Gulf Coast Avionics Corporation executive tours SGTC Aviation and Culinary Arts programs

Published 2:44 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – Rick Garcia, President/CEO of Gulf Coast Avionics Corporation in Lakeland, Florida, visited the South Georgia Technical College Americus and Crisp County Center campuses recently.  He toured the college with SGTC President Dr. John Watford and SGTC Business and Industry Directors Paul Farr and Michelle McGowan.  His tour included the Griffin Bell Aerospace Center on the Americus campus as well as the Electronics and Culinary Arts programs on the Americus and Crisp County Center campuses.

Garcia and his wife, Lisa, purchased Daphne Lodge in Crisp County earlier this year.  His love of avionics combined with his and his wife’s new culinary arts business venture sparked his interest in touring and partnering with South Georgia Technical College.

SGTC President Dr. John Watford extended an invitation to Garcia for a personal tour of the aviation maintenance, avionics, electronics, and aircraft structural programs as well as culinary arts.  The two toured the Americus campus program areas and then traveled to Cordele to tour the facility and the culinary arts program on the Crisp County Center.

“I am very impressed with everything that South Georgia Technical College has to offer,” said Garcia.  “My wife and I are passionate about what we do. I employ avionics technicians and my wife will be employing individuals to help manage Daphne Lodge restaurant.  This just seems like it could be a perfect partnership opportunity for us and the South Georgia Tech students.”

Gulf Coast Avionics opened in 1984.  The company successfully provides avionics, installation and repair solutions for both fixed-wing and rotary markets.  The avionics and pilot supply corporation is an authorized and preferred vendor of leading avionics manufacturers including Garmin, Aspen, L-3, Bendix-King and many others.   It is headquartered in a vast 29,000-square-foot-facilty at Lakeland, FL, but has expanded to include Pacific Coast Avionics, which is located near Aurora State Airport in Aurora, OR. The corporation has experienced and skilled technicians to provide avionics installations for customers across the globe.

Garcia’s love of avionics and aviation began at South Miami High School when he became involved with the George T. Baker Aviation School. He spent the first half of each day attending his regular classes at South Miami.  Then he spent the second half of the day at the airport aviation school.  He joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school and served as an avionics tech.  After the military Garcia landed his first civilian job as an avionics installer for Aero Tech.  He later opened his own business but recognized the important role his own high school aviation program played in his life.

That inspired him to found the Central Florida Aerospace Academy in 2007.   It is located on the Sun n’ Fun/Florida Air Museum Campus at Lakeland Linder International Airport.  The school began with 45 students but has grown to more than 350.  He hopes his relationship with South Georgia Technical College will inspire college students as well as high school students to explore the love of aviation related careers.

South Georgia Technical College offers over 200 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate of credit programs of study.  SGTC also provides the “Complete College Experience” with on-campus housing and nationally ranked intercollegiate academics, athletics, and student activities.

The college is currently registering students for an eight-week mini Spring Semester beginning March 14th, 2022. A large number of in-person and on-line core classes are available as well as classes in Auto Collision, Automotive, Motorsports, Commercial Truck Driving, Drafting, Horticulture, Industrial Systems, Electrical Systems, Precision Manufacturing, Criminal Justice, and more.

For more information visit the SGTC website at: or contact the admissions office in Americus at 229-931-2394 or 229-271-4040 in Cordele.