Tag Archives: SkyWest Family

Learning from the Best: Thanks, Dad!

For some, aviation runs in the family! We reached out to Chicago based First Officer Tristan Mazzu to share how her father – also a pilot – encouraged her aviation career.


To say I grew up around aviation was an understatement. An American Airlines pilot for a father and Delta Air Lines flight attendant for a mother made the aviation world an inevitable part of life.

Sometimes on Sundays, Dad would wake me up early in the morning and buckle me into the right seat of our Cessna 120 taildragger. It was important that it was a Sunday, because the FBO a few towns over had donuts on Sunday mornings. Some of my oldest memories are flying in that little Cessna to get Sunday donuts. The best flight of my whole life is in that taildragger with my dad.

When I was younger, I had a burning desire to go to a hot air balloon festival. As the day approached, I was told we couldn’t go. Naturally, I threw a tantrum and locked myself in my room. Dad came upstairs and informed me that he needed to gas up the airplane. Despite arguments that it wasn’t Sunday and that I was mad at him, I ended up buckled in the right seat of the Cessna. After a flight of silence, I saw something unusual outside of my window — a hot air balloon. The sky turned a million colors as the sun set and hundreds of balloons took flight below us. I gave the biggest smile to my dad as I realized nobody else would experience this moment in the same way. I think that was when I realized I preferred the air over the ground.

When I turned 18, I finally got enough sense to take a flight lesson. Having never pushed flying on me, Dad was ecstatic that it was something I chose to do. The hereditary aviation gene, plus a bite from the flying bug, made becoming a pilot my new dream and passion. Shortly after this epiphany, Dad swapped his trips around, and we spent a whole weekend visiting aviation colleges all across the country. I transferred to Utah Valley University within the next school year to become a full-time aviation student, and the rest is history.

There was not a single moment in pursuit of my dream without my Dad being a part of it. Every time I moved back and forth across the country for aviation, he was the one who helped me stuff my car full and drive wherever I was headed next. I was struggling with landings? Dad was there to encourage me and talk me through each step. I needed help studying for my checkride? Dad spent hours quizzing me about everything under the moon, from Airspace to Zulu time.

I’m skeptical that Dad may love his Cessna 120 more than me, so I’m quite honored to be the only one he’s allowed to solo it! Before I started my first job as a flight instructor, my dad and I took a big trip together in ‘Planey’ (original name, I know). It was my 21st birthday present to pack up the little taildragger and fly it on an epic cross-country trip to Oshkosh. We started in Texas, stopped by my first flight school, drifted up the Appalachian Mountains toward Maine, hopped over the border into Canada for the night, crossed back through the Great Lakes and then spent three nights in a tent under the wings at AirVenture.

One day at work, I received a text from my dad to look out the window. We had just parked at our gate, and I looked up to see this dorky guy in a pilot’s uniform waving at me. Dad had walked all the way from the L-gates on his sit, and picked up my favorite food on the way so we could hang out during my turn. He even took me to sit in the 787 flight deck. I don’t care how long you’ve been flying, that will always be cool.

It’s so cool to be working in the airline industry together! A jumpseat meet up has yet to be arranged, but I assure you, it will be happening soon. My goal is to fly a jet with my dad someday before he retires. If my little brother could join in on that flight, that’d be even cooler.

My dad inspires me, ‘plane’ and simple (sorry for the bad pun). He’s the kind of pilot I want next to me in an emergency, and who can grease a 787 on the runway like nobody’s business. If you met him or flew with him, I’d bet you’d agree with me. Not only does he inspire me as a pilot, but also as a person. I admire his pursuit of passion and his tenacious work ethic. He taught me how important hard work is and to never give up on my dreams. He has never failed to encourage me in whatever I pursue and is my biggest advocate. I know I would not be the person I am today without his endless motivational speeches, constant love and undying support. I am so proud and blessed to be his daughter and to be following in his footsteps.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dads out there, and especially to you Padre! I love you!


Happy Father’s Day to our SkyWest people helping to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals! We’re grateful to fathers like Tristan’s for inspiring her to join the SkyWest family of aviators.

SkyWest Offers Flight Rehearsal with Wings for Autism

Freddy Lemmo
Corporate Communications Coordinator

For many, the task of going to the airport, boarding a plane and reaching their final destination is pretty simple. Most travelers have learned that lines and big crowds in the airport are a typical part of the travel process. But for others, especially those on the autism spectrum, and their families, the task of going to the airport can be new and stressful. That’s why SkyWest Airlines once again teamed up with Fresno Yosemite International Airport, The Arc of Fresno, TSA, Delta Global Service and Hewlett Packard, to offer Wings for Autism in Fresno for some very special passengers.

Wings for Autism offers airport “rehearsals” specifically designed to alleviate the stress that children with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities, and their families, experience when flying.

“Going through security for the first time was a little intimidating,” said SFO First Officer Antonio Puentes, who volunteered at the event. The event was even more meaningful for First Officer Puentes because his son, Mateo, is autistic. “Coming through and you’ve got these machines, and you’ve got people standing around. You’ve got the big conveyor belts. That can be very stressful. And so getting through that with an extra help was a tremendous benefit for them.”

As part of the event, 50 children and their families got a first-hand look at what to expect at the airport and on an aircraft. After checking in at the ticket counter, they were greeted by members of the TSA, who explained what to expect in the screening process. They then gathered at the gate, where SkyWest crewmembers greeted them and talked to each child individually.

The children then boarded a SkyWest CRJ200, complete with a special sendoff from crews lined up on each side of the aircraft. After a full safety demonstration from the flight attendants, they taxied around the airport while enjoying snacks and beverages. They were welcomed back to the gate with high fives and plenty of smiles.

“It’s such a great experience, being able to fly and go new places, and they get to experience that by going through this process first,” said Melissa Perry of the Fresno Yosemite Airport. “They are getting a social story to help them through exactly what they did today, and then they can take that with them when they get ready to go on their [next] trip.”

Thank you to the SkyWest people who volunteered countless hours of coordination and expertise to share their love of flying and provide these families with memories that will last a lifetime! Learn more about joining the SkyWest team.

 

SkyWest Family Shows Up During Time Of Need

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

“If you ask why I choose SkyWest, I’ll tell you it’s the culture!”

Those were words written by Kirksey Hagan, a new SkyWest CRJ first officer in training. She joined the SkyWest team last month and had an immediate introduction to the SkyWest family going above and beyond after she experienced a medical emergency.

When Kirksey woke up in serious pain a couple of weeks ago, she reached out to a friend she had made in training class, Brent Blackmore. It was a very early morning wake-up call after several rigorous days of training, but Brent stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some medicine before driving Kirksey to urgent care. She was advised to go straight to the emergency room, and Brent drove her there and waited with her until she was diagnosed. Training Admin Manager Jen Baron left work immediately to meet them there.

Kirksey and Jen

Kirksey needed an emergency appendectomy, and her family was not be able to make it to the hospital in time. Jen stayed at the hospital through the surgery, working with the SkyWest Travel Center to coordinate travel to Salt Lake City for Kirksey’s family. She also contacted the training and housing teams to fill them in on Kirksey’s situation. She even offered for Kirksey to stay with her family to help her recover over the Easter weekend. After surgery, another classmate also drove to the hospital to bring an overnight essentials bag and check in on her.

“In a time where I felt my lowest, I had my SkyWest family taking care of me,” she said. “They truly honor and stick to their Guiding Principles, and I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to, and made the decision to, come to SkyWest Airlines.”

Kirksey’s story is just one example of the more than 13,000 SkyWest employees who continually make it a priority to take care of each other. Learn more about the SkyWest team: http://ow.ly/3TU450hdoBQ 

 

SkyWest Bands Together in Relief Efforts

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

In recent weeks, Mother Nature has made her presence known across the states, with Hurricane Harvey making landfall and devastating parts of Texas and Louisiana, then Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria following in Florida and Puero Rico respectively. In true SkyWest fashion, people stepped forward immediately asking how they could help their team members in need.

SkyWest HomeThankfully, all SkyWest people are safe. However, several have experienced tremendous property loss due to the historic flooding. SkyWest is offering a myriad of resources to support our people, from personal outreach from leaders to SOS: Crisis Fund resources for those in Harvey’s path. Additionally, SOS: Family Assistance is available to those on an approved personal leave of absence to take time to rebuild and recuperate from the flooding. Family Assistance allows SkyWest team members to donate their user and vacation hours to those on an approved leave.

SkyWest Crisis Fund Recipients Rebuilding

SkyWest Crisis Fund Recipients Rebuilding

Since the hurricane, SkyWest people have donated $15,000 to the SOS: Crisis Fund, with those funds going directly to SkyWest employees who’ve experienced loss from Harvey’s path. SkyWest has already granted more than $50,000 to our people and we continue to receive and fund applications as the harsh realities of the storm’s effects settle in.

In addition to directly helping our people, we’ve worked with the Red Cross and donated $10,000 to help provide aide and an American Red Cross Emergency Vehicle in flood areas. We continue to work with the Red Cross and other relief organizations to coordinate efforts on support and relief.

No matter the challenge, SkyWest people are a family and rise to support each other in times of need. And that is the Spirit of SkyWest.

SkyWest Scholarship Program Awards 45 Outstanding Students

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

Congratulations to this year’s SkyWest Scholarship recipients! SkyWest is home to the best and brightest in the industry and that fact was emphasized by the caliber of employees and dependents vying for a shot at this year’s awards. More than 150 driven students with lofty goals and aspirations applied for a chance to receive one of three different scholarships to assist them in their pursuits of higher education.

Captain Morgan Simmons, E175 Fleet Training Manager

Captain Morgan Simmons, E175 Fleet Training Manager

Coincidently, as SkyWest celebrates 45 years of flying in 2017, this year’s evaluations resulted in awards for 45 remarkable students! The recipients had a diverse range of academic ambitions to enhance their lives and those around them. In fact, Presidential Scholarship recipient Captain Morgan Simmons, E175 Fleet Training Manager recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first solo flight. He continues to fulfill his childhood aviation dreams by helping to lead SkyWest’s exceptional pilot training program for its fleet of over 100 E175 aircraft. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Factors to find ways to continue enhancing aviation safety and training. And Chicago ERJ First Officer Simon Biaggini who also received a Presidential award, is now studying to receive a Master’s Degree in Aviation and Transportation Science after serving in the Israeli Air Force and bringing his dream of flying to America as he plans to advance his career in aviation

ERJ First Officer Simon Biaggini

The SkyWest Scholarship Committee, made up of representatives from each of the SkyWest employee groups, volunteered countless hours to evaluate more than 150 applications. Each application was scored on a variety of criteria, including GPA, career interests, future goals extracurricular activities and unique challenges. With so many bright and goal-driven applicants, the committee was charged with the difficult task of identifying the cream of the crop!

From graduate students to college freshmen, each of the recipients exemplifies what sets SkyWest apart: dedication and hard work to achieve big dreams. Congratulations to each of this year’s SkyWest Scholarship recipients! We look forward to watching you soar in your academic and professional pursuits!

Families that Fly Together: Thanks Dad!

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

For brothers Robert and Cory Rice, SkyWest is quite literally part of the family. Inspired to become pilots by their father, retired SkyWest Captain Brent Rice, Robert and Cory told us about how aviation, and SkyWest, runs in their blood.

“Before my dad got into flying he was in a high stress business,” said Captain Cory Rice. “I saw him so much more as a pilot than with his old job; he flew for SkyWest from 1986 to 2000. He had a good time flying.”

Captain Robert Rice continued, “I had never seen him happier than when he made the switch to flying at SkyWest. He switched to doing something he loved and getting paid to do it. It was a completely new, challenging experience. [I learned to] make sure you do something you love and love what you do. Then, when you’re working it doesn’t feel like working.”

Cory remembers early on his dad would talk about how great SkyWest and the lifestyle was.

“It was definitely a SkyWest family that I saw firsthand,” said Cory. “He had made so many friends and loved it so much, that it inspired us all to do our flight training as soon as we could.”

And by all, he means all four of the Rice siblings! Their little sister also flew for SkyWest and their oldest brother also received his pilots’ licenses, and the siblings had the rare chance to train together and fly together over the years.Rice Family 2

Robert remembers flying in the EMB120 Brasilia with his dad – he even had the chance to fly with him for an entire month! When asked what he learned from that experience, Robert said, “What I learned is you can be a safe pilot, obey all the rules and still have fun. If you treat your fellow workers with kindness and respect you always get the best effort.”

“My dad is a pretty laid back guy and he taught us to be laid back and rational and to never jump to make a bad decision,” said Cory. “That and the value of friendships within the company. It’s where I’ve met my closest friends.”

At least one Captain Rice has flown at SkyWest over the past 31 years, and they’ve seen plenty of changes to the airline and the industry. Still, some things haven’t changed at all.

“Even though SkyWest has gotten much bigger than when I first was hired, it still has that family feel,” said Robert. “I found out long ago from my Dad’s example that this job is what you make it; respect everyone and enjoy life!”

Pilot Becomes Life Changing Pen Pal

Thirteen-year-old Samuel and his mom have become frequent SkyWest passengers as they’ve traveled to receive treatment for Samuel’s medical complications. Last summer, while waiting to board a SkyWest aircraft, Samuel got the chance to speak to the pilot, Seattle ERJ Captain Jeff Ross. The brief interaction gave Samuel a new friend and a new outlook on life.

Samuel’s mother recently sent us a letter expressing her thanks and describing her son’s incredible experience:

This is something I’ve attempted to write many times, but I’ve never been able to find the words that accurately describe how incredible our experience has been or do this story justice…

Last summer, …[Sam] got the chance to speak to the pilot a bit… We were surprised to see the same man the next day for our return flight and happy to find out that he not only remembered Sam, but that he would once again be our captain.

The two took a photo together and Captain Ross gave Sam an email address, asking if he could forward the photo along.

Jeff

Before long, they were exchanging letters and postcards. Jeff sent an old receiver of his to Sam because they fly over us heading into and out of BOI and it would allow Sam to listen and learn. He’s also sent books Sam’s way, encouraged him to keep on reading and to work hard in school and reminded him of how strong and brave he is when Sam has had to face more scary or painful procedures.

Eight months later, Sam is happier than ever, no longer saying things like he wishes he’d never been born (something that had been becoming more frequently heard because he’d grown so very weary from being different and dealing with pain).

I just wanted to thank you for hiring people like Jeff who go above and beyond on a daily basis. We have thoroughly enjoyed almost all of our flights and its because of the people you choose to hire.

As of today, Sam and Captain Jeff are good friends who spend time planning the ultimate trip they could take together if money wasn’t an issue. So far, it includes flying upside down, jumping out of a plane, visiting Legoland and Disney World and spending lots of time in a flight simulator. Sam understands this trip isn’t possible, but just dreaming about it has put a smile on his face.

Captain Jeff has changed Sam’s life, filled it with joy and helped him to deal with the things that make him different while also embracing and celebrating them at the same time because its all part of what makes Sam an incredible person.

Thank you, Captain Ross, for your compassion, kindness and leadesrhip. His is one of many amazing examples of SkyWest people making a positive difference. Read more incredible stories like this.

Interested in joining the phenomenal SkyWest team? Learn more about positions at SkyWest Airlines at www.skywest.com/careers.

Welcome SkyWest Future Flyers!

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Over the past couple of weeks, SkyWest people in several locations gave a warm welcome to our Future Flyers as part of Bring Our Kids to Work Day 2017. These events gave kids a firsthand look into SkyWest and what it takes to safely operate 2,000 flights a day across the country.

Events were highlighted by VIP tours of airport facilities, training simulators, and airplanes, where kids got the opportunity to sit in the flight deck and make “safety announcements.” And while not every location could accommodate tours, there was plenty of hands-on experience with marshaling aircraft, assembling aircraft parts and learning all about what it takes to become a pilot.

LAX Captain Louis Yu was able to bring his wife and two daughters to the event held at SkyWest Headquarters – the family left with a lasting impression.

“In our children’s minds, SkyWest is now an experience and a memory,” said Captain Yu.636294072247500077

Speaking to a room of bright-eyed and excited children, SkyWest, Inc. CEO Chip Childs reminded them what SkyWest is all about.

“Your moms and dads are the very best in the industry and they do the work they do because they love you so much,” he said. “That’s what makes SkyWest such a special place.”

Thanks to everyone who attended and all those who coordinated the many events. It’s always a fun day to have our future flyers in the workplace. We look forward to welcoming the next generation of flyers to the SkyWest team in the next 10-15 years!

 

Read more stories about SkyWest People.

SkyWest Top Service Moments of 2016

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

Whether it’s taking care of our fleet, our operation, our passengers or our employees, SkyWest people provide great acts of service every day of the year. With the New Year upon us, take a look at just a few of the top service stories shared with us in 2016.


  • CaptureCaptain Praised for Act of Kindness

In April, a mother and her young children were on a late-night flight. As the mom struggled to carry her sleeping children and the family’s luggage off the aircraft, Captain Tracy Woodbury came to assist, offering to carry the sleeping toddler to help the family get home. The mother was so touched she shared the story in a Facebook post. Read the full story here.

  • Flight Attendant Helps Passenger Make Crucial Connection

Passenger Joe Stevens reached out to us to pass along his thanks to Flight Attendant Manuel Parra. If it wasn’t for Manuel’s service, Joe told us he likely would have missed his international flight connection to travel to his ill wife.

“I fly frequently and have never received such helpful, friendly service from any flight attendant comparable to the service I received from Manuel,” Joe said. “I told Manuel that I had a very short layover before I had to board a connecting flight to Asia to meet with my wife, who was ill. Our flight was close to an hour late leaving, and I was concerned I wouldn’t have time to make my connection.”

As promised to Joe, Manuel helped him through the immigration desk, the customs desk, the kiosk to get his boarding pass, and then through the security gate – just in time for Joe to board as the last passenger.

“For a flight attendant to offer such help is rare, and I want to let you know how much I appreciated him,” Joe continued. “I would definitely have missed my flight otherwise. Not only was his level of service far beyond what I have experienced on my many flights over the years, it was also beyond any level of customer service I have received in any industry. Manuel is much more than just an excellent flight attendant; he is an excellent person.”

  • CS Supervisor Flies with Unaccompanied Minor

img_0668An Aspen deaf camp counselor arrived at the local airport with a 12 year-old boy whose parents purchased a last-minute ticket home to Austin, Texas due to a family emergency. There was one problem; the flight had a connection in Denver. United Airlines does not allow unaccompanied minors under the age of 15 to travel alone during a connecting flight. The family was unaware of the policy, and the camp’s counselor was unable to accompany the boy home.

That’s when Customer Service Supervisor Zak Sidibe took it upon himself to help. On his own time, he flew as a passenger with the boy to Denver to escort him to his connecting flight back home to Austin. Zak communicated with the boy’s deaf parents via text message every step of the way. Thanks to his genuine kindness and heartfelt generosity, the family had some peace of mind knowing their son was in good hands to get home safely during a trying situation.

  • SLC Maintenance Team Donates Time and Talent to Leonardo Museum 

Leo BufferRecently, mechanics at our 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. Read the full story here.

  • Pilot Reaches Out to Young Passenger’s Parents During Diversion

Captain Peter Wagstaff recently went the extra mile when he made sure an unaccompanied minor and his anxious parents were informed during a diversion. He sat with the boy and allowed the boy to use his phone to call his parents and let them know what had happened. We received a letter from the child’s parents thanking Captain Wagstaff.

“The captain continued to keep us updated via texts on the progress of the plane,” mother Beth Shanker said, “As a parent of an unaccompanied minor, it was a relief to know someone was watching out for my son. We really appreciated the captain’s updates. He should be commended for the customer service.”

  • “I’m Your Match!” SkyWest Flight Attendant Donates Kidney to Co-worker 

JeAfter an ongoing battle against her kidney disorder, Tonuah Trujillo, a Seattle-based SkyWest flight attendant had received the bad news – her kidney function had declined to 12 percent, and she was going to need kidney dialysis or a transplant very soon. As Tonuah was preparing for dialysis due to the lack of donor matches, an incredible thing was taking place behind the scenes. For nearly three months, Chicago-based SkyWest flight attendant Jeanette Perez was taking numerous tests to see if she was a match for Tonuah.

“I became aware of Tonuah’s need via Facebook back in the fall. Long story short, I went through test after test to see if I was her match with the mentality of ‘if it’s meant to be, it will,’” Jeanette said. “I was finally given the go at the end of January and told Tonuah the good news. She did not know I was testing. She didn’t even know who I was really – other than our one time meeting on a Christmas deadhead.”

Read the full story here.


As illustrated by these stories ­– and even more from the year– SkyWest people deliver extraordinary service each day. With more than 30 million passengers this past year, SkyWest’s more than 11,500 aviation professionals have proven what it means to go above and beyond. Looking at joining the SkyWest team? Learn more by visiting www.skywest.com/careers