Tag Archives: SkyWest People

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.

Watertown Veteran Honor Flight

SkyWest Teams Serving Those Who Have Served

SkyWest teams provide impeccable service to hundreds of thousands of passengers every month, including veterans and active members of the military. This has provided a variety of opportunities to recognize them for their service and has sparked some unforgettable friendships. Here are just a few recent examples.

Navy SEAL Reunion

The following is from Marianne Seibert who was traveling with her husband on SkyWest-operated flights from Kansas City, Missouri (MCI) to San Diego, California (SAN).

We were traveling to San Diego for my husband’s Navy SEAL reunion. Once on board, we couldn’t believe how friendly and helpful the flight attendants, Grace Pakiser and Sandra Robb, were. They never sat down and were constantly checking on the needs of the passengers and having conversations with them. When it came our turn to tell the flight attendant about our travel plans, we told her about my husband being a Navy SEAL, how he graduated from SEAL Training in 1969 in SAN and that we were traveling back for his 50-year reunion. We weren’t sure if we would make it to the reunion because of my husband’s health problems, so we were very excited.

Later, we were exiting the plane and I thought my husband was right behind me. I turned around to see he was still in the aircraft talking to the pilot. The flight attendant had told the captain, Zack Brown, about our trip and he told my husband he lived near the reunion celebration. My husband invited him to attend but I thought there was no way he really would.

Zack came to the reunion! He was so engaging, likable and wonderful. He stayed with us for three hours and by the time he left, we invited him to our ranch this fall to help gather cattle. We made a real friend in Zack. I asked if he would be our pilot on the way back and he said he wasn’t sure, but he’d make sure we were taken care of.

We were the first to board the plane on our way home Monday. When we got on, the flight attendants, Stacy Gobert and Erin Galbraith, were expecting us. Zack had emailed them and told them to take good care of us. As the plane was taxiing, Stacy made an announcement that we were onboard, honoring us and congratulating John for his service and his 50th year SEAL team graduation celebration. After the clapping was over, and as we took off, a military band rendition of Anchors Away was played over the intercom. My husband and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes.

I wasn’t surprised about the great service we had on the flight back because of how excellent it was on the way there. Whenever I have a chance, I’m going to fly SkyWest.

Pilot with Navy SEAL

Honor Flight

In late September, SkyWest had the opportunity to welcome 35 Vietnam veterans and their family members onboard a new flight from Watertown, South Dakota (ATY) to Chicago (ORD) as they were making their way to Washington, D.C. Teams on the ground and in the flight deck did a great job making it a memorable trip, including red carpet treatment from the ATY airport operations agents and special announcements made by the flight crew.

The veterans were heading to the capitol in honor of their service and to visit monuments in the area. The special group consisted of veterans from South Dakota and Minnesota and, for many of them, it was their first flight since returning from the war.

Watertown Honor Flight

Utah Patriot Partner

SkyWest has been recognized by Utah Governor Gary Herbert as a Patriot Partner. The recognition is thanks to the work being done to extend priority considerations and enhanced hiring opportunities for the men and women of the armed forces. SkyWest is a proud military employer and is home to more than 1,600 men and women who have or are currently serving in the military.

Utah Patriot Partner

SkyWest team members do a great job every day to provide exceptional service and to recognize the men and women of our armed forces. Click here to learn more about how you can get started with our incredible team.

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.

 

 

SkyWest Appreciation Week

SkyWest Teams Celebrate Appreciation Week 2019!

Appreciation Week is a unique time at SkyWest Airlines. It’s a full week that is set aside to celebrate the more than 14,000 people that make SkyWest the industry’s best. This year the week was filled with food, games, photo booths, visits from executive leaders, and much more. It’s a time to have fun and to recognize the incredible work that SkyWest people do every day.

During the past year, SkyWest teams have done amazing things by working together. This summer saw a new record level of flying with more than 2,500 daily flights! More than a dozen new aircraft have rolled out of the factory and joined the SkyWest fleet so far this year. A new maintenance base is opening in San Luis Obispo, California. Teams from across SkyWest have given back to their communities through charitable causes including Habitat for Humanity, Wings for Autism, and many more. And the list of accomplishments just continues to grow!

Take a look at the photo gallery below for a glimpse into the fun and festivities that were happening in domiciles, hangars and terminals across the country. To get in on the fun as a part of the SkyWest team, visit our Careers page and submit an application today.

Father’s Day: Following in Dad’s Footsteps

Brayden and Lynn Bell

For many pilots, having the opportunity to be at the controls of an aircraft with their dad is a far-fetched dream.

At SkyWest Airlines, those dreams are a reality for generations of family pilots who work at the company and at times, even fly together.

“It has been the highlight of my career to be able to work next to my son,” said SkyWest CRJ Captain Michael Jense. “Chris and I have been blessed to fly numerous trips together and it has been great to be able to hang out on the overnight trips too.”

Whether it was spending time working at his grandfather’s aircraft maintenance shop, taking family trips thanks to the travel benefits, or seeing the joy on his dad’s face because he was doing what he loved, Chris fell in love with aviation and is thankful for his dad’s help and guidance as he began taking flying lessons when he was 16 years old.

Michael Jense (CA, CRJ) and Chris Jense (CA, CRJ)

“My dad has helped me out so much and I’ve enjoyed being able to fly different trips with him,” said SkyWest CRJ Captain Chris Jense. “Coming to SkyWest was an easy decision for me because of the company’s exceptional reputation and the opportunities it gives its employees.”

For Chris, flying was in his blood as a fourth-generation pilot.

Dave Bechtold (CA, CRJ) and Dylan Bechtold (CA, CRJ)

“The poor kid never had a chance,” Michael laughs. “But honestly it’s great to see him doing what he loves.”

That passion, combined with SkyWest’s values, continues to drive the airline’s close-knit family culture even as it has grown to become the world’s largest regional airline with nearly 14,000 aviation professionals operating more than 2,500 daily flights.

Captain Dylan Bechtold got an early start at SkyWest thanks to his father, CRJ Captain Dave Bechtold, who has more than three decades of experience at SkyWest.

“I grew up in the SkyWest training department and know most of the senior pilots,” said Dylan. “Because of that, I knew firsthand the culture and commitment the company has in its employees, and with my parents and my aunt working at SkyWest, it was an easy choice for me to join the team.”

Together they have taken a number of trips in what Dave calls “an unforgettable experience.”

“To be in the cockpit and flying together was a proud moment,” said Dave.

For ERJ Captain Marshall Rub and his son Captain Jeffrey Rub, the opportunity to work alongside each other is one of the reasons why they don’t want to go anywhere else.

Marshall Rub (CA, ERJ) and Jeffrey Rub (CA, ERJ)

“I was Jeff’s instructor when he first started to fly and the rest has been history,” said Marshall.

For CRJ Captain Garry Poulton, working at SkyWest quickly became his goal as he began working as a flight instructor in Reno, Nevada.

“I had heard a lot of good things about SkyWest and it’s been more than I could have ever imagined,” said Captain Poulton. “The camaraderie among crewmembers, the family culture, the opportunities, including flying with my son (Denton Poulton), have all been so great.”

So far, the father and son pilots have flown twice together.

“When I got into aviation I never thought much about my children wanting to follow in my footsteps,” said Captain Garry Poulton. “I have seen, in the past, other pilots who had flown with their children and seen the smile on their faces. I know what those feelings of pride and accomplishment are like now.”

For Denton, being a pilot was always his dream as he watched his father leave for work in his uniform.

“My dad was my ultimate role model,” he said. “Where kids wanted to grow up to be professional athletes, Hollywood stars or the next President of the United States, I wanted to grow up to be like my Dad.”

Garry Poulton (CA, CRJ) and Denton Poulton (FO, CRJ)

A similarly unforgettable experience occurred last year for Brent Wilson, a SkyWest pilot and manager of aircraft operations, along with his son Michael, a first officer. They had the chance to operate their first flight together as they took delivery of one of the company’s newest E175 aircraft at the Embraer factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.

“It was an amazing experience and such a great moment for me and our family,” said Michael. “It’s something we’ll never forget.”

These examples and experiences are just a few of the many pilots, flight attendants, maintenance professionals, customer service agents and more who have had the unique opportunity of working together with their family at SkyWest.

Happy Father’s Day to all our SkyWest Fathers teaching their children to soar! To learn more about becoming a part of the SkyWest family, go to skywest.com.

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.

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!

Preparing for Flight: Autism Awareness Events

Few things bring as much wonder and excitement to little children as flying on a big aircraft to diverse locations. But for some, especially those with Autism and other sensory sensitivities, this experience is anything but exciting. It can be overwhelming and even a little scary.

To help, several SkyWest teams have recently joined forces with The Arc, the Autism Society, TSA and our mainline partners to host Wings For Autism events. These events allow children with Autism and other sensory sensitivities to participate in a flight rehearsal designed to alleviate some of the stress that they might otherwise experience when traveling by air. The recent Wings For Autism days were held in Louisville, Kentucky (SDF), Norfolk, Virginia (ORF), Minot, North Dakota (MOT), and Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI).

Hours of coordination go into each event to allow for the best possible experience for the children. SkyWest general station managers, along with other key stakeholders, spend months in preparation.

“The true stars of the event were our awesome crews who stepped right in by engaging and educating the families in such a positive way,” said General Manager Vince Bogdanovich. “They were patient, attentive, and helped make many future flyers a possibility.”

“It was rewarding to give back time to those who most need it,” said ORD CRJ Captain TJ Darling. “It was an honor and privilege to help. The kids were so excited to hear about the airplane and interact with the crew. What a privilege it was to share our expertise with such a deserving and grateful audience. It was a way to make others’ lives better and there is no better feeling.”

“Navigating an airport is such a nerve-racking experience for everyone on their first time,” added ORD First Officer Kurt Guillan. “To be able to provide an experience for the participants is something all of us involved should be proud of. Knowing I played my small part in helping them gain confidence in a challenging environment is something I take pride in. My crew really hit this one out of the park and showed what it means to be part of the SkyWest family.”

Many thanks 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!

SkyWest’s First Mother-Daughter Pilots Take to the Skies

SkyWest CRJ Captain Suzy Garrett has much to celebrate this Mother’s Day. Reaching 30 years of SkyWest service May 1, Captain Garrett is one of SkyWest’s longest-tenured pilots and was the eleventh female pilot hired at SkyWest. Her husband Doug flies at American Airlines after a decade with SkyWest, their son Mark is currently building his flight hours and their daughter Donna began SkyWest flight training this month.

“We absolutely love our jobs. You don’t see that too much in other occupations,” Captain Garrett explained. “None of our kids were thinking about becoming pilots, but when you start looking at other careers that are out there, sitting in an office, and then see how happy we are — it opened their eyes.”

Now, as Donna completes SkyWest’s CRJ pilot training, she and Captain Garrett are SkyWest’s first mother-daughter pilot pair. “I was exposed to aviation my whole life,” said Donna. “I decided to fly because of my parents’ passion and love for flying. They made it so much fun.”

“I got to do a lot of traveling growing up,” she continued. “I was exposed to the world, which was a big inspiration. Experiencing my mom and dad’s lifestyle was wonderful. It exposed me to the possibilities the industry offered.”

Captain Garrett agrees that aviation has opened many doors throughout her 30-year career.

“I am super grateful for this job,” she said. “For women, the work schedule flexibility is a plus; the ability to have a family. What better career is out there where you can make this kind of money and not have to have high stress by taking your work home with you? Scheduling is a big reason why I’ve stayed with SkyWest. It was great when the kids were growing up. I could volunteer for field trips, parties at school and be that mom, while also having this wonderful career!”

Captain Garrett also talks about how their family enjoys traveling together.

“We’ve taken the family everywhere,” she said. “We’ve been able to get away from normal life and the house and escape on these vacations to have good, quality time together. It didn’t matter whether it was Germany, China, Costa Rica or Africa: You’re making memories of a lifetime. My middle child became very savvy and could soon piece together routings for our trips better than I could.”

And now she has the joy of knowing her daughter Donna has joined the SkyWest family.

“I love it! I really love it. It’s neat having your kid experience what you’ve gotten to experience. She’s part of the SkyWest family. I think it’s going to be a great career for her. She likes having variety and excitement in her life.”

Captain Garrett is a trailblazer in many ways. Starting with just a few other female pilots in the industry 30 years ago, she describes how things have changed throughout her career.

“[Back then] I wouldn’t draw attention to myself at the airport,” she said. “Believe it or not, I used to hide. The climate has changed; the reaction from the passengers has changed. Today I feel like I can be a role model for young girls who come on board and show them what’s possible. The doors are open: You can be anything!”

Donna continued, “Don’t ever disqualify yourself or think that there is anything limiting you just because you are a woman. There are so many opportunities to be successful in this industry. Find mentors: other people who are doing what you’re doing and what you’re aspiring towards. Meet other people who are doing the same thing. Finding friends and peers who are going through the same thing you’re going through is extremely helpful. I’m so grateful I have my mom as a resource.”

Donna understands that her mother is in many ways a pioneer.

“Mom being a commercial pilot normalized it for me. Being exposed to the rest of the world, where things hadn’t caught up yet, opened my eyes. Seeing the world shifting is cool. It’s cool seeing more and more women getting into the industry.”

Captain Garrett and Donna look forward to their first flight together and are thrilled to be SkyWest’s first mother-daughter pilot pair.

“It’s exciting and something I’m proud of,” Donna said smiling. “I had no idea how rare it was! It’s a cool moment for my mom and me and for women in aviation in general.”

Thank you, Captain Garrett. To mothers everywhere, SkyWest wishes you a happy Mother’s Day!

Proudly employing over 13,000 aviation professionals, SkyWest operates nearly 2,400 daily flights. Together, these individuals connect millions of passengers each month to 258 destinations across North America. Learn more about SkyWest, and career opportunities available to you, here.