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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

CWU partnership with Vietnam’s aviation industry celebrated

Photo, left to right, Trung Nguyen, mechanical engineer, VietJet Air; Son Nghiem, avionics engineer, Bamboo Airways; Minh Vo, now a Da Nang-based seafood export company owner; Chinh Nguyen, mechanical engineer, Bamboo Airways; Nhut Pham, mechanical engineer, Cathay Pacific; Anh Ha, quality inspector, Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company; Dung (Dino) Ngo, safety and quality expert, Bamboo Airways; Duc Nguyen, technical officer, VietJet Air; and Tuan Vu, technical officer, VietJet Air.The International Air Transport Association lists Vietnam as among the world’s hottest aviation markets in terms of average revenue growth. That country has easily outpaced the revenue growth of the entire Asia-Pacific region over the past decade.

But the growth of the industry dates back twice that long and included a collaboration involving Vietnam Airlines (VNA) and CWU. In Winter Quarter 2008, a group of 30 students, who had received VNA scholarships for their studies, landed in Ellensburg.

Those students, on exchange from America Pacific University (APU) in Ho Chi Minh City, came to CWU specifically to complete their Bachelor of Science degrees in Flight Technology/Airway Science, with a specialization in Aviation Maintenance Management, and a minor in Safety and Health Management

A number of them recently got together in Danang, Vietnam for their first reunion since their 2009 graduation.

“We were just so happy to see each other after a long time, to know that we have gained success in our careers,” said CWU alumnus Dino Ngo, a safety and quality expert for Bamboo Airways, which became Vietnam’s fifth air carrier earlier this year. “We had such a good time talking about all the great memories we have of Central and about the knowledge passed to us from our instructors.”

Those alumni are now employed in areas such as aircraft maintenance and air maintenance planners, aviation safety and quality, and mechanical and avionics technicians. They work throughout the industry, including with VietJet Air, Cathay Pacific, and the VNA group.

The airline industry in Vietnam was already starting to rapidly expand around 2003. As new planes from the Boeing Company were being purchased, it became apparent that more qualified personnel were needed to both fly and maintain them. That’s when Boeing, VNA, APU, and South Seattle Community College reached an initial agreement for higher education training.

CWU entered the picture when VNA officials determined they wanted their future personnel to obtain four-year degrees to complete their training. The CWU Office of International Studies and Programs worked with Continuing Education, the Department of Aviation, and several other university programs to create the curriculum, provide advising, and handle immigration requirements. Roz Moes, CWU international student advisor, worked with the groundbreaking cohort.

“Having been on this job for only three months, the idea of a 30-student cohort coming to Central—along with more than 50 other new [international] students—was a bit overwhelming,” Moes recalled. “Some, but not all, of the VNA students had taken the courses and earned the certificates needed to enter our program. Even so, they all had to follow the timeline stated in the contract.  So, we had to get ‘creative’ with some of their schedules. But were able to get all of them graduated on time and that was a very proud day for me.”

The plan now is to host an annual reunion in recognition of their achievement and camaraderie.

“We are so thankful for the time at Central,” Ngo added. “It not only gave us knowledge for our work and careers, but also helped us mature as people.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487, Robert.Lowery@cwu.edu

Photo: (L. to r.) Trung Nguyen, mechanical engineer, VietJet Air; Son Nghiem, avionics engineer, Bamboo Airways; Minh Vo, now a Da Nang-based seafood export company owner; Chinh Nguyen, mechanical engineer, Bamboo Airways; Nhut Pham, mechanical engineer, Cathay Pacific; Anh Ha, quality inspector, Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company; Dung (Dino) Ngo, safety and quality expert, Bamboo Airways; Duc Nguyen, technical officer, VietJet Air; and Tuan Vu, technical officer, VietJet Air.

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