Central MA Up + Comer: Aviation Entrepreneur George Charles Allen
Thursday, August 29, 2013
GoLocalWorcester introduces Central MA Up + Comers, a weekly profile of a member of the next generation as they begin making their mark on the Central MA workforce and community. Join us every Thursday for a look at the careers and lifestyles of the local digital generation.
George Charles Allen, Co-Owner Allen Aviation, Entrepreneur, Philosopher and Pianist
SW: We are introducing some of the younger generation who is starting to or is making their mark on the Central Mass. community. What career have you chosen to move forward in?
GCA: I am an entrepreneur, collaborator and facilitator. A creator and thinker. The most recent manifestation of this creativity is being part-owner of family-owned and operated Allen Aviation LLC (founded in 2010), the holding company of The Worcester Regional Flight Academy, Worcester Aerial Photography and, starting this fall, the AeroVenture Institute. I also sit on a number of boards around the city such as the Central Massachusetts STEM Network Advisory Board, Music Worcester, and the Worcester Airport Advisory Board.
SW: What is the best thing about your job?
GCA: When I'm not viewing the world from my office in the sky at 6,000 feet... Being able to change lives, inspire others, and offer a wider perspective on life and all the options available to youth through perpetual creativity and the forging of meaningful community partnerships. Steve Jobs said it best: "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use." Turning ideas into reality for the benefit of others to grow and learn: that's the best part of what I do everyday.
What we do at The Worcester Regional Flight Academy is unique to Central Massachusetts; it has never been done before and is becoming very successful. We are effectively showcasing the airport as a viable educational center and investing in engaging and fueling the imaginations of the county's youth toward the future of aerospace growth and development. By the way, the next time you see a small plane flying over Worcester, it may very well be one of our 16-year-old students flying solo!
SW: Can you describe a typical day in your life?
GCA: A typical day in the aviation industry is typically untypical. Some days you will find me with sleeves rolled up, covered in aircraft grease. Other days I'll be giving a presentation about the future of aviation and aerospace to classrooms full of students in and around Worcester. Over the summer you will see me coordinating large aerospace programs at the airport for Girls Inc of Worcester and their EUREKA program, or for WPI's Bernard Harris Camp, or conducting Aerospace STEMinars for Worcester Public School teachers among a host of other such programs.
I do a lot of collaboration with local schools, teachers and nonprofits. This year, because of our unique and innovative programming like the aforementioned, The Worcester Regional Flight Academy reached over 300 students and 50 teachers through our various Aerospace STEM-related programs. This year we were especially proud to partner up with the David Clark Company and jetBlue Airways to supplement our programming for our 7th Aerospace Discovery Weekend held August 9th - 11th.
When not in the public eye or teaching, I am usually tending to my duties as the company's CFO, vice president, chief strategist and negotiator.
SW: What is your dream job?
GCA: Precisely the sort of thing I am doing today.
SW: What is your favorite piece of technology?
GCA: My mini iPad. Beyond the shadow of a doubt one of the most useful and versatile tools ever produced. One has access to the entire knowledge of the world literally at the touch of a finger. Beside that, I think the Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser is a tie for first.
SW: What is on your iTunes?
GCA: Lately the complete works of Sergei Rachmaninoff: especially the second and third piano concertos.
SW: What do you do away from your career?
GCA: Think. Read, read, read. Write. Play classical piano. Take long walks to clarify my thoughts or daydream.
SW: Who is the biggest influence in your life.
GCA: Steve Jobs and Charlie Munger (and really anyone else who is self-made, self-motivated, visionary, clear thinking).
SW: What is a fun fact few people know about you?
GCA: That I am a published philosopher and classical pianist, and I can translate from and write in ancient Greek and Latin. Most are surprised to learn that I earned my BA in classics and philosophy at Clark University -- not business and marketing! -- and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. As an entrepreneur and businessman I am entirely self-taught. I suppose I'm a living example for Clark University's Liberal Education and Effective Practice program which they initiated some years after my graduation. The liberal education I worked myself through at Clark enabled me to learn how I learn; to learn how to think clearly and with flexibility; to build a latticework of models, or paradigms, of thought from an array of disciplines; to begin acquiring worldly wisdom. As Charlie Munger admonishes, "to the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." I thrive on creativity, pushing boundaries and seeing the world holistically.
SW: Your favorite expression?
GCA: Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Charlie Munger, once again.
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
GCA: Anytime I answer questions such as this, life never looks like I imagined! I've learned enough to know that, cliche as it sounds, it's the journey and not the destination that matters. I remain open to the myriad unexpected opportunities and (ad)ventures that life has and will continue to present.
With more than 25 years of leadership experience, Susan Wagner has been known for driving events, initiatives, launches, and openings through her company Susan Wagner PR. In this challenging economy, she has begun a new division to offer affordable start-up packages to new and emerging small businesses and non-profit organizations that include professional writing services, websites, collateral, marketing, social media, grassroots outreach and PR campaigns.
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