Meet Your Military Technical Sales Team

Dave Schmidt
Military Technical Sales Team Manager Innovate, Create, Partner (ICP) Division Head Working at Av-DEC since 2001

Let's meet Dave.

Professional Experience:

  • US Coast Guard
  • General Aircraft Mechanic
  • Chief Warrant Officer
  • Corrosion Control Program Manager

Av-DEC Experience:

Av-DEC was just getting its start when Dave became the Corrosion Control Program Manager for the U.S. Coast Guard. His mandate to "get corrosion under control" for the USCG's aviation fleet brought him into contact with Jeff Busby, one of Av-DEC's founders. The company's new approach to corrosion quickly won him over and he was impressed by their willingness to create new products to address specific needs. In 2001 when Jeff approached him about becoming Av-DEC's first military salesman, Dave was happy to take the opportunity.

Environmental conditions consistently generate corrosion-related problems all across the aviation industry. Dave's work with Av-DEC has offered him the opportunity to improve corrosion control measures throughout the military. Through the Joint Corrosion Action Group (JCAG), Dave has gained wide-ranging experience with all branches of the military, bringing his expertise to all corners of the armed services.

In addition to heading military sales, Dave is now leading a new internal division, known as ICP (Innovate, Create, and Partner). ICP focuses on expanding Av-DEC's position as a corrosion-control leader. The program's vision is to innovate, create new products for use in the aviation industry and beyond, and to partner with like-minded companies for mutual success. "Having been with Av-DEC since the early years, I believe I can honestly say every product in our catalog since the first antenna gasket has been the result of a problem, a need, or an idea from a customer." Dave works closely with engineers, management, and all the major OEMs, and has found that customer compliments tend to strike a common tone: no one listens better than Av-DEC, a company that clearly considers the resolution of the customer's corrosion issues to be their paramount concern.

Personal:

When he's not busy helping his customers or his coworkers, Dave is a dedicated family man. He has been married to his high-school sweetheart for over 38 years. His daughter is launching a new business in Dubai, which he anticipates will be very successful. He also enjoys tailgating at Alabama football games and helping his son improve his baseball skills. "I love traveling all across this great country," he says, and his family regularly travels in their RV to see it.


Chris Cowley
Military Technical Sales Team U.S. Air Force Working at Av-DEC since 2016

Let's meet Chris.

Professional Experience:

  • Wyoming Air National Guard
  • Chief Master Sergeant

Av-DEC Experience:

Chris Crowley served 30 years with the Wyoming Air National Guard - most of which, was as the bureau's C-130 point of contact for corrosion. This focus on corrosion naturally put him in contact with Av-DEC when they first entered the industry. Intimately familiar with how corrosion can severely affect aircraft availability, Chris viewed the young company as a game changer. The availability of mission-ready aircraft is especially critical for the Air National Guard, as it can impact not only mission capability, but also the annual budget and employee salaries.

The choice to work for Av-DEC after retirement was not a difficult one for Chris. He liked what he had seen from the company during his service, and now describes Av-DEC as a "close-knit company that takes care of their people and their customers." His work at Av-DEC allows Chris to continue solving corrosion problems and improving aircraft availability from a different angle. He continues to work hands-on with customers and engineers to solve corrosion problems and get aircraft back in the air.

"When you take care of aircraft and the people who fly them for most of your life, their safety becomes ingrained in you. I always taught my people, the work must be done and done right while the plane is here in the hangars. You can't pull a plane over to the curb at 30,000 feet." It's this commitment to safety and quality work that continues to give Av-DEC customers confidence in the company.

Personal:

Chris enjoys spending his free time with his family. He's a father to two daughters and grandfather to three young grandsons. Playing with the children is one of his great joys even though they can, at times, become a bit too energetic. When he's after more relaxation, Chris enjoys hands-on activities like custom woodworking and restoring old vehicles. His favorite vehicles are the legendary pre-1960 Willys pickups, wagons, and jeeps.


Rick Freeman
Military Technical Sales Team Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Canadian Department of National Defence Working at Av-DEC since 2012

Let's meet Rick.

Professional Experience:

  • 30 years in the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9)
  • Command Master Chief of a counter-narcotics aviation unit for 7 years

Professional Education:

  • FAA Airframe and Power Plant License
  • BS, Excelsior College

Av-DEC Experience:

Rick Freeman is responsible for business development and technical support at Av-DEC. He views himself as "a tech rep who works with engineers to solve problems." Through his experience, both with Av-DEC and with the military, he recognizes that Av-DEC products break the corrosion cycle that can occur through various water-infiltration vectors.

Like all the Av-DEC Military Technical Sales Team members, Rick has a military aviation background, and is no newcomer to the realm of harsh environmental effects. With 30 years of U.S. Coast Guard experience under his belt, he's seen many of the worst effects that moisture and the elements can have on equipment. He also knows how critical Av-DEC's products can be in that regard. At the first sign of corrosion, Rick wants his customers to think, "I need to call Av-DEC." Not only that, but he is committed to his customers' needs. "The best compliment I can receive from a customer is to be called 'responsive.' Good customer service is when you respond to a customer and work to solve the problem that led them to call you."

Rick's experience and knowledge make him a great liaison for military customers. Availability and maintenance take priority in their operations, making cost a secondary issue. Av-DEC's products offer the value and production demanded by the industry, ensuring aircraft are available whenever they're needed.

Personal:

Rick is married and has three daughters. His oldest daughter is starting her career as a nurse while his second is just beginning her study of nursing in college. The youngest is in high school (and incidentally also interested in nursing). They enjoy boating and riding his Harley motorcycles together. The family also likes to travel in their RV. Thanks to Rick's status as a military retiree, they can make use of military campgrounds while they explore the diverse beauty of the country.


Roger Mills
Military Technical Sales Team U.S. Coast Guard U.S. Army Australian Defence Force Working at Av-DEC since 2008

Let's meet Roger.

Professional Experience:

  • 27 years in the Coast Guard
  • Helicopter Flight Mechanic
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician
  • Aircraft Maintenance Manager
  • Command Master Chief, the highest enlisted rank

Professional Education:

  • FAA Airframe and Power Plant License
  • Alabama Aviation and Technical College diploma
  • Bishop State Community College, Aircraft Maintenance Technology degree

Av-DEC Experience:

Dave Schmidt, head of the Av-DEC Military Technical Sales Team, has been friends with Roger since they were both 19 and made a point of recruiting him in 2007. Dave had introduced him to Av-DEC products that made his previous Coast Guard maintenance work look archaic. His desire to bring that cutting-edge technology to the Coast Guard and others was what won him over. "What attracted me to Av-DEC were the products more than the job. I like Av-DEC because their products work!"

Aviation maintenance is all about keeping aircraft in the air. Mission availability, unit evaluations, and performance have all been integral to Roger's working life, but customer service has also become a matter of personal pride. His customers know if they need something, he will always get it to them quickly to get their aircraft off the ground.

It goes deeper, though. "Our people know how to solve your problems and when our products cannot solve your problem, we will tell you." When Av-DEC does not have a product to solve a customer's problem, engineers are ready to design a solution. Av-DEC engineers bring in staff members, like Roger, with real-world experience to consult, evaluate, and assist them as they design a new solution. His firsthand experience allows Roger to assist engineers and ensure that their designs are both practical and efficient.

Av-DEC products save time, money and lives by ensuring Coast Guard search-and-rescue, Army Special Ops, and other critical aircraft are available and protected. Our international allies have benefited from Av-DEC products as well. Roger supports the Australian Defence Force and new customers including MHI/Japan Aerospace, who are interested in Av-DEC products.

Personal:

Roger has been married to his high school sweetheart, Connie, for 39 years. Together they raised two sons and now have a young granddaughter. Growing up in Florida, Roger always felt a connection to the ocean. Surfing is a lifelong love of his. The family also enjoy cruises as a way to combine their love of the ocean with a passion for travel. Roger's driving philosophy in life is to always do the right thing. "I feel when you do the right thing you will continue to maintain strong connections in your family, in your community and in your work. Av-DEC supports this type of culture."

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