By Rob Ulses, Vice President of CBP Program Management
PAE's National Aviation Maintenance and Logistics contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection employs hundreds of the best aircraft mechanics at 34 unique sites across the continental United States and Puerto Rico. The company's go-to specialists on sheet metal are two mechanics working more than 1,600 miles apart. The customer often requests Joshua Snow in Tucson, Arizona, and Casey Bell in Bellingham, Washington, to perform critical aviation repairs requiring the most skill.
While all aircraft mechanics must a certification that includes a course in sheet metal work, the keen eye required to become a master of sheet metal is a rare skill. Those who have it can see perfection within the chaos of a damaged aircraft to remove superfluous material and regain aerodynamics. Snow and Bell acquired this expertise through a unique dedication to their work, which they apply to CBP's mission every day. Other mechanics often comment on the mechanics' passion to applying their craft.
Jason Quarles is the Bellingham site manager and Bell's supervisor. He said Bell's expertise not only keeps the customer happy but saves them money.
"Casey completed a task on the Blackhawk in which he cold worked the stabilator attachment fittings to replace some bushing. This saved the customer thousands of dollars," Quarles said. "If it were not for his sheet metal skills, we would have had to replace the complete back end of the Blackhawk, causing the customer to be without their aircraft for and extended amount of time. Casey allowed us to give the customer their aircraft in a three-week timeframe as opposed to two months."
Furthermore, Bell was deployed to Portland, Oregon, during periods of civil unrest to support CBP's peace-keeping mission in 2020.
Snow's recent work is similarly important to the customer's needs. During 2020, he traveled to El Paso, Texas, as one of a few technicians in the program trained to do cold work maintenance, which is sheet metal repair at the ambient temperature. There, he applied his unique skills to address a particularly problematic repair on a UH-60 helicopter. Snow has also repaired a multi-role enforcement aircraft in Louisiana on short notice after contact with a jack stand caused significant sheet metal damage.
"Josh Snow is well-known throughout the program for his sheet metal expertise," said Snow's supervisor, Brenton Burnette. "He is not limited to the H60 [helicopter], as his skill set applies to all airframes. He is always willing to help others who reach out with questions and we are extremely proud to have him as a member of the PAE team."