Celebrating African Leaders in Aviation – Philip Mafunga Quality Systems Specialist at Boeing

How did you get into aviation?

I started by attending a trade school in Kenya for 3 years and spent one of the years at Wilson airport on internship as an aircraft technician with East African Air Charters. From there I moved to the United States to pursue a full degree program in Aviation Sciences and aviation Safety.

Family support during your journey

My family were instrumental in getting me started toward my career. They sacrificially raised funds for me to be able to attend aviation school both in Kenya and the United States

How do you find your training

I was part of a pioneer group that joined a new college that had just opened up with an aeronautical engineering degree program. There weren’t many choices available at the time, so it was the only viable option for me.

How did you get to your current role (career wise, past jobs etc)

I went to college at the university of central Missouri in the United States and after graduation I got hired by ST engineering San Antonio Aerospace as a quality engineer. I worked in that role and also explored marketing assignments in order to diversify then I embraced a safety management systems role which is what I am doing at Boeing as well. In the same time period, I also got my pilot’s licence and have been working on that as time goes on.

Any mentors

I networked with ISTAT foundation personnel, and they were very instrumental in providing guidance on how to curve out my career path and ended up helping me find a job.

Life when not flying

When I’m not flying, I’m either playing soccer, tennis or music with my church band.

Advice to someone in training

Ask a lot of questions and study to detail anything you may even feel is insignificant. Even when making a photocopy, learn what the paper is about and what process it serves. Then ask more questions.

Advice to someone thinking of an aviation career

It is a great career path and offers lots of options even to lawyers, Information technology, engineering but ultimately, do something you enjoy doing.

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