Q&A with Ryan Latham, President of Hartzell Aerospace Welding
Hartzell Aerospace Welding provides quality aviation exhaust systems and custom metal fabrication, backed by the expertise of trusted aviation companies, including Aerospace Welding Minneapolis, Inc. Minneapolis, Inc (AWI) and Aerospace Manufacturing, Inc. (AMI). We sat down with Hartzell Aerospace Welding President, Ryan Latham, to learn about his background and vision for the company.
Hartzell: You have an impressive leadership background, especially in aerospace manufacturing. How did you get into the industry?
Ryan Latham: Coming from a military family, I joined the Army right after college and completed ten years of active duty, including deployments to Iraq and Kosovo. When I decided to transition to civilian life, I realized there were many opportunities in manufacturing. I was fortunate to be connected with Pratt & Whitney, where I led a team of jet engine specialists and supervised numerous production processes. From there, I gained even more manufacturing leadership experience with Howmet Aerospace before joining AWI-AMI (now Hartzell Aerospace Welding) as President in 2021. With its smaller, family-like environment, Hartzell Aerospace Welding is a great fit for me.
H: What do you enjoy most about aerospace manufacturing?
RL: I think I gravitated towards manufacturing because I’m naturally a bit competitive. I played college basketball and look at manufacturing like a competitive sport, too. It’s deeply rooted in teamwork and process improvement. I’m constantly thinking about what we need to do to catch up and stay ahead of the competition.
H: Can you share more about Hartzell Aerospace Welding, the company’s areas of expertise, and the customers you serve?
RL: AWI focuses on three key areas in the general aviation market: aircraft engine mount overhaul and repair, exhaust system overhaul and repair, and FAA PMA (part manufacturing authority). We take direct orders from customers on repairs and ship them a quality product back as fast as possible. As the world’s largest overhaul repair center for aircraft engine exhaust systems, our customer base is very broad. We serve around 9,000 customers made up of individual pilots, flight schools, and more.
On the AMI side, we specialize in precision machining and welding, with a focus on bending and welding new accessories and tube assemblies for large aerospace OEMs. AMI also handles metal details for the exhaust and engine mount side of AWI’s business.
Overall, the key strength we bring to the market is our certified welding competency. We currently have over 40 skilled welders, and we’re always looking for great welding talent.
H: What’s your vision for the future of Hartzell Aerospace Welding?
RL: First, it’s about finding smart ways to grow the company by increasing capacity and having the best-trained workforce to meet the high demand within the aerospace and general aviation industry. I see our business growing two and a half times in the next four to six years, which is very exciting. In fact, we’re already expanding with the recent acquisition of Acorn Welding, Canada’s largest aircraft exhaust and engine mounts repair company.
H: As part of the Hartzell Aviation Family of Brands, what does ‘Built on Honor’ mean to you?
RL: What’s really special about Built on Honor is that the Hartzell Aviation leadership team really believes it and lives it, and that frame of mind cascades throughout the entire company. As we’re rebranding ourselves as Hartzell Aerospace Welding, we’re proud to embrace the Built on Honor philosophy that originated with Hartzell Propeller. It’s important to us to show respect to this company that’s over a century old and one of the cornerstones of general aviation.
Learn more about Hartzell Aviation’s Family of Brands at HartzellAviation.com.