2-Mar-2021 Source: HAI
Helicopter Association International (HAI) is pleased to announce Jeanette Eaton, vice president of commercial strategy and business development for global commercial and military systems at Sikorsky, is the 2021 recipient of the association’s Excellence in Communications Award. The award, sponsored by Lightspeed Aviation, recognizes an individual for creative distinction in disseminating information about the helicopter industry.
The daughter of a US Army helicopter pilot, Jeanette Eaton grew up around aircraft and often attended air shows with her father. Yet her parents didn’t suggest she pursue an aviation career. Her mother inspired her to attend college while her father emphasized the benefits of a career in engineering.
Aviation had other ideas. The defining moment in Eaton’s career path came shortly after receiving her electrical engineering degree, on the day she interviewed with Sikorsky and toured a CH-53E Super Stallion.
“I was maybe 21, and I was so overwhelmed and impressed with the helicopter,” she recalls. “The engineering, the power, the missions this aircraft could do—it was all so inspiring. I knew right then and there I wanted to work for Sikorsky and work on helicopters.”
Eaton spent the first 17 years of her career at Sikorsky. Participating in the company’s leadership development program, she steadily gained skills, knowledge, and expertise across a variety of positions while earning a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering, an MBA with a focus on manufacturing management, and a master’s in executive management.
As she gained knowledge and experience, her passion continued to evolve. Through Sikorsky’s leadership development program, she discovered she enjoyed sales. She loved working with, getting to know, and sharing the stories of her customers. She was a natural communicator and thrived on sharing her passion.
Her mentor encouraged her to obtain her FAA ratings to increase her credibility and marketability as an aircraft sales representative. Eaton earned her commercial instrument single-engine land certificate and landed a job at Bell Helicopter as a sales manager. Bell helped her add on her commercial helicopter certificate, and that’s when Eaton really hit her stride.
“Some of my most treasured experiences have come from cross-country trips across the United States in helicopters,” she says. “Those experiences are truly the source of my passion, working with customers and flying. We all need to be ambassadors to aviation.”