Joshua Cowan

Joshua Cowan

Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Technician

GE Aviation

Lafayette, IN USA

You just need to understand that you’re not always going to jump straight to the top; you’ve got to realize it takes hard work sometimes. It’s possible—you’ve just gotta look around.


By Roadtrip Nation

Joshua Cowan


My road in life took a while to figure out.
After graduating high school, he decided he didn’t want to go to college, so he joined the military instead.
Had a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot, but without going to school, he didn’t qualify—he decided to do the next best thing and become an aviation mechanic to ensure pilots were safe.
Worked in aviation in the Marine Corps for five years—says he didn’t join the military with the intention of making that his career, he wanted special skills that only the military could give him.
When he got out of the military, he had a difficult time finding aviation work in Indiana, so he worked for Eli Lilly and Company manufacturing insulin.
Working at Eli Lilly was a shocking change of pace for him because he was inside all of the time and working terrible hours—says he spent the majority of his break time searching for other jobs.
He heard on the news that GE Aviation was opening a plant in Indiana and, on a whim, he applied and got the job.
Says the hardest part of transitioning out of the military and into civilian life was going from occupying a leadership role to being a “low man on the totem pole”.
For him, the best part of living and working in Indiana, is the “small-town city life” vibe.


High School


Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Technician

I build and overhaul commercial jet engines.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Working with Others

Day to Day

I come in and check my emails. Update the materials board in my team room so other technicians know where they will be working for the day due to material on site and job status. Head out to the shop floor and do my task(s) for the day. There are multiple possibilities but the main three categories are tear down, inspect, and rebuild. We have a materials meeting to go over issues, update on job status, incoming work, parts, etc. Then go to a council meeting on some days.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Figure out a job field that interests you, but keep your options open.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"How are you going to be a pilot if you don't go to school? "

Challenges I Overcame

Career Change