Luis Cantu on achieving quality excellence and a proactive safety culture
As a Quality Control Inspector with ST Engineering San Antonio Aerospace (SAA), Luis Cantu has a wealth of experience in upholding safety and quality standards. He received his A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) licence in 1988 and has been with SAA for more than 20 years.
Luis is consistently proactive in ensuring workplace safety, which is rooted in concern for his colleagues’ well-being. On discovering potentially unsafe aviation maintenance equipment, he has successfully followed up on replacing and fixing them, from issuing out-of-service tags to notifying the Facilities department for further action.
His efforts did not go unnoticed by colleagues – Luis was nominated by his Crew Chief for the annual Good Show Award, which recognises employees from ST Engineering’s aerospace business units worldwide for outstanding acts in aviation safety.
Fresh off his runner-up achievement in the Good Show Award 2022, we spoke to Luis to hear his insights on taking initiative for safety and quality excellence.
Congratulations on your win for the Good Show Award 2022! Please share with us what this achievement means for you.
I felt that my co-workers nominated me as they wanted to acknowledge my hard work. They saw that I wasn’t just watching out for them because I had to, but because I care and want everyone to be safe. I’m just trying to do the best job I can. Getting the award gave me a tangible feeling of recognition.
When I learned of the nomination, I was surprised at first but then it filled me with pride. I’ve thanked all the colleagues who nominated me personally; I’d like to add that I am very grateful for their support and recognition.
Could you describe your role and job scope as a QC Inspector?
As an inspector, I’m responsible for ensuring compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved procedures. I review technical/regulatory data such as service bulletins, maintenance manuals and FAA orders, including airworthiness directives. Other key tasks include preliminary and progressive inspections on all incoming parts and materials through documentation reviews and visual inspections.
I also coordinate with multiple teams to ensure that all work is performed and inspected in accordance with purchase orders, repair orders and customers’ instructions. Quality Control is crucial to guarantee safety not only within our crew, the aircraft, or customers, but also the pilots who fly them, and the freight or passengers that use them once they’ve left the facility.
What do you feel is essential for cultivating and maintaining a proactive workplace safety culture?
Safety isn’t just one person’s responsibility, it’s everyone’s responsibility. With everyone expected to manage a multitude of duties, I think communication across all jobs and all levels is key to a positive safety culture.
I think we have a good safety culture here. The best thing about being part of ST Engineering SAA is camaraderie – we have a fantastic group of people working here, and when you work side by side, you get to know one another like family.
You’ve been with SAA for more than 20 years. What words of wisdom would you like to share with budding QC inspectors and safety personnel?
Read. Educate yourself by reading everything you can get your hands on, whether technical or functional, and understand how all aspects are integrated.
Secondly, don’t assume, ask. Find the right person to ask and seek their advice.