Cabinet maker, Aeria Luxury Interiors
San Antonio, Texas
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS CRAFT?
I have always been fascinated by the creative process
of taking a piece of lumber and turning it into something
useful. During my formative years, my high school
offered an elective course in woodwork. It provided
me with the basic skills and training to develop and
understand the intricacies of handling many different
kinds of wood. My affection for aircraft work developed
during this time, during which I had the opportunity to
experience working in an aircraft cabinet shop. My high
school period was a turning point as I realised that a
hobby had become my passion, and when you love
what you do it shows in what you produce.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
I’m particularly captivated by the creative design aspect,
from start to finish. When I first started in this industry,
you could view the overall build of a monument in a
hand-sketched drawing. Nowadays, 3D modelling and
highly developed renderings are prevalent, which allow
you to see lifelike versions of what the designer is
envisioning. As advanced as simulated visual technology
is, it is still important to see and feel the exquisite
quality of handcrafted woodwork. This is what fuels
my continued growth and passion in my work.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
Incorporating decorative materials and gold-plated
hardware has its challenges. For VIP aircraft, you need to
be very careful with delicate materials as you finalise the
build of each piece to ensure everything comes together
perfectly. Keeping everything clean and untarnished
while minor adjustments are being done is of the
utmost importance and can be tricky towards the end of
the programme, when everything comes together.
WHAT ARE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY TASKS?
There are new tasks to work on every day, because of
our specialisation in aviation. In VIP completions, each
aircraft is uniquely designed and customised for our
clients. The one thing we do regularly is prepare our
work stations based on the jobs assigned. Outside
of that, we have the opportunity to create something
unique with each programme.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
We work on each production article separately in our
workshop, so when you see the outcome of your work
in its complete and finished form, it is truly one of the
most rewarding feelings you can have as an artisan.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR
PEOPLE STARTING IN THIS CAREER?
Love what you do, take pride in your work and follow
the drawings – always follow the drawings.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU, AND
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
I’ve been in the industry for 50 years, and there has been
a lot of technological advancement. At Aeria, we’ve been
able to utilise 3D printing, which has opened new doors
and certainly helped alleviate some of the more tedious
tasks. At the beginning of my career, I could never have
imagined the level of luxury and intricate designs I would
have a hand in producing, and that my hobby would
carry over into a lifelong career that I am very proud of.
I have been fortunate to dedicate my life’s work to
business aviation through opportunities that came very
early on. I would like to see more schools and companies
collaborate and provide those same opportunities to
the new generation of artisans beginning to develop a
passion for their craft and who, very much like myself,
love the artistry and beauty of creating useful handmade
products from a piece of hardwood.