Tag Archives: WAI

Experience Pays: First Officer Balances Career and Family with SkyWest 121 Program

Lucy Czupryn, a SkyWest Airlines E175 first officer based in Chicago, started her career as a pilot flying for a different 121 operator. She spent five years gaining valuable flight experience and building her seniority. Then, she shifted her focus to starting a family and left aviation.

“When I started my family, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to come back to aviation,” said Czupryn. “SkyWest made it possible for me to come back to what I love doing. We have several programs to foster and encourage women to return to the workforce.”

When Czupryn returned to the workforce, she decided to take advantage of the SkyWest Industry Experience Credit program. This program offers pilots a pay credit match for their years of FAR 121 experience, up to 10 years. The match also applies credit for 401(k) matching, profit sharing, and leave time accrual.Lucy Czupryn“Prior to that program, there wasn’t anywhere to go to make a lateral move,” said Czupryn. “The 121 program made it an easy choice to pick SkyWest because with my experience prior to my leave, I was able to start at SkyWest with a higher hourly wage. This program made it affordable for me to return to the workforce.”

Czupryn also leaned on the SkyWest Family Support Committee as she balanced raising a family and returning to the skies. The committee, formed in conjunction with the SkyWest Airlines Pilot Association, is a group of SkyWest peers dedicated to supporting women and men through welcoming a new child into an aviation family. This committee provides support through the leave of absence processes, fitness for duty while pregnant and during postpartum, maternity uniform exchanges, pumping, or weaning in preparation to return to work, financial planning for parenthood and one-on-one mentoring.

Through this program, SkyWest provided Czupryn a stable and supportive place to resume her professional pilot career.

“With my flexible schedule, I get to fly and still spend quality time with my family helping at the school, watching their games and practices, or just cuddling and watching movies together.”

Czupryn lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband and four children and loves taking her family on adventures. She enjoys seeing new places and expects her career to one day take her to the stars.

“When I was little, I always wanted to be an astronaut,” said Czupryn, who is still striving for space. “I love flying. I love being above the clouds and looking out at the world.”

With her parents’ support, Czupryn grew up attending science camps and classes at local college campuses. She learned to assemble computers and studied successful women, including her own mom. Czupryn’s mother graduated from Purdue University in the first class of computer science majors and set an example for her daughter of being a woman in a male-dominated field.

In high school, Czupryn set her sights on becoming a professional pilot. She followed her mother’s footsteps to Purdue, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in professional flight and a master’s degree in aviation technology while flight instructing to gain flight hours.

“I love the technical challenge of operating aircraft. It’s exhilarating to take off and land such a large vessel and bring people safely from point A to point B,” said Czupryn. “Connecting people to important events in their lives brings me enjoyment as well.”

Czupryn is one of several SkyWest employees who attended the 2020 Women in Aviation International conference. She encourages prospective aviators to keep studying and work hard. “Don’t give up. Find other professionals in the field to talk to about their journey,” Czupryn advises. “And make sure to check out ‘SkyBest’!”

To learn more about the opportunities available at SkyWest and how you can receive industry experience credit, click here.

Meet the SkyWest Pilot Recruiters Attending WAI in 2019!

SkyWest Airlines will be attending the 2019 International Women in Aviation Conference (WAI) in Long Beach, California this week. The three-day event – which runs from Thursday through Saturday – will feature keynote speakers talking about the latest innovations in the industry, as well as workshops and networking opportunities.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of WAI and our pilot recruitment team is excited to take part once again this year. As one of the largest regional airlines in the world – with over 2,300 daily flights and nearly 500 aircraft – our world-class pilots look forward to meeting with you, answering your questions and even holding on-site interviews.

To get you better acquainted with the SkyWest recruitment team at WAI 2019, we reached out to ask them about their experiences in the aviation industry and what advice they would offer girls looking to pursue a career as a commercial pilot.

Shanna Van Dusen, Phoenix CRJ First Officer

Shanna Van Dusen, Phoenix CRJ First Officer

What was your path to SkyWest?

I completed my pilot certificates just prior to 9/11. With the economy in a slump, I chose to finish my college education, get married, and have children. After a 12-year hiatus from aviation, it was time to return to my first love: flying. I became a flight instructor with AeroGuard Flight Training Center and finally completed my 1,500 hours. While there, I enrolled in the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program and became a SkyWest Cadet, then successfully interviewed to become a SkyWest first officer!

What is your favorite part of being a SkyWest pilot?

There are so many reasons I love being a part of the SkyWest family! The friendships, quality of life, my flying schedule, the travel benefits as well as the people I work with.

Why is SkyWest a good place for women in aviation?

I love the quality of life SkyWest has to offer. I have choices with my career, which affords me the ability to be flexible and spend quality time with my husband and kids. I can choose which aircraft I fly, I can choose from 20 domiciles to live in or commute from. Even as a First Officer I have enough days off to chaperone my kids’ school field trips, enjoy date nights with my husband, and still earn a lucrative income. SkyWest Airlines is the perfect place for any woman to maintain that work-life balance as an airline pilot.

What advice would you give girls looking at pursuing careers in aviation?

Putting forth the time and sacrifice upfront, will be worth the effort in the end. There is nothing better for me than stepping into my child’s classroom, in a SkyWest Airlines uniform for career day, and see them beaming with pride.

Amanda Glover, Chicago CRJ First Officer

Amanda Glover, Chicago CRJ First Officer

Why did you decide to become a pilot?

When I was in high school, I used to work with an elderly woman each night. She was one of 33 licensed female pilots in the 1940s and her stories inspired me to follow my dreams of being a pilot. Listening to her stories about learning how to fly were amazing. She changed her name to Mike from Martha just so the men she was giving lessons to would fly with her. She was inspiring!

What was your path to SkyWest?

My path to SkyWest began in 2004. I was hired as a Cross Utilized Agent in Missoula, MT. I began to see all the pilots fly in and out of the airport and I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. In 2009 my career took a leap forward when I joined the InFlight team at SkyWest. I worked full time as a flight attendant while giving flying lessons on my days off. As soon as I logged my 1500th hour I put my application in at SkyWest to become a pilot.

What is your favorite part of being a SkyWest pilot?

My favorite part of being a pilot with SkyWest is the amazing corporate culture that we have. The family mentality that SkyWest has embraced speaks to me. I love coming to work every day knowing that I’m going to work with my friends. I also know that I work for a company that encourages and supports their employees and ensures their success in the day-to-day operation.

Muri Cole, Minneapolis CRJ First Officer

Muri Cole, Minneapolis CRJ First Officer

Why did you decide to become a pilot?

I have always been inspired by the idea of flying and once I got behind the controls of an airplane, I knew it was where I was meant to be.

What is your favorite part of being a SkyWest pilot?

I love the variety in the flying with so many interesting overnights and 20 bases. I have chosen to be based at eight different domiciles so far because I love exploring the country, and SkyWest makes that possible for me.

Why is SkyWest a good place for women in aviation?

I have found that equality is one of SkyWest’s strongest attributes. As I jumped from base to base I flew with hundreds of different crews and across the board every flight was honored with teamwork, respect and positive attitudes.

Jordane Mortelman, Chicago ERJ Captain

Jordane Mortelman, Chicago ERJ Captain

Why did you become a pilot?

My grandfather was a Spitfire pilot for the Royal Air Force in World War II. I was always fascinated by his stories and would ask him all the time about it. When I was eight years old, I told him I wanted to be a flight attendant because that was what I thought girls could do.  He said to me, “why… when you could be up in the front?” After that I set my sights on becoming a pilot.

What was your pathway to SkyWest?

I did all of my flight training in the United Kingdom where I was an instructor for two years. The economy was not doing very well, and I came over to the United States as a flight instructor. SkyWest Airlines was the only regional airline that I knew anything about, and I knew it was the place for me. I just celebrated my seven-year anniversary at SkyWest last month!

Advice to girls looking to pursue aviation?

Never give up. It’s not an easy road, but it’s absolutely worth all the hard work.

Jessica Chaloupka, LaGuardia ERJ First Officer

Why did you decide to become a pilot?

My dad was a Navy pilot so I grew up with an aviation influence. I still remember my first Blue Angels air show as a child. My parents were very supportive of my dreams and aspirations of becoming a pilot.

Why is SkyWest a good place for women in aviation?

SkyWest has an exceptional reputation. The team members are hard-working, happy, and friendly. People love coming to work and I see more women joining the team every day!

What advice would you give girls looking at pursuing careers in aviation?

If you’re looking to start an aviation career, you should go for it! There are so many opportunities for women in aviation. Find a mentor and start asking questions. All the women I have met have been so helpful and supportive!

Jessica Chaloupka, LaGuardia ERJ First Officer

Theresa Nelson, Portland ERJ First Officer

What is your favorite part of being a SkyWest pilot?

My favorite part of being a SkyWest pilot is the people I get to work with. SkyWest’s culture empowers the team members to take care of one another and deliver excellent service to our customers and partners.

Theresa Nelson, Portland ERJ First Officer

Why is SkyWest a good place for women in aviation?

We take care of one another. When we travel as crew members, we stick together. SkyWest understands the needs of the employees and the challenges of balancing work and family. You will find nothing but advocates supporting your journey at SkyWest.

What advice would you give girls looking at pursuing careers in aviation?

My advice for girls is to be daring enough to dream. Dream about what puts a smile on your face and don’t let anything stop you. For me, I dreamed of financial independence while traveling and still having time for family life. The life of an airline pilot provides all that, and I get to fly a jet.

Colleen Paquet, Salt Lake City CRJ First Officer

What was your path to SkyWest?

I got my degree in Aviation Technology from Utah State University. Once I graduated we moved to Los Angeles and I did a mixture of flight instructing along with aerial photography. Then I applied at SkyWest!

What is your favorite part of being a SkyWest pilot?

This sounds cliche, but my favorite part about being a SkyWest pilot is the people. I always have a blast at work. We are constantly laughing and joking, which makes my trips so enjoyable.

Why is SkyWest a good place for women in aviation?

SkyWest has a very strong group of pilots who are trying to give not only the female pilots, but any pilot with a family, the highest quality of life possible. It’s inspiring to see so many people working together to help our female pilots balance their family life and career.

SkyWest Pioneer Captain Mary Conti Retires After 32 Years

Image 4After 32 years of dedicated service, Palm Springs (PSP) Captain and SkyWest’s first female captain Mary Conti retired on Saturday. Captain Conti was one of the first female pilots at SkyWest and the longest-tenured female pilot in SkyWest’s 45-year history.

“I want to thank Captain Conti for her leadership and professionalism over her decades-long career here,” said Tracy Gallo, Vice President – Flight Operations. “Captain Conti is a role model to countless female pilots at SkyWest and across the industry over the last 32 years. We thank her for her service and wish her the best of luck in her retirement.”

Captain Conti began her SkyWest journey during the SkyWest/SunAire merger in 1985 after being rejected at other companies strictly because she was female.

“There were corporate jobs and you knew you were being turned down because you were a female. They could actually tell you that back then,” said Captain Conti.

Image 1Her initial training at SkyWest was completed in one of SkyWest’s first hangars at the old St. George, Utah airport in 1985. Following training, she went to PSP to fly, where SkyWest’s acquisition of SunAire was still in transition. Nine months later, she and two other female pilots upgraded to captain together, becoming SkyWest’s first female captains. Bringing her journey full circle, Captain Conti completed her final flight last week from San Francisco (SFO) to PSP with an all-female crew.

The first SkyWest employee Captain Conti happened to meet when she got to PSP was a check airman who soon became chief pilot. He is now her husband of nearly 30 years and they have one daughter.

After her first two years at SkyWest, Captain Conti says she knew she wanted to stay and was based in PSP her entire career – with the exception of a few months after upgrades and transitions.

“Working at SkyWest is like working with family. I never get sick of my crews!” said Captain Conti. “You can have a bad day but the people you work with just makes it all better. Coming to SkyWest was the best decision I could have made. If I could do it all over again, I would without a doubt.”

“Like most pilots, I love what I do,” continued Captain Conti. “It gets in your system and it’s hard to let it go. Doing it with amazing crews like the ones at SkyWest makes it even more special.”

Please join us in thanking Captain Conti for her more than 32 years of dedicated service. Congratulations, Mary!

 

 

SkyWest Airlines at Women in Aviation International Conference

McKall Morris

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Corporate Communications Manager

We are looking forward to attending the Women in Aviation International Conference in Orlando, Florida on March 2-4! Our pilot recruitment and maintenance recruitment teams will be at the event talking about life at SkyWest, answering questions and holding on-site interviews. In addition to our recruiters, we also have SkyWest pilots who are presenting at the conference!

Co-chair of SAPA Women’s Assistance Committee – Captain Alison Britton

Shattering the Glass Cockpit: Creating Positive Change for Women Pilots in Today’s Global Airlines

Saturday, March 4 from 1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

The pilots on this panel are breaking through barriers to bring positive policy change for women in the airline industry. Having expertly faced the challenges of being female in the cockpit, including navigating careers while pregnant and pumping after maternity leave, these pilots joined together to engage company leaders to make it easier for everyone who follows. Find out what they did, how they did it, and how you can do it at your company—through leadership, collaboration, and action.

First Officer Sarah Rovner

Go With the Flow: Fly Like an Airline Pilot

Saturday, March 4 from 3:00-4:00 p.m.

The subject is operating philosophy and procedures that general aviation can apply from the airlines; such as emergency management, crew resource management, and threat and error management. The goal of the seminar is to educate aviators of all experience levels on ways they can make their operation safer using lessons we have learned at the airlines.

If you’re planning to attend, make time to support these SkyWest pilots at their presentations and don’t forget to stop by our booths and visit our recruiters! One of our recruiters at the event will be Captain Suzy Garrett who we recently highlighted:

Looking for more information on upcoming events SkyWest will be attending? Check out our career guide.