Flying to the Future, One Line Repairman at a Time – Cam Murphy

Cam Murphy started literally and figuratively, from the bottom and rose to the top. Murphy grew up around the company established by his father, Fred,…

Cam Murphy started literally and figuratively, from the bottom and rose to the top. Murphy grew up around the company established by his father, Fred, and business partner, Everett—originally called Fred & Everett Aircraft Maintenance. After Murphy joined the company and started rebranding it, Murphy shortened it to FEAM. His father was an A&P, which means he was an aircraft maintenance technician who was certified by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Fred & Everett Aircraft Maintenance was founded in 1992 in Los Angeles, CA to provide the greater LA area with a resource to mend aircrafts.

Having grown up in a family involved in aviation, Murphy has held many different positions within FEAM’s organizational departments from janitorial services, to Stockroom clerk, to various management positions and assisting Maintenance techs. Murphy attended Texas Christian University and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Business. Later, Murphy would earn an MBA in Aerospace and Defense, a certification for Lean Maintenance Repair and Overhaul, and a Green Belt from the University of Tennessee’s College of Business and Administration. As Murphy worked his way up in FEAM, he eventually took over as managing director. The company is now the largest line maintenance company in the US. Line maintenance is a general term: Aircraft Line maintenance is defined as activities carried out whilst the aircraft remains in the operating environment and is substantially fit to fly. Since rebranding, Murphy has helped to grow the business by over 300%.

“Change may be said to be enforced top-down, but I believe change happens from the everyday,” says Murphy, 30. “We can’t compete with UPS and large companies with a top out higher pay, but you’ll never be a number here.” Murphy’s highest motivation—and highest reward—is what he and his company can do for its employees. Murphy rebranded FEAM to grow but maintained the atmosphere he grew up with, that his father started. “I want to treat people like people,” Murphy said in an interview. “My job is to support the FEAM Team.” Successful results may be the goal, but keeping FEAM a family is what remains part of Murphy’s, and his company’s, core values. FEAM’s success because of Cam Murphy earned him a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017—a spot coveted by up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

FEAM hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows though. When asked what he would have done differently, Murphy said “You can’t do everything. It’s not gonna all be done tomorrow.” Hard work leads to success—but only through sacrifice. “I would tell myself there’s no such thing as work/life balance. There are work/life choices. You’ll have to sacrifice and keep pushing.” His hard work and sacrifices have paid off however: FEAM is not only the largest line maintenance company in the US, but it has signed contracts with Boeing, Atlas Air, Airbus, DHL, Amazon, and many more. Murphy also says that if he could give advice to any young entrepreneur in aviation mechanics (or any young entrepreneur) it would be to simply “Do it.” Without determination and the willingness for hard work, there will be no eventual pay-out. Success isn’t earned by sitting down and waiting for it to fall in your lap. You must prep for success, prepare for take-off, and fly towards it despite potential turbulence.

By: Piper Loehrke

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