Artisans – part four

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Joseph Martin reveals all about life as a finisher at Bombardier in Montreal, Canada

How did you get into this craft?
When I was a teenager I discovered that I loved working with my hands. At 17, to earn extra money, I would restore just about anything, from cars to furniture. I registered for school to become a police officer, but never finished my training because I had already found what I loved to do – I wanted to work with my hands. I made the right decision; I still love what I do.

As for aerospace, it was just the right fit. I wanted to build amazing things and I was looking for a career that would allow me to do that, so I got a job at an aerospace company. I started as a painter, and I loved it, but there was a restructure at the company and they moved me to another department. I missed painting and working with my hands, so I came to Bombardier and was hired in the wood shop. The rest is history.

What do you love about it?
I love making beautiful things and bringing different materials to life through sanding, varnishing, polishing and painting. I love to see the finished product. If I build a table, it has to be perfect. I know that our customers will be working and dining on that very table for hours on end, so it has to be flawless.

What are the challenges?
I have very high standards for myself and I expect the same of others. I always aim for perfection, so I can be hard on myself.

What are your day-to-day tasks?
I’m comfortable working in any area of the wood shop. I’m extremely lucky because my management team allows me the flexibility to work at various stations. Right now, I’m working in the spray booths, where we varnish the wood, and I’m training new employees. I make it a point to arrive about a half hour before the start of my shift. It gives me time to walk the shop and get a sense of the day’s work, determine where the most volume is so that I can help where I’m needed the most.

What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of my work and of the business jets I help to build – they’re like Ferraris in the sky.

What advice do you have for people starting in this career?
Be patient and open-minded – you can’t learn everything in a year. I’m still learning, and I’ve been fixing things my whole life and working at Bombardier for 10 years now. It’s a demanding job because our customers expect the very best quality.

What has surprised you, and what would you change?
What surprises me is how quickly manufacturing technologies are evolving. There are new tools, techniques and products that come out every day and we have to be able to master them all, so I’m always learning. I actually love that about my work, but you have to be able to adapt.

What would I change? Let Bombardier build all the jets! I’m kidding of course, but I really do believe we build the best interiors and I’ve seen a lot of jets.

This interview was published as part of a larger feature profiling craftspeople in the July 2019 issue of Business Jet Interiors International. Click here to read the full article.

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About Author

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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