Tag Archives: Women in Aviation

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’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.

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 Crew Surprises High School Senior with Memorable Tour at PDX

High school student MaKenna Albert has always had a love for flying. She reached out to SkyWest Pilot Denise Langholz, asking about the possibility of taking an aircraft tour for her senior project.

What MaKenna didn’t realize, however, was that she was in for a treat, as Captain Langholz and the entire SkyWest team rolled out the red carpet to give her a behind-the-scenes tour at Portland International Airport (PDX).

“When MaKenna contacted me, I wanted to show her that her dream of being an airline pilot could be a reality,” said Captain Langholz. “When I was in high school and dreamed of being a pilot, I was mistakenly told that ‘girls don’t become pilots.’ It took some time before I realized that it was simply not true. I love helping people realize their dreams and it was a joy to be able to show MaKenna around and have her meet some of the SkyWest team.”

The day started off with a tour of the airport before they stopped to talk with several SkyWest employees, including Teresa Nelson, PDX First Officer.

“Teresa told me all about all about the operations, training and the Pilot Pathway Program that SkyWest offers,” MaKenna said. “It was very insightful and it was so fun to be able to see so much of the operation.”

As exciting as everything was, it was just the beginning for MaKenna.

After watching the ground crew welcome an inbound flight, PDX Captain Tracy Leland took the opportunity to walk MaKenna through each of the steps to prepare the aircraft for flight. Afterward, Makenna was able to take a tour of the maintenance hangar, meet more of the SkyWest family and sit inside the flight deck of a SkyWest jet, where she envisioned herself taking the controls as an airline pilot.

MaKenna also got to visit the crew lounge where she enjoyed talking with crew members about their experiences and why they chose SkyWest.

“It was awesome,” MaKenna said about the tour. “All of the pilots were so nice and took the time to answer all of my questions.”

Bob Venturella, SkyWest’s PDX Chief Pilot, added to MaKenna’s special day as he surprised her with a ride in his Piper Cub aircraft. Venturella took time to teach her about flying the aircraft and answered any other questions MaKenna had.

It was an awesome day for MaKenna.

“She hasn’t stopped smiling,” added Shannon Albert, MaKenna’s mother. “She has found her passion and is now focused on her goal to become an airline pilot.”

For Langholz, the tour was a great reminder why she chose SkyWest and why she still loves coming to work every day: “The people. Everyone at SkyWest makes it amazing,” said Langholz. “When Bob surprised MaKenna by taking her flying, it went above and beyond what was already a perfect day. So many others also took time out of their busy schedules to make it all possible.”

The kindness and teamwork did not go unnoticed as MaKenna repeatedly asked Captain Langholz throughout the day if “everyone at SkyWest was always this nice.”

“I felt so proud to be able to tell her yes,” said Langholz. “The people at SkyWest are truly remarkable, generous and kindhearted. It was a privilege to share the Spirit of SkyWest with MaKenna and show her that we are here to help her accomplish her dream of becoming an airline pilot.”

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.

How I Became a SkyWest Pilot: Anna Yackshaw

Justin Giles
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Anna Yackshaw, a SkyWest CRJ first officer, was born into a family of aviation. Often going on imaginary flights with her grandfather, a Corsair pilot, her decision to fly professionally was made long before she reached the conclusion on her own. It wasn’t until after a visit to the University of Dubuque during high school when Anna knew her childhood imagination would soon become more. She headed to flight school and eventually found herself in the right seat of a flight deck, flying for SkyWest.


How did you decide to become a pilot?

Growing up I was very fortunate to spend a lot of my childhood with my grandparents. My grandfather and I were practically inseparable. He was a Corsair pilot and mechanic for the Navy during WWII and continued to fly recreationally after the war had ended. I loved hearing all about his flying stories, and we would go on our own ‘imaginary flights’ almost daily. Little did I know that this game of pretending was foreshadowing my own career down the road.

After taking countless career assessment tests in high school and not being at all excited about any of the results, I went to visit a friend of mine who was already in college to see if he had any advice. Although he was helpful, it was his college, the University of Dubuque, that guided me to my answer. Dubuque had their own flight school. I was talking to some of his friends who were in the program and they were telling me how they flew for class. How cool is that?! For this Midwest girl who grew up flying imaginary flights with her grandfather, it was the perfect fit.

What made you decide to come to SkyWest?

When the hours in my logbook finally totaled that magic number and I wasn’t in love with my corporate job at the time, I once again reached out to friends for advice. Fortunately, having attended a flight school left me with plenty of friends scattered all over this industry. The trend I noticed the most was that everyone was happy at SkyWest, and I felt that I received the most positive feedback from those who flew for SkyWest. That feedback, in addition to my own research on the company, made it seem like the obvious choice.

What do you enjoy most about being at SkyWest?

The people are definitely the best part and biggest asset to this company. From the training department to the crews that I fly with on the line, I couldn’t ask for better co-workers. I have made friends here that will be in my life indefinitely.

Why do you love being a pilot?

I love that my job doesn’t feel like work. There are days when our paychecks are definitely earned, but overall I love that I don’t feel like I’ve gone to ‘work’ a day in my life because I love what I do. I love watching the sun rise and set at 30,000 feet. I love when we have kids on board that want to come see the cockpit and watching their faces light up when I give them a pair of wings. In addition to these perks, no day is the exact same. This job is constantly challenging me and pushing me to become a better pilot. Always having the opportunity to learn is something that I feel many take for granted.

What do people say when you tell them you’re a pilot?

The most common reaction is shock. Whether it be my age or my gender, I’m not sure. My favorite reaction is when people are simply happy for me and don’t make a big deal about it. I love what I do, but I don’t think it deserves a spotlight over anyone else’s career.

How have you seen the role of women in aviation change?

I think the general public is still use to seeing more male pilots and female flight attendants than vice versa, but I can see those roles continue to diversify with each crew I fly with. In our ever-changing world, I think there will always be challenges but I see them becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on. The growth in size and popularity of the Women in Aviation organization is a great testament to the progress and successes that women have had in this industry.

What advice would you give to women who are considering becoming pilots?

Stop thinking about it and start working on it. This is an amazing career path and even though it comes with its share of sacrifices, I don’t think there is another job out there that compares to the rewards of being a pilot.

Everyone knows that this is a male-dominated industry, but don’t let that get in your head. Instead of becoming a ‘female pilot’, just become a pilot. We all show up to the airport to do the same job. Stay strong and confident and be a good role model for those aspiring aviators following in your footsteps.

Fly safely and follow your dreams!


SkyWest is a proud supporter of Women in Aviation and will be attending the 2018 Conference later this week. Come meet with our recruiters Thursday through Saturday, March 22-24, and learn more about a career with SkyWest. There will also be an opportunity for on-site interviews for those ready to Take Control of Their Careers. Visit our career guide to learn more about flying with SkyWest.

For more inspiration on women in aviation, take a look at this blog post, featuring SkyWest First Officer (recently upgraded to Captain!) Koko Kostelny.

SkyWest Pioneer Captain Mary Conti Retires After 32 Years

Layne Watson

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Corporate Communications Manager

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 at Girls in Aviation Day


On Saturday, Sept. 23, SkyWest people celebrated Girls in Aviation Day at events held around the country. Girls in Aviation Day is held by Women in Aviation International (WAI) each September and looks to bring the passion, exploration, learning and excitement of aviation to girls aged 8-17.

GirlsInAviationA77_-1578

This year, SkyWest sponsored two WAI Girls in Aviation Day chapters: Purdue University and Stars of the North – Minnesota. It was a privilege to take part in the day’s activities and share our passion for aviation with future aviators!

At the Purdue Girls in Aviation Day event, SkyWest pilots flew an Embraer E175 to the university airport, giving the girls up-close experience with state-of-the-art jet aircraft. Our pilots met with the girls and talked about their flying experiences as they showed off the aircraft, providing hands-on learning with everything from the controls in the flight deck to the massive engine underneath each wing for the awestruck group of girls.

At the Girls in Aviation gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the SkyWest team shared information about aviation STEM careers like airline pilots, mechanics and the variety of technical positions that keep an airline running!

“It was so inspiring to see so many girls with the drive and passion to be involved in the aviation industry at such a young age,” said SkyWest Recruitment Specialist Emma Morris. “Watching them talk about their dreams to become pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, programmers and more was really inspiring. Then being able to introduce them to our pilots and have them ask questions about the work here at SkyWest was even more of a treat.”

SkyWest is a proud equal opportunity employer and is home to more than 12,200 of the best professionals in the airline industry. Those who are ready to pursue their aviation career can apply online at www.skywest.com/careers.

 

 

SkyWest Airlines at Women in Aviation International Conference

McKall Morris
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.