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Engineering, management ‘wright’ choice for 445th Airman

Senior Airman Nicholas Wright, 445th Maintenance Squadron metals technologist, uses software and measuring tools to digitally recreate and produce physical products. The software he is using, Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), allows him to create an accurate three dimensional blueprint which can then be crafted by automated manufacturing machines. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Joel McCullough)

Senior Airman Nicholas Wright, 445th Maintenance Squadron metals technologist, uses software and measuring tools to digitally recreate and produce physical products. The software he is using, Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), allows him to create an accurate three dimensional blueprint which can then be crafted by automated manufacturing machines. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Joel McCullough)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

Senior Airman Nicholas Wright, an aircraft metals technologist with the 445th Maintenance Squadron, has made a career and started a business of the knowledge and skills that he learned in the Air Force.

After attending college in Wisconsin, Wright moved back home to Ohio to live closer to his family. He soon met his future wife and started a family.

Wright was an industrial electrician doing maintenance, mostly fixing machines before joining the Air Force. While serving in the Air Force, he had the opportunity to choose between the job he has now or working with sheet metals. After working in his current field, he determined he made the right decision and pursued the job in his civilian career.

In his civilian life, Wright filled several positions, including plant engineer and maintenance manager.

“I work with larger companies that acquire smaller companies, with the goal of bringing the small companies up to their standards,” said Wright.

Wright designs machinery and plant layouts. He also updates old antiquated equipment for companies.

“The other side of my job is the maintenance manager part,” said Wright. “If there is a part that breaks, I might design that part and have it sent out somewhere to be manufactured so that we can replace the piece.”

“I do a lot in my civilian life that I do in the Air Force,” added Wright. “I design parts to be manufactured on Computer Numerical Control (CNC).” The CNC is an automated control of machining tools and 3-D printers by means of a computer. He also does a lot of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) work. He builds and manufactures prototype parts and recreates parts to replace broken ones.

Wright works on large and small machinery. One of the companies Wright currently works for makes hunting and fishing gear. He has also worked with a company that builds parts for firearms.

When asked how his Air Force and civilian job complement each other, Wright explained, “They really do complement each other. I can take something I have learned here and translate it to something I do there. I really like what we do here in the Air Force. In the civilian world I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.”

“I wanted to go to school so I started pursuing engineering because what we do here is really closely related. I started pursuing a degree in engineering and just kind of worked my way up through maintenance into engineering and management,” he said.

It is easy to tell while speaking with Wright that he is very knowledgeable about the craft that he so enjoys. When asked what he plans to do with these skills going forward in the future he replied, “So I actually started a business.” Wright has incorporated his business recently. “I bought a big CNC router and a CNC water jet and I have a plasma jet. I can do everything I need on those two machines. If I can keep getting my name out there and continuing doing this kind of work that would be ideal. My five to ten year plan is to basically work for myself.

Wright explained that he wanted to start his own business to work for himself and have the opportunity to spend more time with his family.

“I have a tendency to hyper focus on a project or job. The Air Force has given me the opportunity to work and buy my own equipment and translate what I do here to my home so I can start working out of my own shop and turn it into a profitable business. That is just ideal.”