Susan T. Friedle Scholarship Announcement: The Future of Aviation Maintenance

We are excited to announce the winner of the prestigious Susan T. Friedle Scholarship. A sky high congratulations to Zachary Minchew, a student at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Zachary is a senior airman in the Illinois Air National Guard, serving as an avionics technician on the KC-135R. Minchew is working on his A&P certificate as well as a bachelor’s degree in aviation technologies with two specializations: avionics and aviation maintenance management. He is currently employed at Code One Aviation at Southern Illinois Airport where he works on the L-39 Albatross training fighter jet. He plans to learn more about engineering, obtain his private pilot license, and start his own business to work on avionics modifications for various airframes.

About the Susan T. Friedle Scholarship

This scholarship is close to our hearts as Susan T. Friedle is the co-founder of CE Avionics. And every year, we are grateful to honor her legacy and her four decades of dedication to this great organization.

The Susan T. Friedle Scholarship is available to high school seniors and current college students who will be attending, or who are currently attending, an accredited school for avionics or aircraft maintenance. The purpose of the scholarship is to support the next generation of aviators and secure the future of aviation maintenance through education. The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) Educational Foundation awards this scholarship, and since the foundation’s inception they have awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships including this one.

Susan Was The Original Heartbeat of CE Avionics

Susan and her husband Loren founded CE Avionics in 1972. Susan handled the money at CE Avionics and taught us that “cash is king.” In addition to managing expenses, she was a trail blazer at sales, wrote up corrective actions better than technicians, and was always in the shop with her head in a manual piecing together solutions and resolutions. 

She was a pilot, and loved it. She earned her IFR and multi-engine ratings, which often had her debriefing pilots and troubleshooting discrepancies.

Susan was known in the aviation maintenance industry for her compassion, intelligence, and ability to work a room and become acquainted with everyone. Although she was small in stature, she was large in presence, and commanded any room she walked into. Relationships with vendors became lifelong, and customers became family. And family was always number one. A testament to that is her two children, Karen McKinnon and Christopher Friedle, who with their lifelong friend and partner Michael Hughes, run the business today.

The success of CE Avionics in the aviation maintenance industry comes down to the people — our leadership, staff, and customers. We believe that we are all part of the service team together. And for that to work, it requires the highest-level of customer service and satisfaction in the industry. And Susan would be proud that we have upheld her commitment to her people, and to you.

To read more about Susan and Loren’s success today, click here.