Mark LaMountain, Whitcraft
Started at the bottom
In Eastford, Mark LaMountain is a business unit manager at Whitcraft, which manufactures parts for the F-35 fighter jet engines, as well as parts enabing the planes to take off and land vertically. As you might imagine, precision is key, along with quality, and the skill level of the people working on the parts.
LaMountain oversees an approximately 50-person team at Whitcraft. He began working in the aerospace industry at the age of 20, having been attracted by the industry’s reputation for job security. He worked his way up, starting on the production floor.
Position: Business unit manager
Company: Whitcraft, Eastford
Salary range for this type of job: About $75,000 for entry level, progressing to $100,000+ with experience.
Gap years: “I’m a bit of a traveler. I took a couple of years off to travel around the country.”
“The more I did it,” he said, “the more I learned to love it. . . . It’s enjoyable work, challenging work.”
LaMountain is particularly fortunate to work for a company investing in its employees, he said.
“The company pays for my college, they’ve put me through a year-long apprenticeship program, they sent me overseas to study. There’s a lot of opportunities to learn,” he said.
But he also enjoys the challenging nature of his job.
“Every day when you go in, there’s a lot of engineering problems to overcome, and we work . . . as a team to overcome these things,” LaMountain said.
The parts have grown more complex over time.
“It’s fun. If you’re into Legos and stuff, which I always loved as a kid, this is kind of like grown-up Legos. You’re trying to put them together and make them work,” he said.
Whitcraft employees take great pride in the fact that they’re doing military work.
“We know what we’re a part of, and we definitely keep that in mind,” LaMountain said. Fighter jets and their pilots “keep us safe, so we need to keep them safe by making good parts. . . . A lot of people [at Whitcraft] are really proud to be a part of the team that makes these engines that go into these aircraft that defend the nation.” ◾