On July 2, 2012, everything changed for Bandon Cash and his family. In the kind of magical moment many of us dream of, Brandon and his wife, Jessica, made a fateful decision.
“We were on a family beach trip at Gulf Shores. My wife and I were out running on the beach, and as we came back from our run, we decided we wanted to move to this area,” Brandon said.
There were just a few problems.
Brandon’s wife was in the midst of pursuing her Physical Therapist degree, and their four children were well-situated in school in Northeast Alabama, almost 300 miles away, where they lived.
But another event was taking place that day that would seal the deal. Fewer than 40 miles to the West, in the Mobile Convention Center, as 20,000 area residents swayed to the rhythms of “Sweet Home Alabama,” Airbus chief Fabrice Brégier signed paperwork committing the company to a $600 million investment in the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility at Brookley Field.
Brandon picks up the story.
“That evening, we were going out for a seafood dinner, when I happened to walk by the room where my Father was watching the news. There, on television, was the head of Airbus announcing they would build the Final Assembly Line, and manufacture the A320 family of aircraft in Mobile. We knew right then, it was meant to be,” Brandon said.
By this point in life, Brandon was already highly experienced in the manufacture of aerospace components. As an 18-year-old, he had taken the lowest, part-time job on the totem pole at Honeywell, in Calhoun County, Alabama, where his father was a machinist.
“I started off in the toughest job in the building—the scrap department. It was in the elements: blazing hot in the summer, freezing cold in the winter. I just kept telling myself that if I worked hard, people would notice,” he said.
Before the year was out, Brandon had moved up to a full-time position on the production floor, where he would spend the next several years learning from older colleagues. Through a program funded by Honeywell, he graduated Jacksonville State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems.
After setting their five-year goal, Jessica finished her PT degree right on schedule. But by then, December 2015, the pace of new job postings at the new Airbus facility in Mobile had begun to slow. Then, the very kind of job Brandon was looking for was posted: Aircraft Conformity Manager. He interviewed, and was soon offered the job.
“I came down in March and lived by myself for three months, until the kids finished school. Then, on June 6 of 2016, my family joined me,” Brandon said.
As an Aircraft Conformity Manager, he is responsible for ensuring that each aircraft, in the as-built status, matches the target configuration that the customer and regulations dictate. As a member of the X-Plant Team, he represents facilities in Europe who own the various Master Constituent Assemblies (MCAs) that are in the FAL at any given time.
Brandon also finds time to mentor the next generation of aerospace professionals. He recently hosted three seniors at Gulf Shores High School, so they could see what his job entails, and at least one of them has decided to make aerospace manufacturing his career, with the goal of obtaining his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license.
Through it all, Brandon has found the thing he likes best about working at Airbus is the diversity of the workforce.
“Not long ago, I was playing golf, and as I walked up to the tee box, I was thinking to myself that if you had told me two years ago that I would be working at Airbus and playing golf with someone from France, Spain, and Canada, I would have thought you were crazy. The cultural diversity is really fun,” Brandon said. “That and the fact that every day is a new challenge. I don’t see it getting boring.”
And it all started with a morning run on a vacation at the beach.
In his free time, you’re likely to find Brandon hiking or cooking with his family. Or, just maybe, running on the beach.