Building Bell’s Legacy: Father and Son Bring Electric Energy to the Amarillo Assembly Center
The Bell Amarillo Assembly Center employs an iconic father-son duo that has been making its mark since the 1980s. Fermin Watts Sr., lead flight electrician, and his son Fermin Watts Jr., assembler electrician, share roles as electricians for the V-22 and chefs for the Bell Cook Team.
Fermin Watts Sr. began his career at Bell in the 1980s after following in his older brother’s footsteps. He was one of the first electricians to work on the Bell AH-1 Cobra and Bell OH-58 Kiowa and the first electrician to work on the V-22 nacelles. He also worked on the Return to Flight program, in Flight as an electrician, and was eventually promoted to a flight production specialist. “My goal is to retire on May 22, 2022 once I will have worked 22 years on the V-22. And that is when I will rely on my son to keep the Watts name alive and well at the Amarillo Assembly Center.”
Inspired by his father’s career, Fermin Watts Jr. decided to leave his firefighter role and enroll in aerospace manufacturing courses at Amarillo College. Upon completion of the courses, Watts Jr. interviewed for and accepted an electrician position at the Bell Amarillo Assembly Center. The kicker – he never told his father about the courses or getting a job.
“Before I knew it my hiring trainer was walking me and the other new hires into another hangar on-site and this just so happened to be the hangar my dad was working in at the time. I remember my trainer shouting “Fermin! Look it’s your son!” Then my dad came over and said, “Son! What are doing here?” That’s when he… finally… found out I had gone through the courses at Amarillo College and been hired at Bell.”
The father and son duo has been working together for almost 12 years and has shared memories of working on the V-22 and on the Bell Cook Team. Watts Sr. recalled a special memory cooking with his son. “I have enjoyed doing the Bell Cook Team with my son. I remember when I was on the team before my son was even an employee at Bell. There would be times when we had community events going on and would need extra help. I would call him and recruit him to come help us at the cookouts.” The two have continued cooking together and enjoy the time, recipes and effort put into each cookout.
Fermin Jr. is thankful to his dad for the ability to follow in his footsteps and for inspiring him to put in the work for his career as an electrician. “Not all fathers and sons get to share memories quite like that!”
Bell has a rich history of generational employees working together.
Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.
We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air mobility.
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