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