Black History Month Spotlight: Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson

In honor of Black History Month, Bristow is shining the spotlight on the company's diverse workforce that delivers safe, efficient, and reliable services every day. This interview features Aircraft Maintenance Technician Stephen Robinson from our Houma, Louisiana base.

Talk about your role at Bristow and what are you currently working on?

I currently work as an aircraft maintenance technician on Leonardo AW189 aircraft at Bristow's Houma base.

What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?

I am proud that I recently transitioned into my current role of 135 aircraft maintenance technician from my previous role of 145 aircraft maintenance technician. This transition included relocating my family, but I am very happy with this change.

What in your background prepared you for this assignment?

My most recent experience with the AW189 aircraft and recent troubleshooting within the repair station in Lake Charles (Lousiana) helped prepare me for this role. The aircraft underwent major maintenance projects, the ground run and flight portions follow, and I was able to be part of the entire process. This phase is greatly impacted by outside elements such as weather, scheduling, etc. I've been proud to be part of the team that brings the aircraft through this entire process safely and efficiently to ensure flight readiness. Working through this process requires extensive communication and collaboration, and we got the job done every time!

What are the opportunities and challenges that are unique to your area?

One of the biggest challenges in my role is that no two days that are the same. One day, we may be working on an autopilot indication error. The next day, we may face primary flight display failures that require replacing and loading of software. Another aircraft on the same hitch may require an auxiliary power unit (APU) replaced due to operational issues. In the midst of these challenges, we are also conducting routine maintenance, such as inspection of critical flight control items like anti-torque rotor servo actuator safety checks, and main rotor blade lag damper bearing and fluid. All or most of these have sometimes occurred in a single night! Each night, the maintenance team collectively juggles all these tasks, while keeping safety in the forefront.

What was the greatest lesson you learned from a colleague?

If there is a problem is in front of you, then someone has probably solved that problem before, and you can do it again. If you ever encounter a challenge that hasn't yet been solved, keep working until you find a solution because you can help someone in the future.

Stephen Robinson

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History is more than a month for me and my family; it is every day of our entire lives. Black History Month is an opportunity to learn about the rich history that is Black History, which may have been previously overlooked or unheard of. 

What Black role models inspire you and why?

I am truly inspired by several Black role models, for various reasons. I admire Maya Angelou for her poetic artistry and domineering presence. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an inspiration for his compassion, selfless leadership and his unyielding faith. Bob Marley is admirable for his ability to directly impact and influence a diverse group of people while sharing a message of love and peace. Malcom X inspires me with his backbone and role in standing for change. I look to Lesane Parish Crooks for inspiration due to his outspoken nature and charismatic persona.

What significant events in Black history stand out to you personally? Why?

I have a personal connection to ALL significant events of historical record. The reason I have this connection is because again, I don't look at it as ''Black history;" it is MY history. Starting from the 1600s when Africans were brought to America. Through 1780, with the first African American vote, forward to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, then to the 13th amendment of the U.S. constitution. Civil rights act of 1875, shaped the future furthermore leading to the East St. Louis riots of 1917. I share my birth year of 1983 with the year the space shuttle Challenger flight taking the first African American to space. Now even though these events happened before I can even remember, I am grateful to be alive during our current times and witness history being written with my own eyes!

What question should we have asked you?

How would I deal with a situation at work when I feel I may be exposed to a potentially racially biased or targeted situation?

Initially remove myself from the situation out of respect for myself, my family and my employer. If I can talk to the person, I would ask, "Why or how did this situation come up?" and "How do you feel about it?" to understand how that person feels. Following that (if warranted), I would have to document the situation with our Human Resources department, so that they could properly assess the occurrence at hand for everyone's safety.