Experience “Minnesota’s Playground” in Brainerd, MN

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

When planning a trip to the lake-surrounded, Minnesota town of Brainerd, prepare for unique lodging, plenty of outdoor fun and a calendar of exciting events happening all year long!Brainerd

Here’s a quick look at some of the standouts for the year:

  • January: Ice Fishing Extravaganza – the largest charitable ice fishing contest in the world where over 10,000 people gather on Gull Lake for a chance at a great catch and hundreds of prizes!Ice Fishing
  • February: Frozen Fore Winter Festival – the world’s largest snowmobile and pond hockey event on Gull Lake. Play nine “holes” of golf on the frozen lake, fill up at the food fest and jam to live music!
  • June: Lakes Jam Music Fest – three days of music at the Brainerd International Raceway. With country, classic rock and the blues, Lake Jam has music for everyone!
  • July: Paul Bunyan Extreme 5K – a race like no other made for the whole family! The course is filled with challenging obstacles, including a rope swing, mud pits, a dumpster dive in ice water, and a climb up Paul Bunyan’s 16-foot tall boot, just to name a few!
  • August: Lucas Oil Nationals – the racing event of the year at the Brainerd International Raceway! Watch the world’s best drag racers compete on the fastest drag strip in the country!race car
  • October: Oktoberfest at the Arb – German wines, beer, food and music! Later in the month, don’t miss the Gerital Frolics – the popular musical variety show in vaudeville fashion where every performer is over age 55!
  • December: Winter Wonderland – a drive-through spectacle of beautiful lights strung into captivating displays.

From May to September, a visit the Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd is also a must. Here visitors have an opportunity to see wildlife from five continents! Feed a giraffe and ride a camel at the park before heading to Paul Bunyan Land which immerses visitors in the life of the famous folktale lumberjack. Paul

And with so many fun activities to keep travelers busy, a good place to check in and hang out is the Arrowwood Lodge. The rooms are so big, they call them cabins! Also, the lodge houses its own indoor Paul Bunyan Water Park with over 30,000 square feet of activities and adventure.

Plan a Brainerd getaway today with convenient flights on SkyWest Airlines, operating as Delta Connection, from Minneapolis. Find the best fares and more travel info at delta.com.

Eight National Parks to Visit this Weekend

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

National parks stretch across the United States, and each has a diverse landscape, incredible history and makes for an unforgettable trip. With so many to choose from, here are eight unique parks that will appeal to almost everyone and can be conveniently accessed with a SkyWest-operated flight!


Yellowstone is America’s first national park (and widely held to be the first in the world)! Since it’s opening in 1872, it has maintained itself as one of the most iconic parks in the U.S. The majority of the world’s geysers can be found in Yellowstone, including Old Faithful, and it’s known for having an abundance of animal life. Visitors can often spot grizzly bears, wolves, bison, elk and more. With more than 2,000 campsites throughout the park, it’s a perfect trip for a weekend campout. yellowstone-fountain-geyser_2018_600x450

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Those looking for something a little newer should definitely head to Pinnacles National Park in California – the country’s newest designated national park (only official since 2013). Known for its breathtaking spires and rock formation, Pinnacles is a favorite among advanced rock climbers due to its abundance of difficult and challenging climbs.There is also an array of wildflowers and spectacular views, withPinnacles_National_Park_view many popular hikes in the area.

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Big Bend

If isolation sounds ideal, head to Big Bend. It is one of only 10 places on the planet that has been certified for dark-sky gazing and has been recognized as having the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 United States. Big Bend is popular with backpackers14789648805_3e3d38aa08_b and hikers alike for its stunning trails and its reputation for wide open space. 

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Great Smoky Mountains

If Big Bend is a little too isolated, check out Great Smoky Mountains. This is the most visited national park in the United States, and for good reason too! The park covers the mountain range rising along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. It is world-renowned for the diversity of plant and animal life located smoky-mountains-sunrise-great-smoky-mountains-national-park-dave-allenin the park, along with popular activities like bicycling, fishing and waterfall walks.

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Isle Royale

At more than 45 miles long and nine miles wide, the largest island in Lake Superior is a dream for backpackers, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. This park does require visitors to plan ahead because it’s only accessible by boat or seaplane and does close during the winter. Once on the road-less island, enjoy a four- or five-day backpacking hike on the Greenstone Ridge Trail that follows the ridge across the center of the island or one of many other day AdamJewell_IsleRoyaleNP_3rdPrizehikes.

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Lassen Volcanic

Sunset Magazine calls Lassen Volcanic, “The West’s most beautiful, least visited wonderland.” Lassen is not only beautiful, but also has the largest plug dome volcano in the world and is home to almost every kind of volcanic formation. Here travelers will be able to hike and camp among the meadows and mountain lakes to sneak a 681x454peek at the steaming fumaroles and marvel at the volcanoes that make it a top destination for aspiring geologists.

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Shenandoah encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The park is best known for Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that runs through the park on the ridge on the mountains. This is especially scenic in autumn as the leaves are changing color. There are also fantastic hikes to see waterfalls, 5683D041-155D-451F-673B22ED8CFCBF2Evistas and quiet, wooded hollows.

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Zion National Park is located in beautiful Southern, Utah. The massive sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons and blue skies are iconic. Popular hikes include climbing up to Angel’s Landing and hiking though the narrows, but simply entering the park will provide spectacular views. Rock climbing and canyoneering are also popular in the park Zion-Angels-Landing-slidefor the more adventurous crowd.

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How to Make Your SkyWest Application Stand Out

Rachelle Kolb
Hiring & Compliance Specialist

Applying and interviewing for a new job can be a challenge. To make things easier, members of the SkyWest recruiting team put together seven simple tips that will help a candidate stand out:


  1. Clear, Specific Resume: A resume should be catered for a specific job; a pilot resume is going to look different from a ramp agent resume. Keep things short and ONLY include applicable information. Recruiters often screen hundreds of resumes and those that are the most successful include current contact information, work history (with an explanation of any gaps), education (college degrees are preferred) and current flight hours for pilot applications.
  2. Assessment Questions ARE Important: Specific assessment questions attached to the application are an important tool used to screen and find the best candidates for a position. Take time to think through any answers and always be specific. Recruiters tend to lose interest when questions are answered broadly.
  3. Professional One-Way Video Interviews: SkyWest, like many companies, uses one-way video interviews to learn more about candidates during the screening process. They should be treated like a face-to-face interview. Here are some tips to make a one-way video interview a good experience.
  4. Be Timely: When a candidate follows instructions and pays attention to detail, it tells the recruiter that they are motivated. Completing tasks like a video interview or homework assignment soon after being asked is a high indicator of an applicant’s work ethic and can help them have a leg up on the competition.
  5. Prepare for Face-to-Face Interviews: After making it through the initial screening and being invited to a face-to-face interview, applicants should take some time to study the duties and qualifications of the job, as well as information about SkyWest. Recruiters are assessing whether a candidate is a good fit for the position and doing some research about the position and the company will help. For the interview itself, dress appropriately and make eye contact when answering questions. Candidates should also be specific with any answers and take time, when needed, to provide an answer that will show the recruiters more of who they really are.
  6. Be Genuine: Talking around a question in an interview or stuffing a resume with fluff words and sentences will not help candidates stand out or show our recruiters who they really are. Being genuine and specific in each stage of the screening and interview process will help applicants be more successful.
  7. Be Positive, Approachable and Friendly: These qualities can help an applicant connect with a recruiter and also ties in with SkyWest’s culture, which focuses on working together. Hiring those who exemplify these qualities continues to strengthen SkyWest teams across the country and overflows to the millions of passengers who are boarding SkyWest flights every month.

To start putting these tips into practice, check out all of the positions that are currently available at SkyWest by visiting www.skywest.com.

SkyWest Appreciation Week!

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Safely operating 1,700 daily flights to nearly 200 cities across North America is no easy task, and no one does it better than the SkyWest team! That’s because everyone works together and they continually go above-and-beyond. To recognize the hard work being done by countless teams across the country, SkyWest designates one week every year as Appreciation Week.

This year, Appreciation Week was filled with games, food, team parties and much more, including:

Dunking coworkers and raising money to help fellow employees in need…

Dunk Tank

Vice President of Market Development Greg Atkins takes a dunk in the tank set up by the Operational Control Center Department at SkyWest HDQ.

Shoe shines…


Minneapolis Assistant Chief Pilot Chris Mayer shining Captain Strohshein’s shoes!

And just hanging out to enjoy a meal together.

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Teams around the country celebrated with various events!

SkyWest’s 10,700+ aviation professionals are some of the best in the industry and celebrating Appreciation Week is just one example of how the airline is working to be the employer of choice!

SkyWest Crews Going the Extra Mile

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

SkyWest is home to countless caring and considerate employees. Recently, three stories about some of our incredible crews were shared with us that illustrate the type of people who make up the SkyWest family.

On a recent trip in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City based SkyWest Flight Attendant Jill Roundy noticed a small detail about one of her young passengers.

“He had a Make-A-Wish button on his shirt. Passengers may think we don’t pay attention to them but we really do,” Jill said. “This is the reason I’m a flight attendant. Everyone has somewhere to go with a purpose: a wedding, funeral, job interview, promotion or a birth of a child. We do our best to get them there and with the best intentions to read their mannerisms. But this was a first for me.”

SkyWest crew with the family.

SkyWest Crew (Flight Attendants Jill Roundy and Lacey Finnell, First Officer Aiden Eye and Captain Charles Butler) with the family.

The young boy and his family were on their trip home from fulfilling his wish to go to a concert of his favorite artist. Jill and the rest of her crew took the time to make the family’s trip special, giving them an extra tour of the aircraft after it landed. The little boy was thrilled at the opportunity and after looking into the flight deck, he asked Jill if he could sit in the captain’s seat. Captain Charles Butler was happy to oblige and stepped out as First Officer Aiden Eye took the time showing this young passenger the controls on the flight deck while explaining their functions.

“This only shows that the employees at SkyWest are by far just one great big family caring for the people that fly with us!” said Jill. “Happy to be part of the family.”

A brave six-year-old girl was having a tough day. As her family arrived at the airport in the evening, they made their way to the shuttle for a ride to the parking lot. As the young girl boarded the bus with her parents, noticing there were no open seats, Palm Springs based First Officer, Joe Myers, stood up to give his seat to the mother and daughter.

The girl has lost all of her hair as a result of cancer treatments. During the shuttle ride, a little boy made a comment to the girl about her lack of hair, and she began to cry. As the family got off the bus, Joe walked over to the little girl and told her she was the prettiest little girl he had ever seen. He then took off his hat and showed her his own bald head, telling her she was very special. Joe made her night when he removed the wings from his shirt and pinned them on her, telling her he was making her an honorary pilot.

First Officer Joe Myers

First Officer Joe Myers

Joe made the girl laugh when he jokingly told her, “Boys are made of cotton and are rotten!” before thanking the parents and walking away. The parents were in tears and so moved by Joe’s compassion and love toward their daughter that they went the extra mile to contact SkyWest and share their gratitude for First Officer Myers.

“I was blessed that night,” said Joe. “That little girl touched my heart and gave me far more than I could have ever given her. When I pinned my wings on her, I told her that pilots don’t cry and she could fly with me anytime. Maybe with some prayers she will be able to fly for SkyWest someday! I didn’t do anything that another SkyWest employee wouldn’t have done when faced with the same situation. I feel so fortunate to SkyWest and my wife Jackie for allowing me to pursue my dream! This is a family that I am so proud to be a part of.”

That night the little girl wouldn’t part with the wings and slept in her shirt with the wings safely secured on it. Even now, she will not take them off.

While boarding a flight in Seattle, Tiffany Miller, a Salt Lake City-based flight attendant, noticed one impeccably dressed young woman.

“Out of the corner of my eye I saw her turn around, so I turned to meet her sweet face. Tears were welling up in her eyes, and she spoke to me in a voice I haven’t heard in a while,” Tiffany said. “It was the same tone my children would have when there were monsters under their bed. ‘I’m very scared. Is it going to be really bumpy?’ and after hearing herself she openly started to sob.”

The passenger explained that she flies a lot but just passed through a storm that had “terrifying turbulence.” Tiffany told her that she too had just been through a similar storm, but that she anticipated that everything was going to be fine on the short flight and that she was in very capable hands.

Tiffany then went up to the flight deck to find that the Captain Carl Wager had witness the exchanged and was wondering what he could do to help. He offered to go back and talk with the girl if she would find it reassuring. The young lady, still full of fear, accepted the offer. Carl went back to her seat, taking up precious moments needed to stay on schedule, to let the passenger know that he understood her fears and was aware of his tremendous responsibility to keep everyone safe.


Captain Carl Wager speaking with passenger

“I am always confident with my pilots. I am grateful for the level of training, skill and knowledge they work hard to possess. Today I was truly grateful to also have a wonderful and kindhearted captain,” Tiffany said. “I looked down the aisle to see a very relaxed, very sweet moment. It was one that I hope I never forget. It was empathy in action: pure and simple.”

10 Things to Do in Midland, Texas

McKinnley Matson
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Midland, Texas offers a wealth of activities to fit any traveler’s taste – from foodies and sports enthusiasts to history buffs and the outdoorsy – all without sacrificing true Texas culture or Southern hospitality. Check out our list of top 10 must-see Midland attractions to start off a fantastic West Texas adventure!


1. No Texas vacation would be complete without experiencing some finger-licking Texas cuisine. Grab a taste of real Texas barbeque at Johnny’s BBQ Diner, a local favorite.




2. In the mood for Tex-Mex instead? Head over to Gerardo’s Casita for some authentic cuisine that you can only find in Texas.





3. For dessert, don’t miss Susie’s South Forty Confections Candy Factory, a Guinness World Record-Holder for the largest piece of toffee.




4. PermianCatch up on Texas history at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum and find out how Midland is connected to more than 16 percent of the nation’s oil reserves.





5. Remember the Alamo! Make sure to pay a visit to the first bell that hung in the Alamo at the Haley Library and History Center.




6.Planet Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes access to the universe. Be sure to visit the Marion Blakemore Planetarium at the Museum of the Southwest.




Football7. Nothing completes the true Texan experience like attending a high school football game, where the entire community gathers for the intensely competitive games. See why West Texas high school football was the inspiration for Friday Night Lights.



8.Baseball For baseball fans, there’s also a Midland RockHounds game, Midland’s minor league baseball team.




Bend9. Midland offers the closest access to Big Bend National Park. This is especially good news for star gazers as this remote park is one of only 10 places on the planet that is certified for dark-sky stargazing and is well known for being one of the largest, most beautiful and least-crowded national parks in the U.S.



10. In the end, Midland can always be counted on to provide visitors with possibilities that are as endless as the horizons.





What Does it Mean to be “Cross Utilized”?

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

SkyWest’s cross utilized agents have a lot of responsibilities. In one shift, they’ll help passengers check in, get them boarded onto flights, ensure their bags are loaded and much more. Amy Orsini, who is based in West Yellowstone, Mont., gives some insight into what it’s like to be a cross utilized agent.

Why did you decide to apply at SkyWest?

I was working at a restaurant and a coworker saw an ad in the paper for ramp, customer service agents and flight attendants and said let’s go to this recruiting event. I had never considered working for an airline but thought I would give it a shot. At the recruiting event, I applied for Customer Service in Salt Lake City. Best decision of my life!

Amy and some of her WYS team.

Amy and some of the West Yellowstone, MT (WYS) team.

What’s something people might not know about being a cross utilized agent?

We do EVERYTHING. We work the ticket counter, the gate, out on the ramp, clean the planes and de-ice! You could check in a passenger, then load their bag and board them on the plane. You gain a lot of knowledge about how the airline operates.

What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day as a cross utilized agent starts out when we check the bookings for our flights, inspect the ground equipment and set up for arrivals and departures. Then we start to check in passengers. Getting to see different state’s IDs or country’s passports is cool, and customer service is important while checking in our passengers and their luggage. Interacting with them to find out if they are on vacation or if this is a business trip and what their destination is makes the day interesting. When the flight arrives, we go out to the aircraft to unload passengers and bags, say hello to the flight crew, and then load up our outbound passengers and their bags. Once that flight is ready and on its way, we head back inside to check in passengers for the next flight.


Agents loading baggage onto aircraft.

You’ve been at SkyWest for 14 years now, what has made you stay?

I have stayed because I love this company! The opportunities working here seem endless and there is always movement if I want to change my career path. I also love the relationships I’ve developed with people all over the company. Communication is easy and important for SkyWest. The fact that I can send a note to the vice president of Customer Service and get a response quickly, directly from him, along with people from any department means a lot! Although we are a growing company it still feels like a family. I also love the challenge of working for the airline, the fast-paced environment, flexible schedules and, of course, the amazing travel privileges.

What’s your favorite part of the job?


Agent marshaling aircraft at St. George, Utah Airport.

The versatility and problem solving that each day requires. I get to use my computer skills while booking/rebooking passengers, my problem solving skills when there is a delay and to load plan (weight and balance of the aircraft). I love the knowledge I’ve gained for the whole operation. I also enjoy the fresh air while marshaling in an aircraft, unloading bags and driving around the tarmac. And I get to do all of this with an awesome team!

What qualities or skills help make someone a good cross utilized agent?

Being people oriented, flexible, able to solve problems, and someone who loves to travel!

What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a cross utilized agent?

Be sure you like planes, passengers, a little bit of physical labor and are flexible! This is not a typical 9-5 kind of job. The airport never has a day off; planes and people are always traveling. If you like change, a fast-paced environment and are flexible this is the job for you!

Pocatello, Idaho – Something to Smile About

Jodi Drake
Corporate Communications Specialist

Pocatello, Idaho is known as the U.S. Smile Capital thanks to a 1948 ordinance that made it illegal not to smile in Pocatello. While the law was a tongue-in-cheek comment on an exceptionally severe winter, it remains on the books, and the following are just some of the activities that are available in Pocatello that will help keep every visitor smiling!


Snowmobile trails put Pocatello on the maps. And while it may not be on the typical list of vacation ideas, snowmobiling is a fun, easy way to explore new country. The looming mountains and ice-frosted pine trees are perfect scenery for new or seasoned riders. Here’s a list of trail descriptions near Pocatello, including several trails that are less than 20 minutes from the city.


Just a few miles north of Pocatello, the Fort Hall Indian Reservation provides a rich cultural experience. Native American culture is beautifully depicted here each August in the Shoshone-Bannock Festival. This year, the 52nd Annual festival will be held Aug. 6-9 at the Fort Hall Pow Wow Grounds. Typically, the festival draws more than 2,500 dancers who arrive from all over North America. The dancing. The drums. The crafted bead-work. The comradery. It’s a unique experience that is incredible to be a part of and to celebrate.


Pocatello also hosts what it calls America’s oldest and most fun rock climbing competition, the Pocatello Pump. The event is coordinated by Idaho State University and raises money for scholarships to the university and for a national, non-profit rock climbing organization, Access Fund. This year, the event will be held Sept. 19-20 at the basalt crags of Ross Park’s Sunny Side and Shady Side. Besides the competition, visitors can enjoy spectacular climbing throughout the year thanks to basalt and limestone conglomerate climbs that are only five minutes from downtown.

Along with all of the great things to do within Pocatello itself, there are several nearby destinations that visitors will want to explore while in the area. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are just a short drive from Pocatello, and world-recognized ski resorts such as Sun Valley, Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming are nearby, too.

There’s no time like the present to book a trip! Daily, Delta Connection flights, operated by SkyWest Airlines, are available between Pocatello Regional Airport (PIH) and Salt Lake City (SLC) year-round. The best fares can be found at delta.com.

How I Became a SkyWest Pilot: Julie Hafen

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Julie Hafen – a CRJ first officer for SkyWest Airlines, discovered aviation as a teenager and has been hooked ever since. Check out how she got started as a pilot and what a typical day is like for her at SkyWest.IMG_1158

As a teenager, I always thought I would enjoy flying and traveling for my career, but it never occurred to me that I could actually be the pilot until I was 17 years old. I took an intro to aviation class at my local college and fell in love with aviation. Problem was, however, that I had never even set foot on an airplane, let alone flown one. So for my 18th birthday, my parents flew me to Texas, where my grandfather, who had his private pilot’s license, took me flying.

When I got home from that trip I immediately registered for the aviation degree at Utah Valley University and started my training in the fall of 2003. A few years after I started my schooling and flight training, I earned my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). I instructed for five years because I got hooked – hooked on the feeling of being able to help others earn their wings…giving others their dreams. For me, it was by far the best way to build time toward becoming a commercial pilot.

I decided to apply at SkyWest Airlines after attending the Women in Aviation conference in 2012. I was happy fight instructing, but after speaking to the numerous pilots at the SkyWest booth, I decided I wanted to take the next step and become a SkyWest pilot. There were many airlines I spoke to at this conference, but the pilots at SkyWest were the most friendly and easy to talk to, and it was clear that they enjoyed their careers. After months of studying I felt ready for an interview and submitted my application. IMG_2212.JPG

SkyWest interviewed me shortly after, and I was officially hired only days after my interview. Once hired, I had two weeks to get all my documents ready and to prepare for ground school. Training was a whirlwind of more learning than I even knew possible, but it was worth it. It took me a few months after training to feel completely comfortable as a first officer, but I knew I made the best decision by changing my career from a flight instructor to an airline pilot.

Here is a tiny glimpse of a day in my life at SkyWest:

I show up for work at least 45 minutes prior to our first departure and spend a few minutes meeting the crew; I have had the opportunity to fly with some pretty great captains and flight attendants at SkyWest. Together we look at any deferred items on the aircraft (inoperative items that are not required to be fixed immediately), the weather and any other pertinent information for the flight.

Once we head out to the aircraft we each have our duties that need to be completed before we depart. Typically the first officer is the one to do the walkaround/preflight inspection while the captain completes some checklist items.

After the passengers and baggage are on the plane, we complete a weight and balance (it’s not just something for general aviation), and figure out our speeds for takeoff and cruise. On the plus side, we don’t always have to do it by hand.

Before we start the engines for the first flight each day – we might fly one to six legs in a day – the captain and I decide who will fly which legs. Some captains like to alternate each leg, some like to always fly first… it doesn’t really matter, but know that you will generally be flying as much as the captain is – they don’t get to have all the fun. And whoever is flying will do a briefing before each flight including the current weather, expected taxi route, departure procedure, pertinent NOTAMs, etc.


Julie with her all-female flight crew on the recently retired EMB120

If we are done with our day early enough, we will usually get together as a crew to do something fun. There are such great people at SkyWest, it is great being able to hang out outside of work and to get to know each other a bit better.

My quality of life at SkyWest has been so much better than it was as a flight instructor. As an instructor I worked 10-14 hour days for five or six days a week. It was rewarding work, but it was a lot of work. At SkyWest, I usually work four days a week and get paid for more hours than I did when I was teaching. I am also able to be home much more and spend time with the people that matter most to me. Quality of life is very important to me, which is one of the reasons I chose SkyWest over the other regional airlines out there.

Flying isn’t really work for me; it’s more like a hobby that I get paid for! Of course there are frustrating days that get interrupted with weather or maintenance delays, but for me those days seem few and far between. I am happy with the career I chose. I have been at SkyWest for almost three years, flying the EMB 120 Brasilia and now the CRJ, and have never regretted my decision to work for such a great company.