Keith Davies in front of a brick wall.

Keith Davies retired from the Marine Corps in 1997, where he flew helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. After retirement, he worked in public education as a teacher and administrator. He joined the faculty of Sandhills Community College as the Aviation Program Coordinator at the beginning of July 2019.

“I was a Marine Pilot before going into education with an undergraduate Aeronautical Engineering Degree,” said Davies. “My original intention was to retire from public education after 22 years. I saw that SCC had started an aviation program, and I contacted the college to see if there happened to be an adjunct teaching opportunity. The conversation led to the offer of a position as the full-time Aviation Program Coordinator.”

The Aviation program welcomed its first cohort of 14 students in August of 2018. The coursework includes fundamentals of flight, aerodynamics, aircraft performance, meteorology, navigation, federal regulations, aviation management, instrument and commercial ground training, flight training, and entrepreneurship or business management training.

“What excites me about the program is that it is new,” Keith said. “I can provide vision and help mold how it will develop. I have always liked program building, and it will be a fun challenge to guide the program to maturity.” For opportunities in the aviation profession, he stated, “There is a projected shortage of pilots in the industry, and the opportunity for employment for our graduates is wide open.”

Keith also offers advice to his students. “If you want to be a pilot or enter the aviation field,” he says, “you must have a heartfelt desire to achieve that goal. If you are not sure, you probably will not succeed. If you know that you want to be a pilot or work at an airport, and that is your fervent desire, no one can stop you. Stick with it through the ups and downs.”

When Keith isn’t working, he plays music, enjoys racket sports, and travels in his travel trailer. He’s been married 41 years to Deborah Davies, who teaches as an adjunct instructor in the college’s Culinary Arts program. The couple has three children and eight grandchildren.