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Doug Kruesi, maintainer, celebrates 30 years at Air Methods

Dec 29, 2017

In 1978, Doug Krueis, Air Methods component technician, started maintaining helicopters in the oil and gas industry and loved the adventure. “You’re in the mountains, you’re off-shore; to me, it was exciting at the time.”

However, after several years, he decided that he preferred the reward – and mission – of working in EMS, and so he went to work for Rocky Mountain Helicopters in 1987 (where he had previously worked a short stint), which is where he stayed until today. (Rocky Mountain Helicopters was acquired by Air Methods in 2002.)

This month, Doug celebrated 30 years with the Company.

“The mission of the hospital programs, and really Roy Morgan, the founder of the company – he really inspired a lot of people, and just his vision of what he wanted to do,” said Doug. “It sucked a lot of people in, and the energy that Air Methods was about – I decided this was a company I wanted to stay with, which I have for the last 30 years.”

Doug worked on the Alouette helicopter when he worked for Rocky, but his experience has expanded over many types of rotor-wing aircraft, and Bell is his favorite.

Early on, Doug traveled quite a bit. With only 16 helicopters, it was vital they all flew every day, so he went to bases to help local mechanics keep the aircraft running. When he was home, he would help design and build the medical interior. He wore a lot of hats, he said, but as the years went on and the Company grew, his role became more focused.

He was a supervisor for the shop, then a field maintenance supervisor, before taking on the role as the overhaul shop supervisor in 2004 before retiring. Yes, Doug retired for three months before getting a call from United Rotorcraft (UR) to come back, and so he did. Doug worked with UR and then back to overhaul, where he currently works part-time.

According to Dale Neubauer, former base mechanic of Air Methods, Doug ranks as one of the finest A&Ps he has ever worked with. “In EMS aviation, the core mission of the maintenance team is to have the aircraft airworthy and available for patient transport,” said Dale. “Doug's tireless efforts over the course of his three decades with Air Methods had a positive and very direct impact on that mission. Without question, his workmanship, skills, and technical support benefited countless individuals in need of emergency care across the entire United States.”

Doug said he has had many mentors over the years, including Clay Stephens, current director of aviation fleet. The two first met in Wyoming in 1983 at a different company and reconnected five years later at Air Methods. “(Doug) is a very accomplished technician mastering many of the disciplines necessary to properly maintain a machine as complex as a helicopter,” said Clay. “He consistently exhibited an admirable work ethic, great attention to detail and sound judgment. Doug is and has been a valuable asset for AMC and is one of the reasons we are the company we are today.”

In addition to Clay Stephens, Doug counts Steve Weinard, previous maintenance director and Rob Zwink, previous chief pilot among those who influenced and guided him. He explained that these individuals were great mentors for him because they are very goal-oriented and focused. “You could get behind them,” he said. “It was the energy of their vision.”

Doug thinks the energy at Air Methods is still there. Regardless of how the Company has evolved and grown over the years, the one thing that hasn’t changed is integrity and high quality. He thinks that as far as the customer is concerned, this has always been our number one focus and priority, which is why Air Methods “always attracts good people.”

He likes the direction the Company is taking since the acquisition by American Securities, to be more of one company rather than several divisions. “That’s how it felt in the beginning, and it’s getting more towards that again,” Doug said.

During his life, Doug has been to six of the seven continents and has climbed several 20,000-foot mountains, and in his semi-retirement, Doug has continued taking on adventures with his wife by hiking, backcountry skiing and travelling. 

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