Tag Archives: SkkyWest People

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.

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.

***

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!

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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!

SkyWest Movember Mustaches

Layne Watson

Notice: WP_User->id was called with an argument that is deprecated since version 2.1.0! Use WP_User->ID instead. in /mnt/stor6-wc2-dfw1/484858/940562/blog.skywest.com/web/content/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4080
Corporate Communications Manager

There have been a few more mustaches than usual among SkyWest employees this past month. No, the trend does not signal a change in uniform requirements. The increase in facial hair was part of Movember, a health initiative designed to bring more awareness to men’s health throughout the month of November.

Movember1

Salt Lake City CRJ Captain Jon Warner

Nick Pearson, a Los Angeles-based CRJ captain, led Team SkyWest in supporting Movember, rallying other employees to also participate in improving awareness and encouraging conversations surrounding men’s health.

“When I heard about this cause, I thought it’d be great to contribute,” said Nick. “I also used to be very fond of growing a winter beard but the mustache is the only facial hair we’re allowed to have as pilots, so I looked on this as the next best thing!”

Movember2

Los Angeles CRJ Captain Nick Pearson

Movember challenges men to alter their appearance by growing a mustache for 30 days to raise awareness and educate about men’s health issues. SkyWest employees were encouraged throughout the month to look into their own health, including screening and preventative care visits.

Thanks to Nick’s efforts, along with several dozen other SkyWest employees on his team, thousands of dollars will be donated to the Movember Foundation this year!