Located in Kernersville, North Carolina, Summit’s manufacturing facility lies smack in the middle of the hotbed of the southeast’s growing aerospace community. Aerospace and defense are among the top three industries in North Carolina. Summit’s Kernersville facility is among them - situated near other players like Honda Aircraft Company, Haeco Americas, Lockheed Martin Company and numerous more.
So how does a company like Summit, which opened its doors in 2003, stay relevant to the industry today? Garrett Wishon, Summit’s Kernersville production manager says they accomplish it through diverse capabilities/offerings, quality work and on-time delivery.
“We have added new machinery that provides the ability for us to work on simple to complex projects. We possess the rare capabilities to manufacture parts for legacy aircraft quickly, and through our continuous process improvement we have significantly improved our on-time delivery.”
Summit Mfg. recently added three 700 Micron units that can run much larger parts than their previous machinery. They deliver high horsepower, more space to hold tools and five pallet changers.
“We virtually can maintain lights-out capabilities with these new machines,” added Wishon. “If we are running production projects with more than one part number, we can load the machine and it will run until it runs out of material. It doesn’t need to be manned while it’s running.”
That capability allows the machines to run 24/7 without having to add an additional shift. It works well if people are on tight deadlines. It also allows Summit to bring parts back in-house that they previously had to outsource.
“It’s a limited group of suppliers that have 5 axis machining capabilities and it has considerably enhanced the value we are able to bring to our customers.”
In April 2020, we knew we needed to transition into to the world’s “new normal” in a bigger way than what began as temporary safety precautions. So we created a committee whose focus is just that – making sure that our employees can navigate this new normal safely and confidently while on the job.
Our newly formed safety committee went straight to work, adhering to guidelines and applying them to our facilities. They created rosters and set up evacuation meeting areas in case of a facility emergency. Our first responder team has been trained in CPR/AED and first aid – they’re positioned on all shifts.
Communication improved since the committee was created, too. We now have employee communication through individual cell phones so we can reliably reach everyone. They also created fire and severe weather alert notifications should the facility need to be evacuated.
Safety walks throughout the facilities happen on a regular basis to maintain adherence to those guidelines, and the safety committee isn’t done yet; they’re currently working on emergency lighting and spill protocols.
The world is still changing, and the creation of our safety committee ensures we’ll be able to transition proactively. Because our priority is and always has been the health and wellness of our team!
Around here, we love to get creative and solve problems, and that’s exactly what we did with our SmoothRide Engine Mount System STC, applicable for Cessna 206, 207 and 210 series aircraft (including turbos).
Let’s start at the beginning. SmoothRide is a six-point engine mount that provides a dramatic 70% reduction of engine vibration to the cockpit environment. A few things are happening here: dual mounts provide increased support of the engine’s weight, which helps to prevent engine sag. As a result, there’s less fatigue on the airplane, and this increased stability offers the potential for future savings through improved component life. Talk about a trickle-down effect, huh?
Summit Aviation Manufacturing’s STC/PMA Coordinator Leonard Trogdon says these dual mounts are incredibly beneficial even if your aircraft is past mid-time. “Anytime the engine sag is corrected, you’ll likely notice an improvement. SmoothRide is designed for the TCM IO-520 and TCM IO-550 series (approved for your airplane), which means your new engine should fit nicely! Plus, installation is simple, so this is just an all-around win for Cessna 200 series owners.”
The technical nitty gritty is only part of why our customers love these mounts. There’s also the experience of a smoother ride. You’ll notice the most striking reduction in cabin vibrations in the lower RPM ranges. Our customers say their flights are not only smoother but less tiring and more enjoyable. They stay more alert on long flights, and arrive – get this – more relaxed . The stability provided by SmoothRide makes it possible to fall in love with flying all over again.
We’re working on making our Kernersville facility more accessible to our customers even if you can’t visit us in person. Here’s a sneak peek at our new virtual tour – take a walk around our shop and get a feel for the space where we work tirelessly to bring our customers’ projects to life.
Through the front doors, you’ll find our office space complete with a conference room for in-person meetings. Take a lap around the shop floor, and you’ll see where the manufacturing magic happens by way of our CNC machinery. Stop by the Doosan Lathe Turning Center and know that we operate our milling and turning machines with unbridled passion for our work, and your goals.
While you’re here, peek into the Quality Control Lab, where our team ensures accuracy and adherence to the specs you provide.
We’d love to have you stop by in person to say hello, but if you can’t do that, a virtual visit is just as good!
Glenda Smith feels like home. Humble. Easy conversationalist. Personable. If you’ve ever chatted with the customer service department here at Summit Aviation Manufacturing, you probably know all this for yourself because you likely spoke with her directly. You likely heard her smile.
Glenda has spent more than 35 years making Summit Aviation her home, which is why she’s so comfortable talking to customers about their projects. While she began her career with the company in 1985 in accounts receivable, she’s worn many hats since then. Her versatility and ability to go with the flow landed her experience with accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger, HR, payroll, and today, customer service. A true asset!
“At first, I was a little resistant to the idea of working in customer service – but I knew that I wanted to be the kind of person who adjusts to what she’s given. So I did!” Glenda says.
But if you ask her what her favorite part of the job is, she won’t give you a number, or cite a customer service call. She’ll tell you how much she loves her co-workers. They spend a lot of time together and she just truly enjoys the other people inside her work walls.
Outside those work walls, you’ll either find her outside working in her yard or garden, or with her family. She has two grown children and two grandsons (ages 21 and 15) who keep her very busy with their own activities, including soccer, basketball, and golf.
“Oh I have a great family! These two grandsons of mine are on a new adventure every day (the younger one is learning to drive!) and I can’t imagine life without them.”
Otis Moore is a go-getter and a lot rides on his shoulders in both his work and personal life.
He’s in his seventh year with Summit Aviation working in his hometown of Somerset, Kentucky. With an associate degree in electrical technology, he originally wanted to be a helicopter pilot and mechanic, but an accident cut short those dreams. But he says working for Summit has been the next best thing.
“My first position was a mechanic on the floor,” said Moore. “The final inspector asked me if I would be willing to be an auditor. Over time I continued to work my way up through various areas of inspection until I became the final inspector. I’m a go-to guy and want to be the go-to guy when people need something.”
When asked about what he loves in his position he laughs and says it’s the same thing that he hates. “I love the responsibility that it entails. I’m responsible for making sure that before something goes out the door it has been done right. However, there are those times I hate when I have to send it back to the team to have them correct something. Production and quality. Trying to make them meet in the middle is always challenging. It has to be right going out the door.”
A lot also rides on his shoulders in his personal life. He and his wife Carol founded and run Wildlife Matters Rehabilitation Haven, a 501C3 nonprofit organization that cares for and treats injured or orphaned wildlife with the primary goal of being able to release them back into their native habitat.
“It’s like having a second full-time job,” said Moore. “We have possums, raccoons, foxes, baby deer, snakes, turtles and in the spring lots of babies. We often get 911 dispatches from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and sometimes people just bring us baby animals they have found. We only want to offer human intervention when human intervention caused the issue.”
Their organization was just approved Dec. 22, 2020, and Moore says that in the spring of 2021, they pushed more than 100 animals through their program. Carol and Otis work with a local veterinarian and vaccinate every animal before releasing it back into the wild.
No rest for the weary. But as Otis says, he likes to be the go-to guy.