Celebrating the U.S. Air Force’s Birthday

SkyWest is home to more than 3,000 Veterans and active-duty servicemen and woman, including hundreds who served in the U.S. Air Force. As we celebrate the Air Force’s 73rd birthday today, we asked a few of our MSP-based pilots to share how their experiences from the Air Force prepared them for working at SkyWest.

Adam Galloway, CRJ Captain, MSP
Galloway is a Major and is a C-130 pilot. When he is not flying for SkyWest or the Air Force, he enjoys working on his Stinson.

Adam Galloway

Adam Galloway

Galloway joined the Air Force after being inspired by his grandfather’s stories as a bomber pilot in WWII. He meet his wife his wife when they both were deployed.

Galloway started as a maintainer, and says this background makes it easier to draw the entire picture of what’s going on inside the airplane.

Although Galloway spends a lot of time flying, he says the differences in military flying and commercial flying keep him balanced.

“Military flying involves more stick and rudder, while commercial flying is almost completely instrument flying,” said Galloway.

Joining SkyWest in 2013, Galloway said he has enjoyed learning about the inner workings of an airport and all pieces that must be put together for successful commercial flying.

“Flying commercially allows me to meet a lot of new people and visit a lot of places I’ve never seen before,” said Galloway.

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, CRJ Captain, MSP
Nelson was a crew chief on the F-16 from 1994-97, flight engineer on the C-130H3 from 1997-03, and a flight engineer on the E-4B (747-238) from 2003-16.

Nelson always loved being around planes while he was growing up and took every opportunity to learn about them. He acquired his PVT, COM, INST, CFI, CFI-ME in 1992 and joined the Air Force in 1994, with aspirations of becoming a fighter pilot.

“Before I knew it, I was 21 and was too old to be commissioned to go through undergraduate pilot training. I decided to take another road to get onto the flight deck…flight engineer,” said Nelson jokingly.

When it came to transitioning from the military to a civilian career, Nelson says that SkyWest was the only airline he interviewed with because he was knew it was the place for him. Four years later he continues to be extremely grateful to be a “SkyWester.”

Nelson doesn’t feel his status as a Veteran makes him stand out more than any other employee, but he does wear his Air Force tie tack with great pride and dignity. He loves working with crewmembers who are also Veterans and enjoys the comradery and friendly banter between the different branches of service.

“When another one of my crewmembers is a Veteran, the flight is like hosting a family reunion, regardless of which branch of service,” said Nelson. “For the most part, coming from the military to SkyWest was a seamless transition.”

Adam Bixler CRJ First Officer MSP
“I am a third-generation military member,” said Bixler. “I joined the Air Force to do my part in serving and protecting our country.”

Adam Bixler (right) and his brother

Adam Bixler (right) and his brother

Bixler started his career as a Maintainer with the Air Force and noted that having a maintenance background gives him a unique perspective to the larger operations at SkyWest. In addition to flying at SkyWest, he is also a crew chief on the C-130 Hercules.

“There is an old saying, ‘without mechanics, pilots are just people with cool sunglasses,’” laughs Bixler, who then points to the entire team who makes up a successful flight.

“SkyWest is a family,” said Bixler, “They care about their employees. I have seen this proven many times over, and I intend to continue to do my part to ensure this tradition of excellence continues.”

“I have two of the greatest jobs that I can imagine.” stated Bixler, “SkyWest and the Air Force have each given me many opportunities and experiences for which I am eternally grateful.”

Thank you to Captain Galloway, Captain Nelson, and First Officer Bixler, along with all those who have or are presently serving in our military. We appreciate your service and are glad to have you as part of the SkyWest team. And Happy Birthday to the United States Air Force!

 

 

Melissa Montiel Jimenez – A Latina Role Model

SkyWest is known for its exceptional group of diverse people whose common goal is the pursuit of excellence. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize one of our own pilots whose heritage has played a key role in her career as a pilot.

SkyWest ERJ First Officer Melissa Montiel Jimenez was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Her grandmother’s interest in aviation sparked a passion in Montiel.

My grandmother owns a local radio station and hosted a show that featured people who worked in aviation. I was fascinated by her stories.”

Montiel’s grandmother would often take the whole family to nearby San Diego to watch the Blue Angels and other air shows. From an early age, Montiel was inspired by those pilots and knew she could do the same thing.

While Montiel was studying marketing in college, the aviation bug started to pull her towards flying. She joined an introductory aviation class to learn more about operating an airplane. After extensive research, she decided to begin flight training in San Diego.

While studying aviation, Montiel learned that women make up a small percentage of pilots across the industry. “As a Latina female, that was enough motivation for me to know it could be done,” said Montiel.

“My family thought this passion was nothing more than an expensive hobby,” she recalls. Others outside her family doubted her motivation. Some even asked her if the reason she joined flight school was to find a husband. Montiel ignored the skeptics and continued to work toward making her childhood dream a reality.

Montiel began her career flying with a company in Mexico, overcoming many obstacles on her path. She recalls passengers refusing to fly with her because she is a female.

“Even when I think I am not as experienced as other people, I know I can be a role model for myself and others.”

She never looked back and joined the SkyWest team in 2017.

When asked about her decision to come to SkyWest, Montiel stated, “I wanted to make sure I was joining the best airline; one that would give me the possibility of growth and be able to provide a good quality of life while still providing time to be with my family. I could not be happier about my decision to join SkyWest.”

Montiel has embraced being a role model and representing her community. Pilots often tell her she is the first woman and Mexican they have flown with.

“I want to hold the standard of the Latina pilot very high,” she says. “We are known as hard workers, and have an amazing culture.”

Montiel says the best part of being a Latina in aviation is opening potentially closed doors for others and showing what is possible. “Dreams can be accomplished, and I am proof,” she says.

 

 

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Pilots Complete Heroic Rescue Mission in California

From right to left: SGT Cameron Powell, SGT George Esquivel,W5 Joseph Rosamond, CW2 Brady HlebainSkyWest people are known for going above and beyond and it’s not just limited to our flights. Brady Hlebain, a SkyWest first officer, and Joseph Rosamond, a member of SkyWest’s pilot cadet program, who are part of the California National Guard, flew a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that helped rescue more than 200 people trapped near Mammoth Lakes California.

The call for assistance came in on Saturday, September 5. Hlebain and Rosamon, along with their flight engineers, Sgt. Cameron Powell and Sgt. George Esquivel, knew that the night flight would not be an easy one. A view from the flight deck

“I have done search and rescue missions, hundreds of combat hours overseas, as well as aerial firefighting, but this mission was very complex and dynamic to say the least,” said Hlebain. “Our team was an experienced group of guys who are all experienced in missions of this nature. We constantly train with night vision goggles, mountain flying, high-elevation, limited power margin, multi-ship flight, navigation in unfamiliar areas, dust landings, low visibility flight, firefighting, unimproved landing zones and first aid. However, it is rare that we do all of those things at the same time.”

The team was given coordinates of the location of those needing to be rescued, but had no idea how many people would need their help. As they were flying, they soon realized the coordinates they were given were not as accurate as they had hoped. Even as visibility dropped due to high flames and smoke, the team did not give up and were able to get Night Vision new coordinates. They flew from ridge to ridge, avoiding the clouds and smoke as best they could, before finally landing in the wee hours of the morning at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest.

Flying the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, Rosamond and Hlebain made multiple trips to save more than 200 people from the fast-moving forest fire. They were assisted by another team flying a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. With so many unique challenges on top of tough conditions, this mission was one of the most difficult of their careers.

“The only word I can use to describe it is Apocalyptic,” added Rosamond. “It was extremely difficult to see the terrain and what was in front of us. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but our crew worked perfectly together, which allowed us to accomplish our task.”

Hlebain said the team didn’t want to be made out as heroes and noted that they are tremendously grateful to their families for their sacrifice and for allowing them to do these kinds of missions.

“The recent media coverage has made us out to be heroes, but our team agreed that we didn’t do Mammoth Lakeanything that any other aircrews wouldn’t have done had they been in the same situation,” said Hlebain. “We were only one piece of the operation and couldn’t have done it without the help of local EMTs, police, firefighters and many other agencies.”

“The bravery from each and every crew member on board both the CH-47 and the UH-60 were amazing and I could not have done it without them,” added Rosamond. “They each made a personal choice to continue into the worst of conditions.”

When he’s not fighting fires and participating in search and rescue missions, Hlebain can often be found onboard one of SkyWest’s nearly 500 jets flying passengers to destinations across North America.

While balancing two jobs at once is a challenge for anyone – especially in the aviation industry – Those recused during part of the operation Hlebain added that he is grateful for SkyWest and the support he has received which has allowed him to do both.

“Knowing two different aircraft, two sets of rules, and especially balancing two schedules can be difficult,” he said. “That being said, SkyWest has been incredibly supportive and provides me the opportunity to do both. When there is a conflict of schedules, SkyWest has been nothing short of perfect for my work/work/life balance.”

Thank you, Brady, Joseph, and the rest of your team for your efforts, bravery, dedication and sacrifice to save the lives of so many.

SkyWest CEO Named a Utah Business CEO of the Year Honoree

SkyWest congratulates CEO Chip Childs, who was selected as a Utah Business CEO of the Year Honoree for 2020.

Selected from over 200 nominees of top Chief Executives across the state, Childs’ leadership contributions in the state were recognized in March and officially announced in June for being a leader in the airline industry and for his work across organizations.

Chip has been known as a leader in the aviation industry for years, but this award recognizes the importance of his leadership in the state of Utah, with SkyWest is a key part of the national transportation system through its four major airline partnerships.

Part of his nomination for the award read, “Chip’s vision and strategy continue to drive success and helps support vibrant economies with air service in small to medium-sized communities connecting them to the broader national airspace. Under his leadership, SkyWest continues to set the standard for excellence in the regional industry.”

Chip was also recognized for his unique approach and transformative leadership, and for implementing a significant fleet transition plan for improved profitability and efficiency while continuing to enhance a culture of respect, teamwork and communication across the organization.

CFO Rob Simmons, stated, “he does an amazing job running the company with the numbers, but also with the heart.”

 Chip’s focus has always been the people of SkyWest. He said, “I’m just a lucky guy to represent the amazing professionals at SkyWest. It’s an amazing responsibility to “hire the best, train the best and treat them the best, and that philosophy is the backbone of what SkyWest accomplishes each day.”

Congratulations Chip, and thank you for your leadership! 

A Surprise Retirement Flight

Flying is in the DNA of Evan and Lee Broadbent. The brothers came to SkyWest over three years ago and are both based in MSP. Evan is a CRJ captain and Lee is a first officer on the CRJ.

Their father, Lance, was a Marine pilot flying RF-4s. After his time in the military, he was hired by American Airlines and finished his career as a check airmen and FAA designee on the A320.

“Growing up around aviation and seeing what a cool job he [Lance] had, it was a pretty easy decision to follow in his footsteps,” said Lee.

“My dad is the reason why I chose this career,” said Evan. “He is my biggest role model.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting decrease in passenger demand, Lance decided to take early retirement from American. As a result of this early departure, he never got the opportunity to enjoy a celebratory final flight. Evan and Lee decided they might be able to help recognize their dad and put together a surprise that none of them will soon forget.

“It was by far the coolest day in my aviation career,” said Lee. 

After finding a flight from Minneapolis (MSP) to Bemidji, Minnesota (BJI), Evan and Lee coordinated with ATC and the team on the ground in BJI to help recognize their father. Then, they invited their dad to fly with them in the jumpseat. It was something the trio had attempted in the past, but last-minute schedule changes prevented it from happening.

“[A few months ago] he had told all of his friends he was about to ride with us. When it didn’t work out, he was fairly upset,” said Evan. “To say the least he was absolutely stoked to ride with his sons.”

The flight started routinely, and Lance had no idea what was planned. However, as they took off, he began to learn this was no ordinary flight.

“When we first took off, before the tower handed us off to departure, the tower congratulated him on his retirement,” said Evan. “At that moment, he knew something more was happening.”

Throughout the flight, ATC passed along their congratulations to Lance as they checked in with each facility. When they arrived in BJI, the flight was greeted with a water cannon salute and the airport team presented Lance with a congratulatory bottle of Champagne as he deplaned.

“To have my brother as the captain and our dad in the jumpseat – I can’t put into words how special this was,” said Lee

“He was in shock and borderline in tears,” said Evan.

Both brothers reflected that this unique flight was an amazing experience and a special day for their entire family.

“It was just very cool we were able to make this day happen,” said Lee. “To see the smile on his face meant the world to me.”

“I looked back at him just before pulling into the gate and I could see all of the emotion in his eyes. That was a special and heavy moment,” said Evan.

Thank you to all the dads like Lance for being such great role models and inspiring the aviators in their family to follow their dreams!

 

Mother Son Flying

Mother and Son Take Flight Together

Family Flying Together“Mom, secure the cabin.”

Trenton Crull’s announcement from the flight deck was a moment a lifetime in the making and a thrill for both him and his mom.

“I’ve had the privilege to fly both my mom and dad while they were passengers on my flight before, but being able to work with my mom as the flight attendant was pretty special,” said Trenton. “Being able to say, ‘Mom secure the cabin’ just made it all that more meaningful.”

Trenton is a SkyWest CRJ captain based in Colorado Springs, Colorado (COS) and Melodee Crull is a flight attendant based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), so the opportunity to work flight 4037 between Minneapolis and Bismarck, North Dakota together earlier this year was a rare treat.

“I told my passengers they were part of a very unique flight, as my son was one of the pilots and we were working our first flight together. ‘Mom, secure the cabin’ definitely brought laughter from the passengers,” said Melodee. “As I sat in the jumpseat upon takeoff, it was hard not to tear up thinking about my son flying the plane that I was working as a flight attendant. It’s not often that so many dreams come true in one day!”

Mother and son have crossed paths a few times since Trenton’s early days at SkyWest when he was stationed in Detroit, Michigan (DTW). Once Trenton moved to COS, their schedules got more difficult to coordinate.

“I have wanted to do this since I found out Trenton was joining me at SkyWest in November of 2017. Believe me, we’ve tried several times to get things to work out,” said Melodee.

“Luckily I had three weeks off waiting for my captain Initial Operating Experience and I found a trip to pick up in MSP,” added Trenton. “There was already a flight attendant on it, but my mom messaged her and worked it out to get on that trip.”

Melodee attributes her love of airplanes to her father, who worked at Cessna and Boeing in Wichita, Kansas when she was young. Being a flight attendant was always her dream, but for several years she filled her life with caring for a family. In 2017, the perfect opportunity came for Melodee to revive Mother and Son Flighther childhood dream and she interviewed with SkyWest.

“I love my crews. I have made so many great friends and anyone who has flown with me knows, I am a bit of a comedian and love to joke around and have fun. I also love interacting with my passengers! I have so much fun kidding around with them,” said Melodee. “I love that SkyWest has provided the opportunity to visit places I would otherwise never have got to visit.”

Her happiness at SkyWest influenced Trenton’s decision to come to SkyWest as well.

Melodee remembers her son aspired to be a pilot as early as the 2nd grade. A local pilot in the Crull’s hometown would take kids up on a flight as a reward for completing a school reading program every year and Trenton got to fly with him a few times.

“After that first flight I was hooked. I loved flying, but I didn’t know how to make it a career,” said Trenton. “It wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I started looking at how to pursue aviation as a career.”

Trenton completed flight training at the University of Central Missouri. He taught there for about a year after earning his certifications and then took a job flying private jets in St. Louis. When he earned the flight hours and experience to move to a regional airline, and with some urging from his mom, he applied at SkyWest.

“I remember texting him and saying, ‘YOU HAVE TO APPLY WITH SKYWEST! This company is amazing,’” recalled Melodee.

“She talked highly of SkyWest as a company and how fun the crews were and it was then that I started looking more in-depth at it,” said Trenton. “She was a big factor in my decision to come to SkyWest.”

“Trenton has recently finished his upgrade to captain and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Melodee. “He is a great person, with compassion for people and he truly loves his career, that’s what makes him a great pilot. I would be honored to fly with this captain any day.”

Thank you to all the moms like Melodee who inspire us to pursue our dreams in the aviation industry.

“Be Like Bob”

SkyWest cross utilized agent Bob Gilkerson has spent most of his life in Pierre, South Dakota, but his recent act of small-town kindness attracted some big-city attention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Last month, a passenger visiting family in Pierre (PIR) was dropped off at the airport and realized he had left his wallet at a relative’s house. When the passenger was unable to reach family members, Bob loaned him his 1996 blue Chevy pick up to go retrieve it.

“Pierre is a small town and we are used to doing those kinds of favors for each other and I didn’t think much of it at all,” said Bob.

He joked with the passenger not to scratch the truck and the man was able to make it back to the airport for his flight. The passenger turned out to be a television reporter in Albuquerque and he posted the story of the misplaced wallet and loaned truck on his Facebook page, generating more than 4,000 shares and a catchy hastag #BeLikeBob.

“The incident we are referring to is very common with Bob,” said PIR General Manager Steve Lang. “Bob likes to help where ever he can.”

Steve describes Bob as enthusiastic and friendly, someone who is always engaging with customers, and gives excellent customer service.

“This is not the first time he has lent his truck to a customer or employee in need,” reported Steve.

During last hunting season, Bob loaned his truck to a passenger who came to the airport without the proper locks for his gun case. He was able to buy the needed padlocks and get back to the airport for his flight.

“I didn’t think too much about it,” Bob commented.

Bob’s philosophy of providing thorough customer service began as a child while observing his father, who ran office equipment, and was honed over years of customer focused work as a UPS driver and in insurance.

“Nothing happens without our customers,” said Bob. “So, when I came to SkyWest as a part-time retired guy, I just brought along that philosophy of customer service with me. I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the counter with no clue as to what’s going on.”

Bob uses that empathy to make the interactions with customers more personal than what they may typically experience and to offer comfort and encouragement.

“That’s the way I run my show,” he said.  

Bob became a cross utilized agent with SkyWest a little over a year ago when the PIR station opened. He likes the variety of the job, which has a little bit of everything, and praised his airport operations team.

“It’s short and sweet, but intense during the two-hour shifts,” said Bob. “I think we’ve got a pretty good squad here in Pierre with Steve Lang leading the team. We all get along pretty good and I think it runs well.”

Outside of work, Bob and wife, Joanna, enjoy spending time with family, including their 10 grandchildren.

“I’m in grandpa mode,” said Bob. “I help relieve those pressure points when the kids need a babysitter.”

Thank you, Bob, for your great example of being #SkyWestStrong by helping others at home and at work.

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Experience Pays: First Officer Balances Career and Family with SkyWest 121 Program

Lucy Czupryn, a SkyWest Airlines E175 first officer based in Chicago, started her career as a pilot flying for a different 121 operator. She spent five years gaining valuable flight experience and building her seniority. Then, she shifted her focus to starting a family and left aviation.

“When I started my family, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to come back to aviation,” said Czupryn. “SkyWest made it possible for me to come back to what I love doing. We have several programs to foster and encourage women to return to the workforce.”

When Czupryn returned to the workforce, she decided to take advantage of the SkyWest Industry Experience Credit program. This program offers pilots a pay credit match for their years of FAR 121 experience, up to 10 years. The match also applies credit for 401(k) matching, profit sharing, and leave time accrual.Lucy Czupryn“Prior to that program, there wasn’t anywhere to go to make a lateral move,” said Czupryn. “The 121 program made it an easy choice to pick SkyWest because with my experience prior to my leave, I was able to start at SkyWest with a higher hourly wage. This program made it affordable for me to return to the workforce.”

Czupryn also leaned on the SkyWest Family Support Committee as she balanced raising a family and returning to the skies. The committee, formed in conjunction with the SkyWest Airlines Pilot Association, is a group of SkyWest peers dedicated to supporting women and men through welcoming a new child into an aviation family. This committee provides support through the leave of absence processes, fitness for duty while pregnant and during postpartum, maternity uniform exchanges, pumping, or weaning in preparation to return to work, financial planning for parenthood and one-on-one mentoring.

Through this program, SkyWest provided Czupryn a stable and supportive place to resume her professional pilot career.

“With my flexible schedule, I get to fly and still spend quality time with my family helping at the school, watching their games and practices, or just cuddling and watching movies together.”

Czupryn lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband and four children and loves taking her family on adventures. She enjoys seeing new places and expects her career to one day take her to the stars.

“When I was little, I always wanted to be an astronaut,” said Czupryn, who is still striving for space. “I love flying. I love being above the clouds and looking out at the world.”

With her parents’ support, Czupryn grew up attending science camps and classes at local college campuses. She learned to assemble computers and studied successful women, including her own mom. Czupryn’s mother graduated from Purdue University in the first class of computer science majors and set an example for her daughter of being a woman in a male-dominated field.

In high school, Czupryn set her sights on becoming a professional pilot. She followed her mother’s footsteps to Purdue, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in professional flight and a master’s degree in aviation technology while flight instructing to gain flight hours.

“I love the technical challenge of operating aircraft. It’s exhilarating to take off and land such a large vessel and bring people safely from point A to point B,” said Czupryn. “Connecting people to important events in their lives brings me enjoyment as well.”

Czupryn is one of several SkyWest employees who attended the 2020 Women in Aviation International conference. She encourages prospective aviators to keep studying and work hard. “Don’t give up. Find other professionals in the field to talk to about their journey,” Czupryn advises. “And make sure to check out ‘SkyBest’!”

To learn more about the opportunities available at SkyWest and how you can receive industry experience credit, click here.

The Love Language of Flight!

A passion for the miracle of flight is one of the most common motivators for people joining the airline industry. And finding others who share that passion can lead to great relationships and, in some cases, even the love of their lives. This Valentine’s Day, we asked a few SkyWest couples to share how SkyWest helped them find each other.

Kelli Golden, air transportation supervisor, and Gage Wuthrich, dispatch supervisor, are preparing for their upcoming wedding next month. They initially met when they were assigned to the same shift and became friends. From there, the relationship quickly blossomed. 

“Gage was my dispatch trainer,” said Kelli. “So it was very natural for me to come up and talk with him and ask questions.” After being friends for a while they decided to start dating and of course, the rest is history.

Still, they kept their work and personal life separate for a while.

“Some of our co-workers didn’t know we were dating until they got our wedding invitation,” Gage said.

Kelli added that it’s great to share the same schedule, so they can sleep by 8 p.m. on the weekend — since they’re at work before the sun comes up. Of course, while they enjoy the camaraderie, sometimes they have to give each other space since they work just a few feet away from each other. At the same time, the couple noted that their shared understanding and passion for aviation has brought them closer together.

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Dontay Riley, manager of flight attendant performance, met his fiancée Matt Frisbie when visiting Salt Lake City during a work trip. The two met during flight attendant training and the rest has been history. 

“We met when I was in Salt Lake City training SkyWest flight attendants. We really hit it off,” says Dontay.

Because he was traveling from Chicago to Salt Lake City often, Dontay and Matt were able to see each other regularly and their relationship grew. After dating for six years, the couple was engaged last March when Dontay proposed in Puerto Vallarta. The couple is excited to marry in the same city in late October!

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CRJ Captain Timothy Grunden and Flight Attendant Phiola Grunden first met when they were assigned as crewmembers on the same flight. It was Phiola’s initial training day and Timothy was in the process of upgrading from first officer to captain. For dinner one night, Timothy told the rest of the crew he wanted to go out but no one else wanted to go. Timothy recalls, “Phiola must have felt sorry for me.”

They continued their separate journeys from there, but the two reconnected later after Phiola learned that Timothy had finished his upgrade via a mutual friend on Facebook. She reached out to congratulate him on the promotion, and a few Facebook messages later the couple was dating. Phiola and Timothy got married in July last year, after dating for two years and moving between domiciles to be closer together. They have since welcomed home a baby boy, whom the couple says is destined to work in the aviation industry.

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Dispatcher Bryan Button, and Vanessa Button, crew scheduler, originally met in San Diego, but said working in the same building at SkyWest has brought them closer. When Bryan moved to St. George, Utah, he planned on flying back to San Diego to visit Vanessa every few weeks. But the distance was no match for this couple. Vanessa surprised him and, despite being away from each other for five months, the couple only went one weekend without seeing each other! After Vanessa finished her degree in San Diego, she moved to St. George to be closer to Bryan and joined the SkyWest family as a crew scheduler in 2018. The couple was married in October last year and have enjoyed the unlikely aviation pairing of a dispatcher and crew scheduler.

Bryan and Vanessa say their relationship helps them understand and learn more about what the different teams do and how they work together to make the airline work.

“It’s fun because I am asked dispatch questions from my team, and dispatch will come over to my desk and ask me scheduling questions,” said Vanessa.

The couple also mentioned that understanding the very specific “airline speak” makes it easy for them to talk about what happened at work and the other being able to immediately understand what their spouse means.

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David Furlong and Randy Villanueva are both flight attendants in Chicago. They meet in 2005 in Sacramento, and after David told Randy about being a flight attendant, Randy quickly joined the SkyWest family. The couple was married in 2014 after being joined in a civil union since 2012. Randy said working with his partner is great because they know what each other needs.

“We had a medical emergency a few months ago and I just had to look at Randy and he knew exactly what I needed.” The couple said most of the time other crewmembers don’t know they are married, but love to work with them because they are such a great team.

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Each couple had insight and advice to share for dating and marrying in the airline industry.

Bryan and Vanessa said the airline attracts a certain type of person who makes great friends and partners.

“We have the same friends, so even when Bryan is not at work, we go out with the same people,” Vanessa said.

David and Randy both agreed having boundaries is important to their relationship since the couple often finds themselves working on the same flight. “It’s great to work a plane with two galleys because it gives us that extra space,” the couple said jokingly.

Timothy and Phiola said communication is key. Whenever Timothy is traveling, he makes sure he texts Phiola as soon as he can after he lands.

“Skype and Facetime are great because for four days we have a long-distance relationship,” Timothy said.

Dontay said that they started to be more mindful of taking trips together. “We both take work trips often, so when we have the opportunity and our schedule allows we like to join each other on work trips,” she said.

Kelli and Gage, noted the importance of respecting each other’s space and enjoy having someone the can “talk shop” with. But their number one piece of advice was to be friends before you start to date. “You don’t need to rush into it,” said Gage.

All five couples said working together and speaking each other’s work-language has helped each couple grow closer together. Each couple also mentioned how supportive their coworkers are to their relationships and how SkyWest really is part of their extended family.

To the more than 14,000 SkyWest employees and many more who share a love for all things aviation: Happy Valentine’s Day!