COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA – The Iowa Western Aviation Program welcomed back alumnus Brad Ahern on Thursday afternoon to speak to current students about his time in the aviation program and the process of creating his own business. Ahern graduated in 2007 from the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program with an Associates of Applied Science Degree. In 2019 he created Ahern Aviation which currently offers aircraft maintenance and provides aircraft fuel for the Brenner Field Airport in Falls City, NE.
“Having one of our very own aviation alum come and speak to our current aviation students is such a rewarding experience. They are the program’s past successors that have paved the way for our current and future students here at Iowa Western,” said Kimberly Wollenhaupt, Director of Career & Transfer Services. “We have so much to learn from them and from their successes and ambitions. It’s truly a great opportunity for us and our students.”
Ahern got his start in the aviation field while he was a student at IWCC in March of 2006 when he was hired by the Peter Kiewit and MidAmerican Energy’s Flight Department at Eppley Airfield in Omaha. It was in this role that he gained valuable experience working with and assisting the mechanics, pilots and management with their flight department. One year later he was hired as an airframe mechanic at the main headquarters of Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, NE. and was in that position for five years.
“Iowa Western helped mold me into what I am today. I grew up with no real experience around aircraft or airports, but my instructors became my aviation mentors. There is a big mechanic shortage in the industry and IWCC plays a huge role in getting new professionals out to the work force,” said Ahern.
After working for six years as an airframe and powerplant mechanic at the Brenner Field Airport, Ahern recognized the need for a higher quality aircraft maintenance service and the idea to create his own business was born. He then passed his written test in 2019 for his FAA certificate to perform annual inspections on aircraft, utilizing his certificate just one month later by signing off on his first annual.
Ahern is also in his third year as the Falls City Airport Manager.
To find out more information about the aviation program at Iowa Western, click here.