Be Human with Heidi McNary: Vice President and General Manager of McCauley Propeller Systems

Heidi McNary isn't just a leader in the aviation industry; she's a passionate advocate for customer satisfaction and innovation. As the vice president and general manager of McCauley Propeller Systems, Heidi brings nearly 20 years of experience and a deep commitment to serving both customers and employees. In this special interview, we get to know Heidi on a more personal level and gain insights into her journey, vision and leadership style.

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What makes the McCauley Propeller team special?

What makes McCauley Propeller Systems special is our unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and innovation, backed by our 85 years of history in the aviation industry. We understand that our customers rely on our propeller systems for efficient aircraft operations, and we take that responsibility seriously.

Our employees have the chance to contribute to our mission of delivering high performance and high-quality propeller systems. By providing a platform for growth and development, we enable our employees to reach their full potential and help us to improve our products. Joining the McCauley team means becoming part of a close-knit community that supports and uplifts one another.

What does a typical workday look like for you? And what do you enjoy doing after work?

A typical workday for me starts with my husband's delicious cooking and listening to podcasts on my way to the office. I like to print off my calendar the day before to stay organized. My days are often filled with engaging with customers and connecting with employees. Once a month, I travel to Columbus, Ga., visit the McCauley factory, which is something I truly enjoy as I can do factory walks and engage with our employees one-on-one.

When I'm home, I prioritize spending quality time with my family doing some of our favorite things like walking our dog, Teddy, enjoying dinner together and playing games — Ticket to Ride, Catan and Chronology are our current favorites! I am an avid reader and love doing puzzles. Taking time to spend evenings with family and enjoying quiet moments alone is essential for recharging and maintaining balance in my life.


Do you have a favorite book or podcast?

One of my favorite podcasts is ‘How I Built This’ with Guy Raz. I enjoy hearing about different ideas and how they're brought to life in a variety of industries. It's fascinating to learn about the risks, twists and turns that entrepreneurs face. As for books, I love ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Being an avid reader, I appreciate the way people can change and grow over time, and Austen's storytelling captures that beautifully.


How do you motivate others? And what motivates you?

I find motivation in change and the opportunity to assess a situation to make it more efficient. Progress is incredibly meaningful to me, and as an engineer I tend to rely on data as proof and evidence of that progress. I find progressing through change exhilarating, which in turn creates passion and excitement for my daily work.

When it comes to motivating others, I believe in involving them in the change process and guiding them through it. I strive to be thoughtful in helping people see the problem and empowering them to come up with solutions that impact our daily work.


What's your life motto?

My life motto is to work hard at whatever you do and give it your all. This principle stems from the way I was raised. I believe in following through and committing to tasks wholeheartedly because if you aren't going to give something your all, then why do it?

Travel is also incredibly important to me. I did not grow up traveling and I have been fortunate enough to visit almost 70 countries. Experiencing different cultures and meeting diverse people has provided me with invaluable learning and perspective.


What do you think are the most important qualities for a leader to embody?

There are several important qualities that a leader should embody. Passion, energy and genuine interest are crucial. A leader must inspire others and make them want to follow their lead – you can build a bridge but people need to make the journey across with you. Curiosity is an undervalued skill that I find is important for leaders. Asking questions and seeking to understand others' perspectives, roles and impact is crucial for effective leadership. Lastly, kindness is critical in building strong relationships and fostering a positive work environment.


What advice would you give to aspiring professionals looking to make a mark in the aviation industry?

Always keep learning and growing. This industry is constantly evolving, and it's crucial to stay updated on the latest advancements and trends. Seek out opportunities for professional development, whether through training programs, industry conferences or networking events. Curiosity will serve you well!

Additionally, don't be afraid to take risks and embrace challenges. The aviation industry offers a wealth of opportunities for those who are passionate, dedicated and willing to go the extra mile.

Heidi McNary's leadership and dedication to excellence has driven McCauley Propeller Systems to new heights. With a customer-centric approach and a commitment to innovation, the company is poised for a successful future in the aviation industry. Aspiring professionals can draw inspiration from Heidi's journey and valuable advice as they navigate their careers in this dynamic field.

To learn more about joining the McCauley Propeller team, explore the latest job openings.

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