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Southeastern aviation instructor receives prestigious FAA award

February 16, 2023

Spears-Taylor AwardMark Schurig from the FAA presents the Charles Taylor Award to Drew Spears as Southeastern president Thomas Newsom offers congratulations.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University aviation adjunct instructor Drew Spears is the recent recipient of the Federal Aviation Administration’s prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.

The award is named in honor of the first aviation mechanic in powered flight, and recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics. Charles Taylor served as the Wright brothers’ mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft.

Recipients must have a minimum of 50 years of aviation maintenance service. Currently, only 62 individuals have received this award in Oklahoma and only 3,296 nationwide have earned the honor.

Drew Spears has devoted his life to aviation.  He served for 20 years on active duty in the United States Air Force. Since then, he has been employed at Tinker AFB (from 2005 to present), AAR Corporation,  Mundo-Tech Inc.,  L-3 Com Vertex,  Dassault Falcon Jet, Ozark Aircraft System, and Pratt-Whitney.

Spears  has held an Airframe & Powerplant mechanic’s license since 1980, keeping hundreds of aircraft airworthy and safe to fly. In his spare time, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management and a master’s degree in Aerospace Administration and Logistics. He has shared his vast knowledge of aviation by serving as an adjunct instructor for Southeastern since 2011, teaching 10 different course offerings.

The Charles Taylor award was formally presented to Spears Tuesday at the Rose State Community College’s Community Learning Center where he teaches the aviation curriculum for Southeastern.  Mark Schurig from the FAA’s Oklahoma City Flight Standards District Office made the presentation, with  Southeastern president Thomas Newsom,  Assistant Vice President Dr. Susan Ronnenberg, Tinker AFB Chief Engineer Greg Hughes, Southeastern faculty, staff, and students, and members of the Spears family also in attendance.