Ten years ago, Dowty embarked on creating its global network of field service engineers to complement its permanent MRO facilities – at the time in the UK and Sterling, USA. The aim was to make maintenance repair and overhaul services more accessible to both commercial and defence customers, thereby keeping their fleets on the ground for as little time as possible. A team of Dowty Field Service Representatives (FSR) began visiting customers around the globe performing repair and overhaul on-wing or off-wing and offering customers training, technical guidance and operational support. Today, Dowty has a growing team of over 70 FSRs around the world, in addition to a further workshop in Brisbane, Australia, that services customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
For Kerry Garfield, the best bit about his job is being involved in so many areas of the Dowty business. Kerry leads the Dowty FSR team which he started to build up in 2011. ‘We have an expansive propeller maintenance capability including fully stripping, rebuilding and testing propeller systems,’ explains Kerry. ‘And a huge diversity in our customer base.’
Dowty’s extensive global customer support network sets the company apart from other propeller suppliers. Dowty’s three fully-owned MRO sites – in Gloucester, Sterling and Brisbane – are boosted by the FSR team, some of whom are based on-site at defence or commercial customers and others who are roving as their expertise is directed to where customers need it.
Kerry’s role touches every part of the Dowty business as he manages materials, tools, logistics, shipping and licencing. A true interface between the customer and the Dowty business, Kerry enjoys ‘connecting with the customer, solving any issues they might face and building relationships and trust’.
Pre-Covid, Kerry spent around 25% of his time travelling the globe supporting customers; despite the travel downturn during the pandemic, his team continued to be busy with many military customers around the world. ‘We had to be extremely creative in finding new ways to support our customers with remote solutions and to keep our ‘can do’ attitude’, he commented. ‘But we managed it, including finding a way of keeping the team certified to work; normally an annual in-person re-certification process.’
September marked Kerry’s 40 years with GE businesses. Having started as an apprentice in 1981, Kerry’s career has seen him working across multiple locations and in a variety of roles. Kerry believes strongly in developing and mentoring the next generation, giving younger people a role of responsibility and supporting those that demonstrate aspiration.