Virginia Beach-based Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM), Centura College, and Tidewater Tech announced today the appointment of Dr. Joel A. English as President, only the second to serve in this capacity over the institution’s 55-year history. English has served as the institutions’ Executive Vice President since 2020, and he has functioned as Vice President of Operations, Regional Director, and Campus Executive Director since 2003. Before his tenure at the institutions, Dr. English was an Assistant Professor of Professional Writing at Old Dominion University. He holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Ball State University and an M.A. and B.A. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Gerald Yagen, the schools’ founder and former President will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Yagen started the company in 1969 as an employment agency and added workforce development training programs throughout the 1970s and 1980s to promote careers in Virginia and throughout the country. Under his presidency, he grew the schools to 1,000 employees and 5,700 students nationwide. Commenting on English’s promotion to President, Mr. Yagen emphasized, “Now is the ideal time to implement a plan for the next generation of leadership. Dr. English has been a dynamic leader within the communities we serve nationwide for the past 20 years. He has built our name and reputation as an important source of certified aircraft mechanics for airlines and aircraft manufacturers worldwide, and he has led our schools in Virginia to produce Welders, Wind Turbine Technicians, Electricians, Medical Assistants, HVAC Technicians, and other professionals for local industry.”
Over the past 8 years, Dr. English has built AIM from 11 to 15 campuses, which is more locations than any other FAA-certified institution, according to the Aviation Maintenance Technician Council. Additionally, the three Centura College campuses and Tidewater Tech in Southeastern Virginia have produced renewable energy programs such as Wind Turbine Technician and Solar Technician, and a range of certified healthcare and skilled trades programs. “There has never been a greater need for a skilled, certified workforce in my lifetime,” Dr. English said, “and it is our schools’ responsibility to be a solution and a resource for employers in the communities we serve.”
Dr. Kenneth Alexander, Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia who also serves as the institutions’ Chancellor, stated, “Dr. English is a champion for the communities he serves and for the students who enter the doors of our institutions. His passion for education and spirit of giving are what compelled me to join the schools in 2021, and I look forward to continuing to serve side by side with him.” Dr. English’s immediate plans for the organization include the ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand opening of AIM’s newest campus in Phoenix, Arizona on February 7th and enhancing the institutions’ occupational programs in renewable energies.