Greg Purvis wants to see students connect with the same passion for aviation he has had all of his life.


Greg Purvis wants to see students connect with the same passion for aviation he has had all of his life.



Purvis, 48, is the new director of the Aviation Systems Technology program at the Havelock campus of Craven Community College.



“I wanted to become a teacher, and became a coach, but aviation was a passion of mine that finally came true,” said Purvis, a native of the Piedmont community of Bennett who graduated from High Point University.



Purvis has been an instructor in the program for the last two years and just took over the position vacated when Lee Ashburn left as director this past summer for a new job in Connecticut.



Before coming to Havelock, Purvis had been a corporate pilot, an airframe and power plant mechanic and an instructor for both pilots and airplane mechanics.



He said he has held the jobs that every graduate of the college’s aviation program desires to hold upon graduation from the two-year program.



Purvis said the idea of teaching brought him to Craven Community College.



“That’s why I’m here now,” he said. “I came in as an instructor. The one thing I enjoy is teaching. If I wasn’t teaching here, I would be teaching somewhere in a high school.



“I’m here for that student. I’m trying to make them the best student they can be and give them the best opportunity they can have.”



The aviation program covers many areas, from welding, sheet metal and composites to deep theories on electricity, Purvis said.



“We spend many hours on each of these subjects,” he said. “It’s a two-year program. We meet five days a week, five hours a day. So the student is really rounded in a lot of areas.”



The goal of every student is to become certified through the Federal Aviation Administration in airframes and aircraft power plants, but Purvis said students have the potential to be even more rounded as they head into what can be a crowded workforce.



“This building can offer a lot,” he said. “We have a lot of equipment. Because of that, we have the opportunity to offer other programs. That’s why I am so excited.



“I’m trying to make this program stronger, trying to make sure that the graduate has every opportunity to have a job and a career. I’m focusing on things we already have and looking at other possibilities.”



Purvis said he would be drawing on his experiences in the airline industry in an attempt to connect the college with more industry leaders.



“You want them to have a job but you also want them to have a career and a passion for what they’re doing,” Purvis said of students. “When you see that in a student, it’s a great feeling. That’s what I’m trying to do here.



“I never get tired of saying I have a passion for aviation. I’ll never retire from aviation. I’m a flight instructor. I take people up for free to fly because I enjoy it. It’s nice to have a job that’s also something that you love.”



Purvis said he would like to see the college’s aviation programs strengthen and grow and offer more than the A and P certificate training.



“Why not do more than that?” Purvis said. “We have the equipment. We have the knowledge. So let’s see if we can not only give them what’s in our program, but more than what’s in our program. How can we take the program that we already have and make them even more rounded?”



Purvis would like to add certificates in composites along with non-destructive inspection and non-destructive testing, and maybe even a flight program for potential pilots, but not at the risk of the current program.



“Before I do that, I always want to make things strong where we’re at before we move on,” Purvis said.



Students from the program are already getting hired at Cherry Point’s Fleet Readiness Center East, but Purvis wants the students to know that good aerospace jobs can take them all over the world.



“If you enjoy every bit of what you’re doing then, you enjoy every bit of the road to get to where you’re going,” Purvis said. “Everywhere I’ve been, it’s the people. It’s the passion and the love that you have in common.”