Parker’s Sporlan Division’s team in Mauston, Wisconsin, have partnered with a local aviation club to help young people learn the foundations of flight.
With about 100 employees, the Mauston facility is a manufacturing site of the Sporlan Division, producing OEM industrial refrigeration valves. The facility’s Social Responsibility Team chooses a project or organization every year to support each of the team’s three core focus areas: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education; community need; and energy and water conservation.
As Quality Technician and Social Responsibility Team Member Shannyn Dodge explained, the team found a natural fit with their STEM focus in the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. The club promotes aviation education for all ages through public events and service projects. Lorna and Steve Mesner, both longtime Parker team members, are involved with the local EAA Chapter 1365, and have been supporting the chapter’s Fly-In/Drive-In on September 1 at the nearby Mauston New Lisbon-Union Airport for many years.
The Mesners have been instrumental in developing programs to help nurture a passion for aviation among children and teens, so they reached out to their team members at Parker for support in hosting a Kids’ Hangar at the annual event.
“We’ve been helping with the Fly-In for years. And I developed the idea of the Kids’ Hangar to give children something to do at the event that would help spark their interest in aviation. It started as a coloring contest and paper airplane contest, but has grown to include science demonstrations, model airplane builds and a scavenger hunt. The Fly-In is an all-hands-on-deck event for the members of the club, and what we needed to make the Kids’ Hangar a success was volunteers.” Lorna Mesner
The Parker team held a fundraiser lunch at the Mauston facility to purchase model airplane supplies for the Kids’ Hangar, and team members volunteered at the event, where they helped 80 children build and paint intricate model planes and guided them through a scavenger hunt that highlighted a number of aviation-themed science concepts like lift and temperature.
“Our team loved working the Kids’ Hangar. It was great to see the kids’ eyes light up as they turned a pile of little parts into a plane, or to learn about temperature change and how airplane wings work as they made their way through the scavenger hunt.” Shannyn Dodge