ISU Headlines

ISU aircraft maintenance coordinator to retire after 28 years

Posted June 11, 2007

John Bakken, Aircraft Maintenance Technology program coordinator is retiring after 28 years of service at Idaho State University’s College of Technology.

To recognize John for his time of service, a retirement celebration will be held on Thursday, June 21, at 2 p.m. at the Aircraft Maintenance program, 1455 Flightline, Pocatello Airport.

Bakken, originally from Harlowton, Montana, began his aviation career in 1963 after attending the School of Aeronautics and Related Trades in Helena, Montana. He received an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics Certificate and moved to Idaho Falls, to work for Pete Hill. Over the next 13 years he worked at the Idaho Aviation Center, Reeder Air Service, and Red Barron. In 1977 he moved to Pocatello to work with Northwest Aviation. A couple years later, with encouragement from his friend, Gene Richards, he started teaching in the Aircraft Maintenance Technology program at ISU.

When asked what the highlights to his career have been, John reflects on the work that the team of instructors has accomplished over the years and how the program has become a viable program.

He states, “It takes a team to make something work. Working at ISU has been good for me and I will miss working with the students, faculty and staff, and customers.” He adds, “Seeing the students graduate and successfully obtain employment in Airframe and Powerplant is one of the biggest rewards. The education I received by working with our students probably outweighs the education I provided.”

John was awarded the National Experimental Aircraft Associations, Major Achievement Award in 1992 and in 2002, the College of Technology Outstanding Achievement Award. He is leaving ISU with emeritus status.

Most of John’s life has been spent in aviation not only as a career but hobby as well. He built his own airplane, a Vari Eze made of foam and fiberglass. He has built and repaired many other planes too. He plans to continue to work on planes and spend time with his wife Sandy and their family, most likely flying to see their five children and nine grandchildren. He also plans to continue to support the Aircraft Maintenance program, hunt, and fish.      

To recognize John for his time of service, a retirement celebration will be held on Thursday, June 21, at 2 p.m. at the Aircraft Maintenance program, 1455 Flightline, Pocatello Airport.