Tag Archives: Maintenance

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Nicole Manson, Dispatcher, HDQ

For SkyWest Dispatcher Nicole Manson, being Native American is something that she is proud of and holds close to her heart. She is a member of the Diné (Navajo) Tribe and was born and raised in LeChee, Arizona.

Growing up on the Navajo reservation, Nicole credits her heritage and upbringing for the strong person that she is today.

“I can’t think of being anything else than Native American,” said Nicole. “I am proud of my heritage, ancestors and the lessons I’ve learned.”

Before coming to SkyWest, Nicole worked for a tourism company at the Page Municipal Airport. There she became good friends with a number of pilots who flew for Grand Canyon Airlines, and who later moved to SkyWest. Nicole decided to learn more about SkyWest, learned about dispatching and the rest was history.

“I honestly didn’t know this dispatchers existed until just a couple of years ago,” Nicole said with a smile. “I laugh now because it’s such a vital position. My family and friends were puzzled by my job title at first, but the amount of support I received from them was immeasurable. After I received my license, I applied at SkyWest and it’s been a great ride ever since. I’m truly blessed to be able to work for a great company.”

 Nicolette Shirley, Flight Attendant, SLC

SLC Flight Attendant Nicolette Shirley is Diné and grew up

in both the Navajo Nation and Salt Lake City.

“I am proud to be Diné and carry my traditions/values with me,” said Nicolette. “The Diné live by Hózhó. It’s a guiding belief that shapes our actions, thoughts and speech that impacts yourself as well as those around you, and I try to bring a positive impact with those I cross paths with whether it’s with my crew or passengers.”

Prior to becoming a SkyWest flight attendant in 2017, Nicolette hadn’t journeyed east of Colorado.

“Fortunately,” said Nicolette, “SkyWest has given me the opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and travel further than I imagined. There’s a lot of Indigenous influence all around. When we overnight in places such as Kalispell, Winnipeg, Chicago, Seattle, and Oklahoma City they derive from Indigenous words. It’s always good to learn more about where we travel to and grant reverence.”

Michael Gardner, Maintenance Technician, SLC

SLC Mechanic II Michael Gardner is both Athabaskin and Inuit, two tribes native to Alaska, and although he was adopted and raised outside of his tribal community, Michael still feels a strong connection to his Alaskan Native heritage.

“I’m adopted so my parents are not fully immersed in the traditional native way of life,” he said. “I enjoy being unique in the sense that it’s not very often that I’m in a room with other natives. It’s ok to be different.”

Although Michael is proud of who he is, he does admit sometimes he feels pressure being an Alaskan Native.

“I feel some pressure knowing that some natives do have a challenging environment to mature and grow in. I adhere strongly with the notions of education, hard work, and confidence in yourself and your abilities which as a result can showcase ones strengths and beliefs. Trying to be an example to younger generations, including my children, drives me to push forward with fortitude.”

That fortitude pushed Michael to 21 years of customer service in the casino industry and now nearly two years with SkyWest as a mechanic.

“In every professional process there are steps to obtaining your goal,” he added. “No goal worth your time can be accomplished overnight. Enjoying the process of learning and becoming who you ultimately want to be in life will give you a sense of pride and self-worth. It’s your life, live it.”

Rick Meyer, ERJ Captain, LAX

For ERJ Captain Rick Meyer, flying planes was something that he always wanted to do. However, without any family ties to aviation, becoming a pilot wasn’t the typical path in his family.

“I was really into airplanes at a young age,” he said. “My mom would take me to the airport and I would just sit in my stroller and watch the planes take off and land. I loved it and as I grew up, I knew it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Captain Meyer is a citizen of the Potawatomi Tribe in Shawnee, Oklahoma. While he didn’t grown up on a reservation, he did visit every summer, which gave him a chance to learn more about his culture and heritage.

“It’s crazy to think I’ve been with SkyWest for nearly half of my life,” said Meyer. “But I’ve loved it. Before coming to SkyWest, I worked for another regional company and I quickly realized how great SkyWest was when I made the switch. It has a great culture, great company, everyone is working together. No matter how big the company it still feels like family.”

Sam Capitan, Flight Attendant, SLC

Sam Capitan is a member of the Navajo Nation. He has been flying with SkyWest since 2019 and is based in Salt Lake City (SLC) as a flight attendant. He loves the aviation industry and hopes to eventually become a pilot.

“I am proud to be Navajo,” said Capitan. “Unfortunately, a lot of tribes have gone extinct. However, there are numerous Native American Tribes still in existence. This demonstrates the resilience of our People.” Read more

Craig Strongbow, Cross Utilized Agent, PIH

Craig is a proud member of the Shoshone- Bannock Tribes.

“I am a Native,” said Strongbow, who said that is how he thinks of himself. “I can’t imagine being anything different. Natives are tough and persistent. I love my culture and what it represents; it’s different. It’s not often one hears about Natives, we are a very small minority.”

“We are all family at PIH; we go to each other’s birthdays, and events, and even have a book club,” said Strongbow. “The benefits we get working at SkyWest make even the hard stuff we do so worth it. Our station has a great connection.”  Read more

 

SkyWest’s First Female Maintenance Controller

Melissa Serrano is no ordinary mechanic. Starting her career at SkyWest in 2015 in the ORD hangar, Serrano is now the first female maintenance controller in SkyWest Airlines history.

”I knew it was a man’s field, but I knew it was something I could do,” said Serrano.

When an aircraft is removed from service for maintenance, the maintenance controller is consulted by line mechanics and pilots to help troubleshoot all procedures. After the aircraft has been properly diagnosed and repaired if necessary, it is the responsibility of the maintenance controller to give final clearance before returning the aircraft to scheduled service.

“With every aircraft that is put back into service, I put my license on the line. I sign it, it’s my signature. It’s something that I take seriously; I have worked too hard for this,” said Serrano.

When she was a young girl, Serrano’s mother drove an airport shuttle in Atlanta. She recalls going to work with her mother often, and as they drove the back roads to the airport Serrano would stare at the jetliners with amazement. She always enjoyed working with her hands and became addicted to the independence provided by fixing something herself. Later, she joined the JROTC, where she would step foot in an aircraft hangar for the first time.

“That first time I smelled jet fuel, I knew what I wanted to do,” said a confident Serrano.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight. Getting her A&P license alone was years of sacrifice and hard work. While in school full-time at AIM in Atlanta, Serrano worked as a parts clerk at a freight line, fitting 36 hours of work into her two-day weekend. On top of that, she went to school Monday through Thursday, and worked part-time at a hotel during the week.

Serrano secured her first job, post A&P school, at a general aircraft maintenance company. There, she would learn invaluable lessons about asserting yourself and being confident in your abilities. Often being taken off projects because her male counterparts didn’t feel comfortable working with a woman, she recalls one instance where she and a coworker were at impasse while diagnosing a problem. His demeaning remarks were that she would be better off making sandwiches. Her diagnostic was proven right.

“Do your research and know what you are talking about,” says Serrano. “Then, you can confidently stand your ground, because you believe in what you say.”

Once she made it to SkyWest, she worked hard on the hangar floor, learning from her many mentors. She quickly realized that SkyWest was different.

“SkyWest is a great place to work. If you want the experience, someone will take you under their wing. SkyWest takes me seriously, my supervisors take me seriously and they are confident in my expertise.”

Serrano became interested in the maintenance controller position after talking with a co-worker. After a few conversations, she set her sights on becoming the first female maintenance controller in SkyWest history. After an intense interview process and extensive training, Serrano took her first solo shift with authority.

SkyWest Maintenance Manager Wayne Wignall says, “She has worked very hard and has come a long way. She does a fantastic job.”

Serrano has a few words of advice for any woman out there looking to enter into what might be considered a man’s profession:

“Stay positive. Feeling sad isn’t going to do something for your future. Learn what you can and move on. Nobody should stop you from getting your experience; just work hard and have confidence in yourself.”

Melissa, we are proud to have you on the SkyWest team. Keep up the great work and continue to soar!

SkyWest Welcomes Industry Leading Aircraft Maintenance Log

For more than four and half decades, SkyWest Airlines has led the way for operational and safety advancements in the regional airline industry. Today, after years of preparation and led by cross-departmental collaboration, each of SkyWest’s 443 aircraft is fully equipped with an Electronic Maintenance Log (eAML). SkyWest is the first commercial airline in the United States to equip and operate its entire fleet with the new FAA-approved technology.

“The eAML provides a significant boost to our already-robust maintenance program,” said SkyWest Chief Operating Officer Mike Thompson. “The elimination of paper streamlines processes from the flight deck to maintenance technicians and our operations control center teams, resulting in improved reliability that benefits employees and customers alike.”

Enhancing our teams’ ability to track and manage aircraft airworthiness, the eAML will provide real-time maintenance data for each aircraft. Not only does this reduce the risk of human error, it also improves response time for repairs, meaning fewer maintenance-related delays for passengers.

Thank you to the numerous individuals and teams at SkyWest who spent countless hours over the last two years to develop and implement this new technology. The eAML demonstrates SkyWest’s ongoing commitment to providing safe, reliable flights for our more than 36 million passengers.

 

SkyWest Maintenance Teams Give Back in Salt Lake City

SkyWest’s maintenance team is among the best in the industry; and their experience working nose to tail on our four fleet types provides an unmatched level of expertise. Recently, mechanics at our SLC (Salt Lake City) maintenance base volunteered their time and expertise to the Leonardo Museum, sharing their love for the miracle of flight with the museum’s 180,000 annual visitors. After helping to reconstruct a C-131 aircraft inside the museum for the opening of the FLIGHT exhibit earlier this year, the SkyWest Maintenance team volunteered their time to restore the plane’s luster and shine.Leo Ryan and Kim

“Working on aircraft is part of the love of being a mechanic; giving back to the community is an added bonus,” said Donovan Johnson – Coordinator Maintenance Facilities, SLC. “The Leonardo is an important part of Salt Lake, and we’re happy to do our part to make our community a little better.

Cleaning a 1950’s military era twin-engine aircraft like the C-131 is no simple task. After the museum closed each night, SkyWest people worked to buff, polish and clean the aircraft, bringing its ‘50’s era luster back for the tens of thousands of museum visitors. The volunteers worked through the night for four days straight, using various cleaning and polish equipment as they covered themselves in dust and grime to transform the aircraft from dull to sparkling. By the time they were done, the C-131 had enough shine to see your own reflection!

SkyWest mechanics are a team of nearly 1,000 professionals who work at 12 bases across the United States. They work on the regional industry’s largest – and growing – fleet of 360 aircraft from nose to tail. These highly qualified individuals provide for the safe transportation of more than 30 million SkyWest passengers each year. Their work on the Leonardo is just one example of the hard work and pride that SkyWest professionals take in every aircraft they touch. Thank you to those who volunteered their time and talents to help give back to the community.

Leo Team

Interested in joining our team of professional mechanics? We have openings at bases and are offering moving expense reimbursement! Click here to find out more about becoming a SkyWest mechanic and to apply.

The Leonardo Museum was created to embody the spirit of the Renaissance Man and help the community discover their inner genius. For more information about the FLIGHT exhibit at The Leonardo, click here.