Anniversary interview with Kaspars Podins – A painters way to the top

It has been a little over five years since Kaspars Podins, Head of Line Maintenance unit, has joined the Magnetic family – yet it already has been quite a flight for him! We sat down with Kaspars to celebrate this ride and to get to know more about this passion for challenges, his best memories being part of Team Magnetic, and how he winds-down after the dynamic workdays!

AV: Kaspars, congratulations with your five years “workiversary”! Let’s start off with you telling us how you ended up working in the aviation industry? 

Kaspars Podins: Thanks! Yes, it has been 5 years and some days – I actually know the exact date when I started working here: it was the 1st of June!

When looking into how I started working in aviation, it is actually an interesting story. In 2010 I was working as a car painter, and my ex-colleague worked in Dublin at the aircraft paint facility. He offered me a chance to join for more than 6 months. I was hesitant at that time, but then around Christmas time made a decision – why not. I sold my car, booked a flight ticket in February, and started off in March 2011. And since day one I’m in the aviation field, I had no regrets at all that I’ve made this decision back then.

AV: Sounds like a great decision indeed. How about your years at Magnetic? In which position did you start your Magnetic journey?

KP: I joined Team Magnetic in 2015 as Aircraft Paintshop Production Manager, then in 2017, I became Operations Manager, and in 2019 I started my role Head of Line Maintenance.

AV: What are your primary responsibilities as Head of Line Maintenance?

KP: My role evolves around Line Maintenance, and I’m the key link or ‘buffer’ between the customer, our internal units and maintenance team including Planning, engineers, documents, etc. A few months ago, I would say that my main job was to solve the line maintenance unit troubles and get this wheel full and rolling straight. However, the recent situation has posed more challenges – but I am positive we’re handling those quite well!

AV: And how would you describe those five years spent here at Magnetic?

KP: For sure, working in Magnetic MRO has not been repetitive or routine working days, and it is daily learning new things. Additionally, for me, such a position is always thinking outside of the box and looking for solutions: never boring, highly satisfying!

AV: Speaking about the recent change in the industry, what are you considering as the main challenges and how’s your team – and company – tackling them?

KP: If you’d have asked this question 4 month ago, I would have named that key challenges were resources, manpower availability and when considering dealing with Line Maintenance in different countries, I’d have named airport bureaucracy, paperwork, agreements as somewhat of a challenge.

Bus as we speak today, the aviation sector starts to restore slowly after COVID-19 period (which was quite an unexpected hit!), and our team is facing a different type of issues and changes in work scope. Currently, we are mainly focusing on aircraft short and long-term parking, aircraft storage tasks and a bit less standard line maintenance to Magnetic MRO valued customers, also working with new customers – lessors. This is somewhat challenging, but also, I see it as a way of my team dealing with the current situation: responding to the changed wishes of clients and still providing the best quality services.

AV: I imagine this time has been hard for many, but it seems like we’re all getting out of this crisis stronger than ever! And in the future will be looking back at this period as a past-challenge.  

KP: I couldn’t agree more! All work and changes today lay a foundation of who we are tomorrow.

AV: Let’s circle back to your experience being part of Magnetic Family – how can you define these years spent being part of it?

KP: Fast phased and challenging. Lots of personal growth and development as a manager and leader. Still, there is part to stream for. It’s only started. Want to add that I’m grateful to our CEO Risto M. for trusting me with various projects and departments that have increased confidence to lead wider and see business from other angles.

AV: Would you say that being part of this family has changed your life?

KP: Yes, it has indeed changed it. I’ve experienced growth in all aspects. I’d say it has been like school in the Part-145 sector. You can’t get this experience in just any school: we have to deal daily with customer inquiries, clarification, quality, and regulations aspects. Following all the regulations and manuals still have to find the middle ground to meet set targets and deliver services in the shortest time possible with precise outcome. Additionally, I would add that my job opportunities so far have allowed me to switch rapidly from different subjects and projects adapt to various situations without having lost head. Precision and timing are important – I’ve learned it by heart that you can’t hold the head in one place too long.

AV: What about your best memories from your time spent here?

KP: I’d say many, but one brightest of them is that I have had a chance to fulfil my personal goal with the Magnetic MRO and open the aircraft Paintshop facility. From drawing until the final facility with aircraft been painted at Magnetic MRO!

AV: That does sound like a great achievement! Also, like something that takes quite some energy to execute. How do you relax after undertaking such tasks? Any hobbies or interests that help you to wind-down after a dynamic day at work?

KP: Yes, I have some – after all, you have to work hard and play hard. My biggest hobbies are gym/cross-fit, kite-surfing, snowboarding, and travelling. Snowboarding during winter also allows visiting different countries and see the world from various locations. This year I’ve visited Georgia and reached so far highest peak on my list. It’s a bit extreme and risk when taking a drop from high slopes, but I enjoyed it big times.

Traveling also allows us to meet new cultures and people, seek differences and learn new experiences – and this is also something I really enjoy.

Also, I discovered my freedom and peace when kite-surfing. This is one of the rare opportunities to switch off the head from everything: all problems, concerns, daily routines, and business. During a session, I have to use all the resources of the human body and completely focus on myself, wind and water, also other obstacles; you focus on flying and jumping, enjoying the freedom of the ride – there’s no space left for anything else. And that’s for sure one of the best ways to “wind-down”.