Airport Employees Under New Management

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Georgia Pimentel, Environment Editor

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Danbury Airport has been a home to Ted Tsitiridis for 10 years. As an A&P certified aircraft mechanic, Tsitiridis started off as an employee cutting the grass around the airport. After moving the toolbox in and studying aircraft management with lead technician of Curtis Aero, now known as Eagle Air, he worked his way up over the course of nine years to lead technician.

“I liked being there more than at home,” Tsitiridis said when asked about his overall experience in the hangar. “I made good friends with the guys in the flight school offices, too. I was close with everyone.”

Flight Instructor Gus Gettas taught Tsitiridis everything he knows about flying and for the last five years of working together in separate buildings they created a friendship built to last. “He was in a way my boss and teacher, but he was more of a friend than anything”, says Tsitiridis.

Gettas worked in the main office where the former CEO shared the workplace. Early this year the CEO sold Curtiss Aero to new management. His name was asked to be omitted.

“Since he bought the place, the overall work environment shifted for the worst,” Tsitiridis says, and Gettas along with other mechanics working under Tsitiridis agree. The new CEO “constantly showed up at the hangar before I even punched in for work asking when a plane would be done and if the new kid was making him any money. That would be fine if he didn’t say it in front of him,” Tsitiridis explains referring the newest mechanic at Eagle Air.

Many employees have reported the CEO for stating inappropriate comments in the workplace and withholding paychecks.

“It wasn’t just him we had to worry about. His ex-wife, in charge of the financial aspect, tried breaking in to steal our checks. She was just as crazy,” said Tsitiridis.

When asked about the future of Eagle Air and taking steps forward in his aircraft maintenance career, Gettas and Tsitiridis have similar views. Gettas took his flight training skills to Arizona. Tsitiridis walked out of the Danbury hangar along with his fellow mechanics when a fiery argument broke out between them and the CEO.

“I’ve always wanted to work on jets. Cirrus airplanes are always a passion of mine, but I’m ready to expand my knowledge and challenge myself. I couldn’t do that with [the new CEO] micromanaging everyone,” said Tsitiridis.

As far as the future of Eagle Air goes, the building across the airport is planning to take over. The accountant, second flight instructor and the parts guy in the hangar have all quit, some before their contract was up.

Tsitiridis adds to all of this, “You have nothing as a manager if you don’t know how to treat your employees. This is going to be a huge wake up call.”

Apps an Undeniable Tool for Businesses

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Corey William Steen, Business Editor

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With mobile device ownership on the rise in first and third world countries, the mobile app has quickly become an important medium of connection between businesses and their customers. With the number of app downloads projected at 284 million by 2020, it is an undeniable tool to grow and develop a stable customer base.

While only a few years ago an app for your business could run upwards of $100,000, today the ability to create a comprehensive app requires only minimal financing and a basic understand of formatting. Many entrepreneurs are choosing a variety of third party app making programs that make creating and publishing an app relatively “easy”.

Any advance in technology is naturally subject to growing pains, and there are gimmicks associated with the process just like any other service promising to take the work out of getting the end result. Here are three that might be worth a try:

  • Appy Pie – Appy Pie is quite possibly the most developed out of the three with comprehensive design features aimed at the layman. With “Make an app, easy as pie” as its motto, the software offers different payment plans relying on a number of widgets and bandwidth, but fails to offer a basic plan that serves Apple and Android mobile devices. For anyone trying to test out the technology, they either have to pay up or access only half of the potential market.
  • AppMakr – AppMakr advertises as a “DIY Free app maker” but doesn’t really deliver on its promise. With a few centralized formatting templates specifically tailored to certain things, like a restaurant looking to make an app or a personal news app, AppMakr offers the most user friendly interface but with the least amount of personalization. As with Appy Pie, payment is required to publish and in order to publish to both Android and Apple stores a specific and pricier payment plan is needed.
  • ShoutEm – ShoutEm offers an opportunity to jump right into making an app with an example of how it will look on the device on the preference page. A simple design interface allows for easy configuration but the end result is rather cookie-cutter looking. If time is of the essence and financing is an issue, ShoutEm might be the option for a budding business.

“With “Make an app, easy as pie” as its motto, the software [Appy Pie] offers different payment plans relying on a number of widgets and bandwidth, but fails to offer a basic plan that serves Apple and Android mobile devices.”

At the end of the day, there are countless other app making programs that offer unique advantages but require you to publish the app through each respective app store individually. As this can be a daunting task, maybe it’s better to use one of these options instead.

Sikorsky Set to Soar in Connecticut

sikorsky
Sikorsky plans to produce 200 CH-53K “King Stallion” helicopters (example pictured) in Stratford, Conn.
(Photo courtesy of Avia.pro.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Corey William Steen, Business Editor

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In the past few weeks Connecticut has taken steps to stem the flow of business out of its borders and back into the state. Sikorsky and its parent company Lockheed Martin intend to produce almost 200 heavy lift CH-53K “King Stallion” helicopters, and CT believes the already existing Stratford facility is the perfect location.

In order to secure a contract with the aerospace giant lasting until 2032, Connecticut has passed a bill giving Sikorsky $220 Million, in tax credits and grants, in hopes it will entice Sikorsky to provide historically well-paying and reliable jobs to the state. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has championed the deal stating, “It’s an unbelievable transaction that we’ve entered into.”

Connecticut faces competition from other states, however. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas have all placed bids to produce the helicopters. Many of these states have had more success getting big-ticket job creators, with Georgia securing Kia with a $410 million dollar offer.

The plan, widely seen as a positive to a failing economy that saw giants like General Electric leave last year, is not without its drawbacks. The Local 1150 Teamster branch has had to vote and approve a 25% pay reduction for all new employees after July 1, 2017. The overall Sikorsky deal was contingent on the union accepting this reduction and, among other ratifications including plans for an alternative workweek, the Lockheed Martin subsidiary agreed to pay all current employees a $1,500 bonus.

Connecticut hopes that in securing the deal with Sikorsky much of the stress placed on the economy after General Electric left will be, at least temporarily, alleviated. Joe McGee, the vice president of the Business Council of Fairfield County and co-chairman of the state’s Commission on Economic Competitiveness said that to lose Sikorsky now would be devastating.

“It’s a shame to lose GE, but there is nothing that compares to this,” he said.

“You lose the helicopter business, it’s gone.”