You may not yet have come across Mike Suhara, but you will have almost certainly seen his work. From full rebrands for major airlines to specialist one-off liveries for a regional player, there’s a very good chance Mike’s skills and insight have been put to good use.
But it’s as much about what you don’t see that counts, for Mike is one of a team of Technical Services Consultants for AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings responsible for supporting in-house colleagues and external clients across the commercial, defense and general aviation sectors with any project or question relating to paint:
“We support OEMs, MROs and other sub-tier suppliers with any materials that use our coatings, from structural components through to satcom antennas,” he explains. “We also support our own sales team in managing their customers, everything from help with developing new products and colors, and how those products will perform, through to troubleshooting in the paint shop.”
Although an acknowledged expert in paint, and a qualified decorative painter, Mike started life in the military as an Aviation Structured Mechanic in the United States Navy (USN) completing two tours in South East Asia working across a range of different airplanes from A4s to the EA6Bs:
“You learn a range of skills as a structural mechanic including working with fiberglass and plexiglass, painting and corrosion, and yet throughout my career I always seem to have come back to painting!”
Mike’s early CV does indeed read like a ‘Who’s Who’ in aviation history, including a stint at Evergreen where he ended up in charge of the paint shop: “Our customers included Bob Hoover, who had been Chuck Yeager’s wingman, and we painted his stunt ‘planes known as ‘Hoover’s Maneuvers’.”