The Koukoulis Family is featured in the hangar with Pierpont faculty, staff, and students.


Fairmont, WV – The Pierpont Community and Technical College Foundation has announced the establishment of the Angelo Koukoulis Memorial Scholarship. The $5,000 scholarship was generously gifted by the family of Angelo Koukoulis, a pioneer for aviation in the Mountain State, to support students within Pierpont’s aviation maintenance technology program.

Koukoulis’ extensive journey in aviation began in 1943 following his graduation from high school when he enrolled in General Airmotive Technical School and received his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificate. Shortly after, Koukoulis was inducted into the United States Army Air Corps as a P47 fighter mechanic, where he served until 1945. Following his tenure in the Army, he attended and was employed by West Virginia University to oversee aircraft maintenance operations.

Several years later, Koukoulis was invited by the Harrison County Commission to operate a fixed base operation at Benedum Airport, now known as the North Central West Virginia Airport. His company, AeroMech, Inc., was the first FAA radio repair station in the Mountain State. Koukoulis is also credited for introducing the “buddy concept” in flight training, a practice adopted nationwide. In 1980, he founded West Virginia’s first fully certificated passenger airline, AeroMech Airlines, which served 23 cities in seven states. Koukoulis remained active in the community, serving as a founding member and first treasurer of the Regional Airline Association of America and as Airport Manager of Benedum Airport for 22 years. In 1998, he was the recipient of the prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, and in 2015, Koukoulis was inducted into the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.

Today, Koukoulis’ legacy and vision live on through KCI Enterprises, Inc., also known as KCI Aviation, where his son, Charles “Chuck,” serves as President and CEO.

“I grew up here at this airport,” said Chuck Koukoulis. “This was my playground. My father taught me everything; I was flying airplanes before I could see over the glare shield. Today, we are honoring his legacy and contributing to the welfare of the Pierpont Foundation by providing resources for students coming through the aviation maintenance technology program. We cannot have enough [mechanics], and we are so fortunate to have this program here.”

The scholarship fund will support students within Pierpont’s aviation maintenance technology program who are completing required certification testing through the FAA, a cost that can be cumbersome for many.

“This support really helps to motivate our students,” said Dr. Brad Gilbert, director of Pierpont’s aviation maintenance technology program. “Many are working full- and part-time jobs while completing their studies. Some are also supporting families. They need to be diligent at the end of their studies to pass the FAA certification exams, and generous gifts such as these go a long way to support that. I am so grateful to the Koukoulis Family for their contributions to our program and aviation in West Virginia and beyond.”

Students in Pierpont’s two-year aviation maintenance technology program engage in hands-on learning through classroom and shop time, preparing them for dynamic careers as airframe maintenance mechanics, avionics technicians, and more. One-year certificates are also available in airframe technology and avionics. To learn more about the program, click here.

For more information on the Angelo Koukoulis Memorial Scholarship, email


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