The AACA scholarship, underwritten by Crowley Maritime Corporation’s petroleum distribution group in Alaska for the second year in a row, was recently awarded to Nome student, Brett Merboth. Merboth is the youngest member in a long line of aviators including his grandparents, Dick and Joyce Galleher, who owned Munz Northern Airlines based in Nome. The airline flew groceries, freight, Alaska residents and state tourists between the surrounding villages with the slogan “Flying the arctic before it’s paved!”
At 14 years old, Merboth decided that he wanted to be an aviation mechanic and has since gained 10 years of experience in the mechanical and metal fabrication skills furthering his skills mainly in auto body shops. He also worked for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities out of Nome for two summers. His department supervisor wrote of him, “Most employees see the financial number they receive from this work schedule; however, Brett was more focused on the job that needed to be done. Brett’s position was crucial to the success of multi-million dollar construction projects. His dedication to detail was a necessity on jobs of this magnitude and with the stringent documentation requirements.”
“There is no place like Alaska,” said Merboth. “I have never had the desire to live in another state. I want to use my A&P (airframe and powerplant mechanic skills) here in the state of Alaska working locally for years and years to come, and of that I’m sure. This state has given me everything that I am now, and I plan to repay that by living and working here for the rest of my life.”
Merboth has been accepted to the UAA Aviation Technology Center in Anchorage. “I will push myself everyday to make sure my appreciation shows, and this money will not go to waste,” he said of winning the scholarship.
“We sincerely thank Crowley for their generosity and commitment to inspiring the youth of Alaska to serve their communities,” says AACA Executive Director, Joy Journeay. “Crowley’s longstanding support of the Alaskan aviation industry has been outstanding. This is the second year that Crowley has underwritten a scholarship to encourage the deserving youth of rural Alaska. We cannot thank Crowley enough!”
The Forrest Jones Memorial Scholarship was established in 1999 to honor Forrest Jones, a dedicated aviation maintenance professional and role model who combined innovative thinking and a common-sense approach to everyday problems. Forrest made a significant contribution to aviation in the State of Alaska, actively supporting aircraft operations for over forty years. His maintenance philosophy of “fixing it right, by the book” was combined with a high degree of professionalism and integrity. The Forrest Jones Memorial Scholarship seeks to perpetuate this attitude and commitment to aviation in Alaska. The scholarship is awarded in early spring at the annual AACA convention.
About Alaska Air Carriers Association
AACA was founded in 1966 to help operators in Southeast Alaska have an organized voice in aviation regarding state legislation and worker’s compensation insurance premiums for high risk businesses. Today, our mission has evolved to provide safety and educational training and support for our members, and to facilitate the distribution of aviation safety and business management support. Our office works daily to advocate for passage of wise federal and state regulations that affect our membership, and challenge those regulations that stifle healthy business or threaten safe operations. We provide a safe conduit between government and our membership. AACA is pleased to provide group health care at affordable rates to our entire membership, even one-plane, one-pilot operations. AACA members also can participate in a workers compensation group program that returns good experience refunds to participants, averaging over 20% per year of premiums paid.
About Crowley in Alaska
For over 60 years, Crowley has reliably served the needs of Alaska by providing marine, petroleum distribution, project management and energy support services. The company employs more than 550 people in 23 offices across the state, working together to safely provide high quality, environmentally sound services. Whether it’s supplying fuel to rural airports or along the highway system; providing project cargo services; tanker escort and assist services; or just reaching out a helping hand, Crowley is committed to protecting the environment and has made investments like the deployment of double-hull fuel barges to western Alaska which exceed regulatory standards to prove it. Overall, Crowley’s petroleum distribution business unit, Crowley, has a state-wide petroleum storage capacity of more than 39 million gallons and a diverse transportation and distribution network serving every region of the state. The company also supports the energy industry on the North Slope with turnkey project management solutions, ocean towing and heavy lift transportation services like those utilized during summer tug-and-barge sealifts. At the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, Crowley’s marine division, known as the “Guardians of Prince William Sound”, provide tanker escort and docking services in Valdez Harbor and Prince William Sound for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS). For more information, please visit www.crowleyalaska.com.