Gone are the conventional days when you had to choose one career path and stick to it forever. When you have skills and ambition, making a career change can be a great decision at any point in life. Once a plastics engineer, Russell Becker now happily works as a Structures Technician at the MHIRJ service center in Bridgeport, West Virginia.

When you think of an apprentice, who do you picture? Russell likes to joke that it certainly isn’t him, although that’s exactly how he started his career at MHIRJ after many years spent working in plastics. When the opportunity to make a worthwhile shift came his way, he took it. Watch his story on how he went from apprentice, to contractor, to full-time team member in just months:

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When life throws us curveballs, the catalyst for change can come out of nowhere. For Russell, it was a conversation with a friend at a football game. After expressing that he had been laid off from his job and looking for new opportunities, his friend asked if he’d ever considered a career in aviation. “I'm like, no. I'm a plastics guy. He goes, well, you know what? Why don't you just give it a shot? We're looking for sheet metal guys. I said, well, I know sheet metal. He goes, well, come on up.” And the rest is history.

After taking the initial tests, Russell scored off the charts and was welcomed to the team. “This was only going to be a pit stop for me, but I don't think I'm ever going to go back to plastics. I like it too much here.” he says.


Now that he’s been part of the team for two years, Russell can speak on how much he values the camaraderie with his colleagues. He’s been well-supported and mentored in his journey, and loves that his days are spent both learning and laughing, expressing that his team keeps his spirits high. “Working with those three, it's a perk because they're hilarious,” he says, and adds: “It's a lot more family oriented than I anticipated to be. I mean, I thought aviation was just a bunch of former military guys, until I got here. But a lot of the guys here are local. They started here as apprentices and work their way up through it.”

While not working, Russell loves spending quality time with his wife, sons, and daughter in and around beautiful Bridgeport.

Get to know more MHIRJ team members and follow their journeys in WINGPSAN. Looking to make your own leap? Check out our current opportunities:

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