Avionics News August 2019 - 42

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Tom Haritos of Kansas State University's Polytechnic Campus

Tell me a bit about
your background,
where you grew up
and what your early
interests were.

n at Kansas State
Tom Haritos bega
February.
mp
echnic Ca us in
University's Polyt

D

r. Tom Haritos is the
associate director of
research and UAS research
program manager at the Applied
Aviation Research Center at Kansas
State University's Polytechnic Campus
in Salina, Kansas. He began his work
in February and is responsible for
expanding research capabilities and
growing the center into unchartered
areas. His research interests are
UAS-focused, including integration
into the national airspace, security
and security-enabled operations,
tracking and detection, cybersecurity,
operations, training and more.
Recently, Avionics News spoke
with Haritos to learn more about his
research work and life away from the
university.
42

avionics news

*

august

2019

With...

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois,
and it was a great experience.
The city is fast-paced and diverse.
This experience has truly shaped
the individual that I am today. I
am an outgoing individual who
enjoys interacting with people.
I can strike up a conversation
with just about anyone and have
no apprehension in doing so.
I often find myself traveling to
larger cities with my children for
that experience and to shape
their understanding of the world
in which we live. I believe this
is exceptionally important in
today's society.
As for my early interests, I
enjoyed playing sports and being
outdoors. In the summer, I would
often find myself tinkering with
my father's tool box and the tools
I would see around me. I had a
keen interest in mechanics, in
tools, and how things worked.
Even from an early age, I can
remember taking screws and
bolts out of lawnmowers and
other power equipment and
trying to piece it back together;
not always with success. Over
time, these traits developed into
an interest related to aviation
maintenance.

What did you do when
you graduated from
high school?

I always had an entrepreneur
spirit. Directly out of high school,
I elected to work for my family's
business. My parents were
immigrants from Greece. They had
no formal education but knew the
meaning of hard work. Working
in the family business taught me
many valuable lessons early in life.
I learned at a young age that hard
work, dedication, persistence and
perseverance were keys to success.
In the process of working in the
family business, I was fortunate to
meet a friend of my father who
was an avionics technician for
United Airlines. This is how I was
introduced to aircraft maintenance.
Shortly thereafter, I applied and
was accepted to Lewis University in
Romeoville, Illinois, to study airframe
and powerplant maintenance.
This was an 18-month program
and upon completion of the A&P
certificate program, I elected to
pursue my Bachelor of Science in
aviation maintenance management.
As I pursued my bachelor's degree,
I had attained employment as
an A&P working out of Chicago
Executive Airport, formerly
Palwaukee Airport. I enjoyed
working as an aircraft maintenance
technician for many years.

But eventually, you
wanted a change...

In 2003, I decided to further my
career in aviation and applied to



Avionics News August 2019

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Avionics News August 2019 - Intro
Avionics News August 2019 - No label
Avionics News August 2019 - Cover2
Avionics News August 2019 - 1
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Avionics News August 2019 - Cover3
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