Techs Rock Candidate Profiles - Aviation, Motorcycle & Marine

Techs Rock Candidate Profiles – Aviation, Motorcycle & Marine

Today's profiles highlight high fliers in their industry.

TechForce Foundation’s Techs Rock Awards is an awards program recognizing both technical students’ and professional technicians’ commitment to the profession. Honorees serve as true role models, inspiring the next generation and fueling the pipeline of future technicians.

Today we present profiles of the Future Technician and Working Technician finalists in the Aviation, Motorcycle and Marine category.

The public is invited to meet the Finalists and vote for the Future Tech and Working Tech Grand Prize Winners now until February 28th at


Zoe Pernites, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Norfolk, VA

Who is Zoe?

Zoe Pernites is an aviation student at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Norfolk, Virginia. Zoe’s instructor nominated her for the Techs Rock Awards.

Before enrolling at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Zoe studied Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). This additional experience has empowered Zoe to excel as a leader and positively influence the classroom, inspiring her classmates to achieve higher levels of understanding.

Why she wants to be a technician:

In Zoe’s own words, she wants to continue inspiring her peers beyond graduation, “I want to [continue] this welcoming and leadership presence in the workplace, to compliment my goal for cultivating safe space. Studying at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance has allowed me to meet fantastic mentors and life-long friends who further developed my sense of belonging in this field.

My time with these role models has made me realize that one of my goals is to become someone just like them, for someone like me. I was admittedly nervous to enter the field as a woman; my peers and instructors showed me that there is enough space for everyone in this field.

I hope to further cultivate this space for my fellow women, because I believe it now to be vital for women to feel welcome in this field.”

Why Zoe was nominated:

Zoe’s nominator says, “Zoe should be recognized as the Techs Rock Award winner for aviation. She is involved in all aspects of the school and is looked on by students and faculty in each class as an ‘Assistant Instructor.’

She has an innate ability to quickly grasp new concepts presented by each instructor, including project safety. These skills have resulted in instructors assigning her as crew lead in shop projects.

Zoe is the epitome of the term ‘Gearhead;’ in her free time she performs maintenance repairs on vehicles and motorcycles.”

Zoe’s accomplishments:

Zoe completed her General Examination in record time for her FAA Mechanic Certification. She is a recipient of the American Airlines Student Scholarship from Women in Aviation International and the Aviation Ambassador Scholarship from the Trades Workforce Foundation.

In recognition of her leadership skills in the classroom, Zoe also received the Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Student Leadership Award.

Making a Positive Impact:

Zoe describes her work to support her classmates, “I push others in my school towards completing early examinations for their Airframe and Powerplant\r\ncertifications, lead multiple teams in the workshop environment, and continue to try to be a presence in the classroom that is open and willing to assist others in their learning.”

In addition to inspiring and tutoring her peers, Zoe is actively involved in her community.

Zoe participated in the National 9th Annual Girls in Aviation event in September 2023, using her knowledge of aviation to help spread awareness of the opportunities that are available for women in the field. She provided participants with literature and contact information on post-secondary education.

She also participates in Women in Aviation International Chapter Admission Drives on campus and plans to attend the annual conference on behalf of the school in 2024.

Additionally, Zoe provided assistance through Community Outreach with the Mutual Aid Foundation in her city.

Joshua Borel, Chennault Aviation Academy, Conroe, TX

Who is Joshua?

Joshua Borel is the Director Of Maintenance for Chennault Aviation Group. He has a lifelong passion for aviation and joined the Air Force in 2011 to turn that passion into a career. He served as a C-5 Isochronal Inspection Crew Chief before separating from the military in 2014 and enrolling at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in 2016.

His favorite thing about being a technician:

In Joshua’s words, “I can honestly say that aviation is where I belong and that anyone willing to become a technician that has the passion love and focus to become certified should.”

He explained an initiative he is particularly excited to participate in: “In April of 2023, we broke ground on a new airport- Chennault Field (25TX) located just outside of Cut and Shoot Texas. Phase I was completed in November 2023, and Phase II is planned to begin soon. Our main goals for this airport are to become a General Aviation Community center and to uphold the legacy Gen. Chennault and the Chennault Foundation left to us. I am extremely proud to be not only an A&P I.A. Technician but also part of a fast-growing company like Chennault Aviation Group.

I look forward to starting our own Part 147 school (Chennault Aviation Maintenance Academy) and passing on my love for aviation to future generations alongside my former instructor and very dear friend.”

Why Joshua was nominated:

An instructor turned colleague nominated Joshua, who first met him when he enrolled at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Houston, Texas, in 2016.

Joshua’s nominator summarizes, “I can confidently recommend & nominate Joshua as he is the example of a modern, safety conscious, aircraft technician.”

Joshua’s accomplishments:

While in the Air Force, Joshua served as a C-5 Isochronal Inspection Crew Chief, earning several accommodations and awards, including two 436 MXS Knuckle Buster Awards.

Later, while a student at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Joshua led a team that won 1st place at national competitions, including the PAMA Olympics, the Metal Bashers Tournament, and the “big show” Aerospace Maintenance Competition. Joshua was also a National Technical Honor Society member before graduating Valedictorian in 2018.

Shortly after graduation, Joshua began working for Chennault Aviation Academy, a Part 61 flight school, where he was able to accomplish his dream and earn a Private Pilots Certificate.

In March 2022, Joshua was promoted to his current position as Director of Maintenance, and very soon after that, he was named Director of Maintenance for Kachina Air, a Part 135 Charter Service as well.

Making a positive impact:

Outside of work, Joshua is also involved in Texas Warbird Thunder remote-controlled airplanes and is the president of Space City RC Club. He is also a member of the Lone Star Flight Museum, Conroe EAA VMC/IMC club, and the Altar guild at St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

In the words of Joshua’s nominator, “I now work with Joshua at our school where he is the Director of Maintenance. He is the first to volunteer to help the student pilots and the technicians become better aviators. He is always hosting cookouts for the students and technicians, constantly going above and beyond for his field of Aviation. He puts in crazy hours to ensure the academy operates smoothly without any safety issues.”

Visit the Techs Rock Awards voting webpage to help select the winners.

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