Category Archives: Making a Difference

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!

 

“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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SkyWest Fantasy Flight Flies Children to The North Pole!


For the 13th year running, SkyWest Airlines flew a group of children to “the North Pole” as part of the annual Fantasy Flight at Colorado Springs Airport! Together with the Junior League of Colorado Springs (JLCS) and CPCD…giving children a head start, SkyWest welcomed nearly 30 children and their families to enjoy a night full of magic, joy and laughter.

Those in attendance were able to participate in a number of activities, including ornament making, dinner, playing with the Go Team Therapy Crisis Airport Dogs, and of course, flying on a CRJ700 to the North Pole.

While in the air, the SkyWest crews prepared the children for their magical destination by playing games and singing Christmas carols across the night sky.

“I’m just so proud to be a member of the SkyWest team,” offered Captain Richard Lucci. “It’s an honor for me to fly.”

Once on the ground, the children were met by Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and Mrs. Claus, and cheers of delight filled the air as they walked up the jet bridge to the fully decorated terminal of the Colorado Springs Airport.

Each child then had the chance to sit on Santa’s lap and was presented with a bag full of toys picked specifically for them—the perfect ending to an unforgettable night.

“One of the reasons why I came to SkyWest is because they are so involved with the community,” said First Officer Kirksey Hagan. “Getting to be a part of SkyWest and the opportunity to open our ‘new route’ to the North Pole means the world to me and shows that SkyWest does a whole lot for the kids in the community.”

Many thanks to all of the SkyWest teams who helped make the event possible through countless hours of coordination and expertise.

Interested in working for a company that makes a positive difference in the community? Click here to see career opportunities at SkyWest.

Flight Attendants Spring Into Action

SkyWest’s more than 4,000 flight attendants provide exceptional service and help to tens of thousands of passengers every day. They’re also well trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations, including unexpected medical problems.

On Oct. 18, SkyWest flight 5596, operating as United Express, was flying from Chicago to Halifax, Nova Scotia when a passenger notified Rachel Bessey and Sandy Yeary that her child was acting strangely. She said the girl was having a hard time breathing and was lethargic. Rachel and Sandy sprang into action, requesting assistance from medical professionals onboard and providing support as the young passenger was attended to.

“I went straight into what we needed to do, we ended up using quite a bit of [medical] equipment on the plane,” recalled Rachel.

Both Rachel and Sandy said this was the worst medical issue they have ever had on board, but trusting the training and the medical staff, made the difference.

“By re-iterating the policies and procedures in your mind, when an emergency occurs (as the one we experienced), our actions were calm and second nature,” said Sandy.

Photo of: Rachel Bessy and Sandy YearyPrior to landing, the crew requested medical personnel meet the aircraft in Halifax and the passenger was transported immediately to the hospital. Doctors at the hospital identified that the passenger was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Her mother disclosed that they were shocked to learn their 13-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes. We are grateful to learn that she has since improved and been released from the hospital.

“The medical professionals on the aircraft were just incredible. They saved the young girl’s life. It was quite an experience to witness,” Said Sandy.

“Everyone was great, all the passengers on the plane were so understandable,” said Rachel. “They all could tell we had it under control and coordinated.”

We applaud our crewmembers service, compassion and professionalism in responding to this medical emergency and continuing to take care of all the other passengers on the flight. It’s a great example of the great work that SkyWest teams are doing across North America every day.

To learn more about becoming a part of SkyWest’s flight attendant team, click here.

Bringing Military Experience to SkyWest

This Veterans Day, we salute all the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve our country in the armed forces. SkyWest Airlines is home to more than 1,600 veterans. Their experience and expertise help us deliver high-quality, reliable service on our more than 2,300 daily flights.

Maintenance Crew Lead Bryann Smith while in the United States Navy.

Bryann Smith, a maintenance crew lead working in Nashville, Tennessee (BNA), started at SkyWest after serving 15 years in the United States Navy as an aircraft structures mechanic and combat engineer. Choosing SkyWest was an easy decision for Bryann, who was looking for a company who cared about its employees and those they served.

“What brought me to SkyWest was a career with a company that honestly cares about its employees,” Bryann said. “We care about the safety of our aircraft and passengers more than anything else.”

Brandon Miller, a maintenance supervisor in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), was also drawn to SkyWest due to the airline’s reputation for taking care of its employees.

“I came to SkyWest because it was the most successful regional airline that respects and appreciates its employees,” said Brandon. “I wanted to be part of this great family atmosphere that SkyWest created!”

Maintenance Supervisor Brandon Miller in the cockpit of a KC-10A while in the United States Air Force.

Brandon served in the United States Air Force for four years as a maintenance hydraulic specialist. That experience taught him about decision making, integrity, reliability and being accountable for his actions – valuable qualities that help him in his daily responsibilities at SkyWest.

Augie Briseno, a maintenance trainer working in Palm Springs, California (PSP), also credits the training he received in the United States Navy for helping him to be successful during his 18 ½ years at SkyWest.

“I gained a lot of experience from the military as a collateral duty inspector, quality assurance representative and on-the-job training instructor,” added Augie. “These areas definitely played a huge role in my path and growth at SkyWest.”

“The military instilled leadership skills in me that I honestly don’t think I could have received anywhere else,” Bryann added. “I now help run a SkyWest hangar as a maintenance crew lead. The military taught me to prioritize and how to be ready for any situation that may arise.”

Maintenance Trainer Augie Briseno (far left) while serving in United States Navy.

SkyWest is proud of the service that employees like Bryann, Brandon, Augie and many more have provided during their time in the military and is glad they are a part of the team.

“I am tremendously blessed to have been with the SkyWest family for this length of time!” said Augie.

Learn more about all of the opportunities SkyWest has available for veterans transitioning to civilian careers and apply today on our Careers Page.

SkyWest Teams Prepare 10,000 Pounds of Food for Those in Need

SkyWest people provide exceptional service to millions of passengers every month on flights across the country. And the service doesn’t stop there; they also find countless ways to give back in the communities where they live and work.

Just recently, teams of pilots, flight attendants and airport operations agents volunteered their time to help fight hunger in San Francisco (SFO), Muskegon, MI (MKG), and Boise, ID (BOI). Through their efforts more than 10,000 pounds of food was prepared for local families in need.

SFO
As part SkyWest’s annual Appreciation Week a group of SkyWest employees decided to show their appreciation by volunteering at the San Francisco Marin Food Bank for Hunger Action Month. They were assigned the task of sorting dried rice into one pound bags. After hours of work, they prepped and sealed 1,860 bags for families in need.Volunteering in SFO

They also raised funds for the Food Bank through SkyWest’s Our People in Action program and Delta Dental California’s dollar-for-dollar match. They donated $1,260 and provided double that amount in meals for families in vital need of food.

MKG
A Feed America truck, loaded with food for those in need, arrived unexpectedly in MKG and extra volunteers were needed to help unload the supplies.

Helping in MKGA message was sent to our MKG team and several stepped up to the plate to help their community, volunteering their time and energy to help.

Three SkyWest cross utilized agents and their families joined with other volunteers to help distribute 5,000 pounds of food to 180 people. The team received thanks from the community and Feed America – West Michigan.

BOI
SkyWest crewmembers in Boise spent time at the Idaho Food Bank and in just two hours they were able to bag 2,152 pounds of potatoes and 1,984 pounds of squash. That’s enough food for 3,447 meals! Staff at the Food Bank was over the moon for the donated time and helping hands.SkyWest Team in BOI

SkyWest is proud of our teams and the difference they make both on the ground and in the sky. If you’re ready to become a part of our team, visit our Careers page and check out the current openings.

 

 

Celebrating SkyWest’s Third Year at Wings for Autism

SkyWest’s diverse team mobilizes the company’s values through the service we provide to our customers each day and by giving back in the communities where we live and work. This month SkyWest marked its third year participating in Wings for Autism in Fresno, culminating in our seventh Wings for Autism event of the year.  Wings for Autism mirrors an actual flight experience to help those with autism and other sensory sensitivities navigate and understand air travel.

The company’s long-time partnership with The Arc and the Wings for Autism is just one of the many ways SkyWest provides support for those with disabilities. As an airline that serves millions of diverse passengers each month, SkyWest people expressed their appreciation for this opportunity to introduce the magic of aviation to those who may not have had a chance to fly before.

Get a glimpse of what it was like:

Pilots, flight attendants and other SkyWest team members who volunteer for these events say they love the opportunity to interact with all those who attend and to share their passion for aviation.

“It’s a great event because it gives the families a chance to get used to airplanes and the airport,” said Flight Operations Supervisor Andrew Johnson. Whether in the air on one of our more than 2,400 daily flights or on the ground for special events, our people do a great job of taking care of everyone.

“I was so lucky, it was just like a normal day driving in a car,” said one participant.

This year alone, SkyWest has helped provide these experiences at events in Boise, Idaho (BOI), Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI), Louisville, Kentucky (SDF), Norfolk, Virginia (ORF), Minot, North Dakota (MOT) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania (AVP). At each event you’ll find a common theme: SkyWest employees giving back and providing an exceptional experience. When asked about her favorite part as a mom, Ida Smith noted that she loves knowing people are coming together to provide valuable opportunities for children across the autism spectrum. That’s why SkyWest is proud to be a supporter of Wings for Autism.

Click here to visit our Careers page where you can learn more about how you can become a part of the SkyWest team and be involved in these types of unforgettable events.

SkyWest pilot with D-Day veteran

SkyWest Salutes D-Day Veteran on 75th Anniversary

SkyWest is honored to have been part of one veteran’s special journey back to Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Mr. Joseph Morettini, a U.S. Army veteran, was travelling to France this month for the international commemoration. These memorials and remembrances hold a special place in Mr. Morettini’s heart, as he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He is one of the few living survivors who stormed the beaches of Normandy and served in the Battle of the Bulge.

A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, Mr. Morettini flew out of Erie International Airport on a SkyWest Airlines flight to begin his journey to France. Tawyna Rexford, SkyWest Airlines Station Manager, described the airline’s role in ensuring Mr. Morettini received special treatment on his journey.

“Our team was able to organize a local American Legion Color Guard, high school JROTC procession, local business veterans group, local fire and police departments, and members of our city council and elected state officials to make an appearance in the surprise send-off,” said Rexford.

The surprise ceremony was heightened, as SkyWest worked to ensure Mr. Morettini’s entire family would be able to witness the celebration honoring their beloved relative.

“We worked behind the scenes to get Mr. Morettini’s whole family here to complete the surprise. Mr. Morettini has made many appearances over the years at all sorts of events across the country. His son has accompanied him to most of the events. In a speech given to the assembled crowd, Mr. Morettini’s son shared that this trip will be the most memorable for both of them, because this is the only event that they have been able to experience as an entire family,” said Rexford.

SkyWest Captain Taylor Spangler, accompanied by First Officer Mark Geyer and Flight Attendant Meghan Decker, presented an American flag to Mr. Morettini on behalf of SkyWest Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Rexford summarized the day’s events and recognition: “Our people have hearts of gold and unmatched passion for what they do. I am so proud that they exemplify the best qualities of what SkyWest’s Guiding Principles are all about.”

A heartfelt thank you to Mr. Morettini and to all those who have sacrificed for our freedoms.