The first Gulf South Aviation Maintenance Seminar took place In 1977. It was a gathering of maintenance personnel and vendors to discuss aviation-related issues. The first of which took place in Alexandria, Louisiana. It moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, a few years later and has remained there ever since.
In the early years, Harold Summers began organizing the seminar. At the time, Harold was an employee at Petroleum Helicopters Incorporated (PHI) as part of the maintenance management team. He worked on the seminar, building it and developing contacts in the industry, both fixed and rotor wings.
Harold became the primary contact and builder of the seminar. His efforts grew the seminar to national recognition by bringing a self-proclaimed “bureaucrat from Washington D.C.,” William (Bill) O’Brien, to give talks at the seminar. There were other notables, far too many to list here.
Harold eventually left the Gulf Coast and moved near Washington D. C. to work for Helicopter Association International (HAI). He continued to plan and coordinate the seminar until his death in October 2021.
Harold was the mainstay of the seminar for all those years. He is greatly missed by all who worked with him.
In 1988, Harold asked me to help with the seminar, and a friendship started. I was a young mechanic that had moved to a position as a maintenance instructor at PHI. Little did I know, part of my new job assignment was to help at the seminar.
That was the beginning of 32 years working with Harold at the seminar. As each year passed, our friendship grew, and our commitment to the seminar became a significant part of our lives. It was our way to give back to the aviation industry, which had given us so much.
Now we have lost Harold, and the torch has passed to me. I intend to continue his legacy by organizing the seminar this year. He and I did the seminar for the professionals who attended.
Our goal has always been to help each in their professional development. Provide the tools of knowledge which will help them today and tomorrow.
With your help, we can continue to grow and be better professionals for ourselves and our customers.
It is my goal to continue that effort.
We have established a website, GSAMS.org. Please go there, create an account, and sign up to attend.
The seminar will be at the DoubleTree on Pinhook in Lafayette, Louisiana. The dates are 24-25 March 2022.
I am looking forward to seeing you there.