn't enough, but obviously it must be for people to recognize me or talk about me at other sites."