Maurice Culley’s handiwork can be seen all over Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Culley, a 2014 graduate of the New Community Workforce Development Center’s Building Trades Training Program, works as a mechanic for Aerotek, a contractor for Delta Airlines that provides maintenance and repair services for all of Delta’s equipment. Aerotek also staffs other services, ranging from food to janitorial, at Newark airport.
On a recent Tuesday, Culley carefully applied a coat of white paint to baggage tow tractor. He focused intently, working alone in a garage near gate 43 at Terminal B, with the radio and roar of jet engines filling the background.
Before painting the stocky, two-seat vehicle that pulls baggage carts to and from aircrafts, Culley said he power washed the vehicle to remove grease and used a grinder to smooth the surface before applying the first coat of paint.
Culley also paints container loaders, bag carts and belt loaders, according to his supervisor, Jeff Rude.
“You’ll never run out of work,” Rude said of Culley’s role maintaining the ground support equipment at the airport. “He’s reliable,” Rude, lead mechanic for Delta Airlines at Newark airport, said of Culley, who typically starts his day before 6 a.m.
Last year, Culley landed a job working for a contractor at Kuehne Chemical Company in South Kearny after completing the 540-hour Building Trades course, which covered the basics of carpentry, electricity, plumbing and an internship. After that contract wrapped up, Culley secured a job with Aerotek at the airport.
“You gotta be motivated,” Culley said of searching for a job. In October, Culley visited his Building Trades instructor, William Robinson, Director of Workforce Development Rodney Brutton and his former classmates. “I go to show how thankful I am,” said Culley, 23, of Newark. “They had hope in me.”
“Maurice was always studious, punctual, serious-minded and goal driven,” Brutton said. “He makes us all very proud.”
In the future, Culley said he hopes “to do my own thing” and start a business that helps other job seekers, who are in a similar position as he was in previously, gain skills.
“I never thought I’d be doing stuff for some big company,” Culley said with a smile.