Christopher Swan

My aviation technology degree gave me the technical language skills needed to have credibility from the shop floor to the engineering office. The right mix of technical and hands on experience has been vital to my success.
Christopher Swan Alumni Profile
Aeronautical Engineering Technology '81
Vice President for Garrett Aviation Services

Chris began his career in aviation as the director of maintenance for Gunlock Trucking in Plymouth, Indiana. In 1982, he joined the United States Air Force and spent the next two years serving his country. After discharge in 1984, Chris and James Bowers (’81 alumnus) opened a fixed-base operation, Sierra Aviation, in Knox, Indiana. Sierra Aviation offered flight instruction, aircraft rental, charters, and aircraft maintenance services.

In 1986, Chris left the fixed-base operation to serve as an instructor in aviation technology at Purdue. The following year, he joined General Electric’s aircraft gas turbines division in technical support. Chris was initially based with Airbus in Toulouse, France as the GE liaison. After two years in France, he moved to Minneapolis to become the GE liaison with Northwest Airlines and then the GE liaison with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He achieved his Six Sigma Black Belt certification in 1998, which launched his next move as head of GE’s technical support for both North and South America. As head of technical support, he developed and implemented a new field reporting system. In 2004, Chris became vice president for Garrett Aviation Services.

As a member of the Aviation Technology Industry Advisory Committee, Chris has played a lead role in shaping the AT curriculum, especially in the area of aeronautical technology. He provides mentoring to AT students and has participated in several class presentations on aviation careers.

Chris resides with his wife, Patty, in Martinez, Georgia.

This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2005.