This competition would not be possible without the support of volunteer judges from the aviation industry.  Their aviation experience and expertise ensures fair and unbiased evaluation of all competitors in each event.


Many outstanding volunteers from various Horizon Air work areas have selflessly stepped forward this year to utilize their vast knowledge and experience in evaluating each competitor's performance during this day-long maintenance competition.

Meet the Judges from ...


Anthony Allen -- Horizon Air Mechanic, Spokane

  • I decided aviation was going to be my profession at a young age.  I grew up in Alaska and spent all my summers in a little town called Talkeetna where the main transportation is bush planes to get up to Denali.  I then joined the Airforce and became a KC-135 crew chief and had a blast traveling all over the world.  After my Air Force career I went so Spokane Community College and got my A&P then started at Horizon.

Jeff Diaz -- Hangar Supervisor, Portland

  • Aviation was the obvious choice for me. I grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles watching airplanes landing into LAX from my classroom window.  My father worked as an engineer for Hughes Aircraft and we had many family friends in the aircraft maintenance field.  After I graduated from high school, I enlisted into the US Navy as an Airmen Apprentice on a A-6 Intruder Squadron serving on the “Big John” CV-67.  After my time in the service, I completed my A&P certificate at West Los Angeles Community College and started working for Horizon Air.  I’ve worked at five different maintenance bases and recently I took on the responsibility of Hangar Maintenance Supervisor.  In my 20 years, there’s only been one constant, Horizon Air has been there for me and my family through thick and thin.

Baron Converse -- Director of Maintenance and Engineering

  • I started as a technician for Horizon in 1994. I have also held positions of Lead, Supervisor, Manager of MRO maintenance, Director of Line Maintenance and Director of Planning and MRO Maintenance. Horizon has been an incredible place to spend my career.

Brian Goodwin -- Line Maintenance, Spokane

  • I chose aviation because of some early mentoring by my grandfather who was a retired U.S. Air Force pilot.  He Flew B-17s during WWII and was a P.O.W. after being shot down on his 22nd combat mission.  He stayed in the military and had a great passion for aviation which he passed on to me.  I started at Horizon in 1991 as a ramp agent while I put myself through A&P school at Spokane Community College.  I got an aircraft mechanic position in 1994 and have spent most of the time working Line Maintenance at Spokane.

Nate Goulet -- Avionics Mechanic Horizon Air, Portland

  • I got into aviation after going to the Miramar Air Show which is where they filmed the Top Gun movie.  My parents bought me a deal where I got 2 hour long flight lessons and I was hooked after that.   I went LeTourneau University and graduated with an aviation maintenance degree with an electrical concentration.

Alexander Howitt -- Lead Mechanic Horizon Air, Seattle

  • I've been fascinated with Aviation since I saw the Concorde on T.V when I was a kid.  Then after flying on a 747 as 10 year old I was hooked.  I still feel the same way every night at work on the line at Sea-Tac.  The smell of jet fuel, the controlled chaos, the steady stream of passengers and aircraft lined up ready to deliver them to their destinations.  I don't think many people can say "I love my job".  I'm one of the lucky ones who can.  Graduate of Portland Community College.

Dan Kangas -- Materials Director

  • I received my A&P and started out as a tech at Horizon Air and have 30 years in the industry ... 32 if you count A&P school. I attended  Portland Community College and interestingly enough my first job was performing a wood spar splice on the rudder of a German glider.  This included getting an approval via the Form 337 process with a local Inspection Authorization Holder.  I have worked at Horizon for close to 31 years starting as an A&P Technician on the midnight shift in PDX line maintenance.  I have served in the following capacities at Horizon all in Maintenance and Engineering: Lead Mechanic, Technical Support Supervisor, Maintenance Fleet manager for both Jet fleet and Turbo prop fleet, Manager of Component Repair and Warranty, and currently Materials Director.

Dan Lombardi -- Mechanic Horizon Air

  • I entered the U.S. Air Force in 1976 as a crew chief on B52 D,F,G,&H aircraft at Castle AFB.  Then I worked as heavy maintenance mechanic on C141A aircraft at McGuire AFB.  In 1978 I became flight engineer on C141 A and B  aircraft and have accrued over 11400 flight hours.  I retired from USAF in 1998.  I started at Horizon in 1999 and have worked here ever since in a number of positions.

Ryan Nelson - Lead Mechanic, Paine Field

  • I'm currently a lead mechanic at Paine Field for Horizon Air.  My grandfather use to be a drafter at Boeing which inspired me to get into aviation.

Steve Pazolt -- Sr Manager of Maintenance Operations, Portland

  • I started out my aviation career in 1984 and graduated from North Los Angeles Community College and served in the US Army.  I've been working at Horizon Air for the past 25 years and am currently the Sr Manager of Maintenance Operation in Portland.

Jesse Pfeil -- Line technician, Portland

  • I graduated from the San Joaquin valley college Aviation Maintenance Technology program in 2015.  I worked for Scaled Composites, building composite experimental aircraft and installing fuel and hydraulic systems.  I'm currently employed for Horizon Air working as a line technician at Portland.

Dale Sanderson -- Supervisor of Line Maintenance, Seattle

  • I'm a 25 year Aviation Professional,  experience in both GA and Airline Maintenance working on everything from a Piper Cub to a 747’s.  I have worked as an IA, Radio and Electronics(FCC) tech and all phases of Systems, Structures and Powerplant maintenance, both in a line and hangar environment.  I worked the last 10 years with Horizon Air as a Supervisor of Line Maintenance in Seattle and my greatest accomplishments are my 3 daughters.

Mark Schmidt -- Avionics Technician, Portland

  • As a USMC veteran I worked Huey/Cobra helicopters specializing in avionics.  I started at Horizon Air in 2002 working all aspects of maintenance and currently work Avionics at the Portland Hangar.

Jay Smith -- Maintenance Leader, Seattle, Paine Field, and Redmond

  • I started flying aircraft in high school and then transitioned into aircraft maintenance.  I have worked in aviation for the past 40 years and am a graduate of Spokane Community College. I currently work at Horizon Air as a Maintenance Leader in charge of Seattle, Paine Field, and Redmond.

Claire St. John -- Horizon Hangar Tech, Portland

  • I loved to travel as a kid and have wanted to be an aircraft mechanic since elementary school.  Directly out  of high school I went into the Portland Community College (PCC) AMT program to get certified.  Now I love my career and couldn't imagine doing anything else.  I graduated from PCC with an degree in applied science and work as a Horizon Hangar tech in Portland.

Rosie Rockwell

CEO Infinity Aeronautics


Charles E. Taylor

DOM Wright Bro.'s Flight


George Cayley

CEO of Aviation & Aeronautics

We can do it!
Support W.A.I. Click on Rosie to learn more.

Inventor and Master-Craftsman

If you don't know, you should.

Interested in Judging

Show your support for our Pacific Northwest Aviation Maintenance schools by volunteering! A&P licensed applicants are appreciated.

We can always use volunteers from the aviation industry, local businesses or AMT schools that can judge the competition events throughout the day. If selected, we will also include a short bio and link to your business on our site similar to the above examples.
If you are interested click the link below.