AAPI: Pilots Embrace Asian Family History

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we asked several team members to share what this month means to them. 

Adam and Daniel Malik – ERJ First Officers, LAX

E175 First Officers Adam and Daniel Malik are first-generation Asian American brothers. They make up a small percentage of Asian pilots in America and hope to inspire more.

“We hope to change that percentage by encouraging diversity and inclusion,” said Adam.

Their pilot dreams began when they were young. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, their childhood home sat under the approach path of the Buffalo Niagara Airport (BUF). The brothers would watch the aircraft overhead while they were playing in the backyard.

To start their aviation journeys, they began fueling and washing aircraft at a local FBO. Working there, they earned money to complete flight training and attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale together. They were in the same new hire class and were sim partners at Surf Air, Envoy Air, and Compass Airlines.

After being furloughed at Compass Airlines, the brothers came to SkyWest. Once again, they were placed in the same new hire class and had the privilege of being sim partners throughout training. Now, they are both based in Los Angeles.

“May is a special month for us and our fellow Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals,” said Adam. “We are proud to work for a company that recognizes diversity and inclusion, and encourage others to never forget where you came from.”

Both Adam and Daniel enjoy setting an example for others hoping to achieve their dream of becoming a pilot and are proving anything is possible for Asian Americans.

Kizna Loosle – CRJ First Officer, MSP

Kizna Loosle’s dream to become a pilot started when she was a little girl. For her 10th birthday, Kizna went on her first discovery flight and knew that was what she wanted to do!

Kizna grew up in Las Vegas and attended a high school with an aviation magnet program. She received her private pilot’s license her senior year and then went to Utah State University where she studied aviation.

At Utah State, Kizna was a flight instructor, taught ground school on campus, and had a student internship for SkyWest Flight Operations. During that time, she knew SkyWest was the best fit for her. Before coming to SkyWest, she gained flight hours by flying tours for Scenic and Grand Canyon Airlines. She met her husband at USU, and they were new hires together at Scenic and also at SkyWest.

Kizna started at SkyWest on the Brasilia before moving to the CRJ. She is the co-chair of SkyWest’s Family Support Committee, something that she is passionate about as a mom. She is also a mentor and conference committee member for the Professional Asian Pilot Association (PAPA) and is currently coordinating cultural events for their first expo in July.

“I am proud to be a Japanese and Filipino Woman,” said Kizna. “Recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and spotlighting different cultures is really important.”

Kizna has two daughters that she teaches her heritage to. As a family, they enjoy eating Japanese and Filipino cuisines and learning about different parts of the world. Kizna’s grandmother was one of her greatest supporters and having her granddaughter in the airline industry was monumental for her.

“I’ll never forget the way she always beamed with pride when she saw me in my uniform,” said Kizna. “I’m grateful every day that she had the courage to move to America from the Philippines.”

Kizna likes the welcoming atmosphere at SkyWest and connecting with her coworkers.

“Representation truly matters and it’s fun to learn about each other’s amazing backgrounds,” said Kizna.

Check out our careers page to see our current openings.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all our SkyWest moms and to the mothers who helped inspire us to follow our dreams in aviation! Below are a few notes that our employees shared in honor of Mother’s Day:

Kylie Powell – ERJ First Officer

“My mom, Viki Powell, has always been such a big support throughout my life but especially through my aviation career. She helped me during flight school with many motivational words and guidance to get through those long study nights. She’s even traveled across the country to help me move. (I was first based in Chicago as a new first officer and moved to Salt Lake City.) My mom has always been excited to hear about the traveling adventures this job has brought me and has always pushed me to experience the best in life. Now that I’m in captain upgrade training, she couldn’t be more proud and tells me so very often. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her love and support. I love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!”

Mitch Young – Field Services Supervisor

“What can anyone say about the person that makes impossible things happen every day? I know I am where I am today because of the support and the miracles my wife and the mother of my children gives our family every day. She has been there through thick and thin nearly my entire 18 years at SkyWest. A lot of that time she runs things alone due to my travel to maintain the IT systems around the company. I am just very blessed and very thankful for having this wonderful mom in my life.”

Brandi Wallin – InFlight Instructor

“My mother, Darcee Yates, has always taught me, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” In fact, since 2013, my mom has enjoyed walking the Camino de Santiago; a pilgrimage many people from around the world take in Spain. She has walked it five times and each time it add up to 100 miles or more. If it was as all about seeing St James’ church in Santiago, she could have gotten there a lot quicker.

“Darcee inspires me because she is the total opposite of me. She started with SkyWest in 2000 and I later joined in 2005. When I would tell people whose daughter I was they would always say, “We love Darcee!” With sincerity, I would have to apologize that I wasn’t her. She has always been an easy going and accommodating person.

“Travel has really opened a lot of opportunities for us to see new places together. While the destination is interesting, the journey is what has made Darcee the great person she is today. I could not do this job without the love and support I have from her. It wasn’t until I became a mom that I could understand how much love my mom has for us kids. “Happy Mother’s Day Darcee!”

Jeff Garn – CRJ Captain

“My wife, Heidi, is the biggest reason why I have a career. She worked full-time while I trained. Then when I became a flight instructor, she was my first student so she could see if I was any good at it. She followed me to Palm Springs when I was based there flying the Metroliner and has gone on too many trips to count with our kids in tow so I didn’t have to be alone for four days.

“Heidi later worked on the ramp for SkyWest and was a very dedicated and hard-working ramp agent. I was always glad to see her when I was pulling in from a trip because I knew she would get everything done with a smile. She takes that same dedication into being a flight attendant now, and we have actually had a handful of trips together. It is always great to be working together.

“She is an awesome mom to our four daughters and even inspired our oldest, McKenzie, to become a SkyWest flight attendant too! She is incredible and I’m glad to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day!!”

Marie Jensen – Flight Attendant

“My mom, Sandi, started as a flight attendant at SkyWest in November 2015 and later convinced me to join. We’re both Salt Lake City-based and we’re both in InFlight Training.

“Our story started with my mom at a flight school she worked at for many years. After watching countless pilots get hired with SkyWest and hearing all the wonderful things she said about the airline, she was intrigued. She decided to give the flight attendant group interview a shot and that’s where it all started! After tagging along with her on a few trips I fell in love with the lifestyle and the people here. On a trip to Guanajuato, Mexico with a fantastic crew, I was convinced and I applied to SkyWest.

“I started training and coincidentally she had just been accepted as a new hire instructor when I began. It was incredible to be learning the curriculum at the same time she was learning to teach; it was great. I just recently joined the new hire training team as well and it’s been a blast to be able to teach alongside her.

“My family has been involved in aviation my whole life and my goal is to eventually become a pilot for SkyWest. I’m still early in my flight training but my mom has been my biggest supporter and a wonderful inspiration during my time here. She’s a wonderful person, very kind, compassionate, and so much fun to work with! It’s been awesome to be able to work with her out on line and in Training. I’m so happy that we’ve been able to make this incredible journey together!”

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AAPI: My Ethnicity Shaped My Aviation Story

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are excited to highlight some incredible employees we have working here at SkyWest. This includes people like Bruce Chang, a SkyWest A&P mechanic in Colorado Springs. Bruce says his SkyWest journey actually began before he was even born.

“I enjoy being at SkyWest because of the community I experience and the way we embrace diversity here,” said Bruce. “SkyWest started from humble beginnings, similar to my family’s story.”

During the Vietnam War, Bruce’s parents boarded a plane with other refugees in the jungles of Southeast Asia and came to America. They were among the first Hmong people to enter the U.S. The new culture was a shock, and learning the language and how to drive made their new everyday routine difficult to navigate. But his parents knew the challenges would pay off for their five children here in the land of the free.

Bruce’s father loved aviation. Bruce remembers looking over his large collection of aviation books and watching him build airplane models. His dad also took the family to air shows every year and loved being near all aircraft. Bruce’s great uncle actually maintained and piloted helicopters, like the Bell UH-1, during the war and Bruce’s dad hoped to do something similar in the U.S. Ultimately, Bruce’s dad had to choose a different path to provide for his family.

After graduating high school, Bruce was excited to continue helping his family find their brighter future. His parents had encouraged him to seek higher education and a career like a doctor, mathematician, or an engineer. Several years into college, Bruce realized those careers were not for him. He discussed his circumstances with his dad, who remembered his aviation dreams as a young adult. His dad enthusiastically told Bruce about his earlier dreams and their family history in aviation. He also noted there were few Asian people in the aviation industry and encouraged Bruce to look into the field.

Thankfully, there was an AMT school and a SkyWest maintenance hangar nearby. Knowing how proud it would make his father, Bruce followed his father’s advice. Bruce and his dad went and met with a school counselor, toured the facility, and talked with the director. Bruce enrolled that day. Thanks to the hard work that his parents instilled in him, Bruce graduated Valedictorian and as the head of the diversity club. After graduation, he applied at SkyWest and the rest is history.

“Now, I look back and think about how my ethnic background has influenced where I am today,” said Bruce. “The overwhelming challenges my parents faced and the experiences we had empower me to move forward.”

Bruce knows being Asian American helps him better see the beauty and worth of cultural differences and accept them.

“I believe I can bring value to this world like my parents did,” said Bruce. “I think I can still make a positive difference. It’s easy to be passive and let the world around pass by, but I choose to be different. Being Asian American has helped open my eyes to this perspective.”

Bruce is excited about people of all ethnic backgrounds entering the field of aviation. He has enjoyed watching the positive change over his 11 years as a mechanic at SkyWest.

“My coworkers acknowledge my Asian American heritage rather than ignore it,” said Bruce. “SkyWest is a company that values diversity; it is apparent in their acknowledgement of AAPI month.”

Become a part of our diverse team by visiting our careers page!

Women’s History Month: Women Across the System

Throughout the month, we’ve celebrated the diversity of the SkyWest team and the women who have each overcome different obstacles in their journey to the aviation industry. From all-female flight crews, to female mechanics and dispatchers, and even women of the past who paved the way for us today, we’ve all benefited from the positive impact of women across the SkyWest system.

Recently, two female SLC customer service agents, Geraldine L. and Patty B. sat down with us to share their aviation stories.

Q: What does it mean to be a female in the avation industry?

Geraldine: “For me, it means we can do anything we aspire to do. There are no boundaries and no limits. It’s empowering to see women every day confidently contributing to so many different areas in this industry.”

Patty: “In an industry where job positions have been primarily filled by males in the past, I am honored to be part of an industry that is open to change and is equalizing opportunities for all people. At SkyWest Airlines, women have studied, worked hard, and opened doors for the future. I am proud to be able to help continue this progression.”

Q: What value does Women’s History Month carry?

Geraldine: It carries extreme value. It’s exciting and motivating to celebrate women’s achievements both past and present. It’s beneficial for us now and for our future generations to know what women have overcome.

Patty: “Women’s History Month is honoring women from past, present, and future. Women have worked hard in the past to show the importance of their being in the workplace. This is valuable to me because it equalizes men and women, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. It is an honor to celebrate those that fought for equal rights in all aspects of life.”

Q: How have you seen SkyWest support women in aviation?

Geraldine: “SkyWest offers so many different opportunities for women to be successful in aviation. It’s evident in the various positions held by women at SkyWest.”

Patty: “Over the past 15 years, I have witnessed an increase in women in all aspects of the industry; more female pilots, more women in management roles, and more women throughout other positions at SkyWest. I have had the opportunity to work alongside many wonderful, hard-working women that care a lot about this industry. When I started working at SkyWest, I was taught and mentored by amazing female supervisors, shift managers, and coworkers. Their dedication, hard work, and integrity have taught me the importance of women in this industry, and they all continue to make a difference. I am proud to be a part of the women at SkyWest Airlines.”

Q: How have you been influenced by other women at SkyWest?

Geraldine: “I have had the fortune of working alongside and learning from many amazing women at SkyWest who inspire me every day to do better and to be better.”

Patty: “When I first started at SkyWest, I was new to the industry. I was taught by many remarkable women. I could quickly see their leadership, mentoring, and integrity, and how important they were to the success of SkyWest. These examples have instilled in me the desire to emulate these same leadership values in both my personal and professional life.”

“I have also had the incredible opportunity to travel and learn by seeing how others live. This has taught me to respect other cultures, beliefs, and values as well as appreciate the importance of being different and equal. I am grateful to be a part of a company that continues to provide others the opportunity to see the world by experiencing it firsthand.”

Thank you to the 6,000+ women at SkyWest who continue to make the SkyWest team great. Check out the open positions on our careers page to join the team!

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Celebrating SkyWest Women in Aviation

As part of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting and recognizing employees across the system. Here is what a few had to say about the work they are doing and how it is continuing to pave the way for more women in the aviation industry.

Viola Henderson – Mechanic, DTW

Being an A&P mechanic is one of Viola Henderson’s biggest accomplishments. Growing up in Detroit, Viola lived down the street from a small airport and her love for aviation started at a very young age. The constant sound of airplanes only piqued Viola’s fascination. She would often ask her parents to walk down the block so she could get a closer look.

“I still remember the first day I walked down there. A prop plane was waiting to take off,” said Viola. “There I was, a small kid with her face pressed up against the fence. I knew then that I wanted to be around airplanes every day of my life and I was going to do everything in my power to make it happen.”

Viola attended Wayne State University and changed her major four times because nothing made her happy. She sought advice about what to do to be happy and successful, and was continually asked, “What makes you happy?” or “What do you like to do?”.

“My answer was always about airplanes, but I thought, ‘I’m a girl. I’m not going to be able to work with or around them,’” said Viola.

She then went to culinary school, but after 13 months there, knew that it still wasn’t the path for her. Finally, Viola began chasing her aviation dreams. She found a cleaning job at the airport and during that time was able to talk with aircraft mechanics. After a year and a half of cleaning aircraft toilets, she got her first job for an airline.

While working the front counter, she noticed a woman checking in was wearing an FAA badge. As she talked to her, she learned that the woman was also an aircraft mechanic. She told Viola to apply at a local aviation school and, as soon as the woman left, Viola found one, enrolled, and started the next week.

At the end of 2021, Viola graduated and received her A&P license.

“I kept telling myself that no one was going to stop me!” said Viola. “I had a lot of female support. Female instructors would tell me that it was not going to be easy in a male-dominated field, and they were right.”

After several experiences, Viola applied for a maintenance technician job at SkyWest. A few weeks later, she had her interview with her current manager, Chris Clem, who made her decision to choose SkyWest even easier.

“The help and openness SkyWest has given me has made me believe I made the right decision,” said Viola. “The other mechanics help me and answer my questions. And Chris always makes sure I have what I need to succeed.”

Viola recently finished her borescope inspection and is excited about her career at SkyWest.

“My advice to other women out there is don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to speak up and be heard, because you can do it just like I did!”

Allison Carroll – Dispatcher, HDQ

Allison Carroll started at SkyWest in 2013 and worked in various roles before becoming a dispatcher about a year ago.

When asked about her experience as a female dispatcher, Allison said, “We all have the same qualifications and the same goal, and I’m glad I can offer my professional perspective and viewpoint on situations.”

Women’s History Month stands out to Allison because it showcases how she is able to do what she does every day.

“It wasn’t long ago that women weren’t able to simply work for income or work under their own name,” said Allison. “I can do both.”

Allison enjoys seeing SkyWest’s support of women and the growing number of women who are working in every department throughout the company.

“It has come a long way, but I would love to see even more balance in the aviation industry,” said Allison.

Veronica Ortega – Mechanic III, MKE

When Veronica Ortega looked up information about becoming an aviation mechanic online, almost all the information materials depicted male technicians. Thankfully, that didn’t stop her. She quickly learned that anyone could do it and has worked hard to prove that there is a place for females in the field. Joining the ranks of other A&P mechanics felt like a whole new world to Veronica.

“I didn’t realize how big aviation was,” said Veronica. “But at SkyWest, I felt like I belonged.”

Reflecting on Women’s History Month, Veronica’s says her goal is to celebrate strong women who wanted to break out of the gender norms they were placed in.

“Women can do anything. We are strong!” said Veronica. “We can fix aircraft, fly aircraft, or anything else we set our minds to. No one can say we can’t; we can!”

During her time at SkyWest, Veronica has had many great A&P mechanics as role models – both men and women. All of them have taught her how to be a better aircraft mechanic.

“I did not come from a mechanical background, but I wanted to learn,” said Veronica. “If you are willing to learn and work hard, the SkyWest family will help you. Shout out to all the great mechanics in MKE!”

We are so glad to have difference-makers like Viola, Allison, Veronica, and many others on the SkyWest team! Find your place on our team by viewing our careers page today!

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Family in the Flight Deck

Several years ago, Suzy and Donna Garrett made history when they took to the skies together as SkyWest’s first mother-daughter duo in the flight deck. On Jan. 23, 2022, the family reached a new milestone as Donna and her brother Mark were able to fly together with their mom, Suzy, joining them in the jumpseat.

“Having my mom in the jumpseat was the cherry on top,” said Mark. “It was easily the most fun I’ve had on a trip at SkyWest!”

Mark came to SkyWest in 2019 to follow in his family’s footsteps. Both of his parents and his sister Donna have all flown for SkyWest, so he said it made it an obvious choice.

“SkyWest’s reputation as one of the best regional airlines to work for sealed my decision,” said Mark. “The family feel at SkyWest goes beyond just my immediate family members working for the same company.”

Since joining the SkyWest team, Mark has been hoping to fly a trip with his sister and was thrilled when she upgraded to captain last year. The two were finally able to align schedules to fly two round trips from Chicago (ORD) to Des Moines, IA (DSM).

While Donna had flown previously with her brother during his flight training, this memorable trip was the first time they were able to fly a commercial flight together.

“Flying with my sister at SkyWest felt really comfortable. Years ago, we flew a cross country flight in a Cessna 172 from Oxnard, CA (OXR) to Oshkosh, WI (OSH) just after I had started learning how to fly,” said Mark. “Donna made all the major decisions during that trip and it felt like a captain and first officer situation. Our SkyWest trip reminded me of the old days of us flying together.”

The trip also gave Mark the chance to see how far Donna has progressed as a professional pilot.

“Her landings have come a long way since Oshkosh!” said Mark. “She has developed the attributes of a great captain. During this trip, she was my sister, Donna, but I also got to see her professional side of Captain Garrett.”

Are you interested in becoming part of the SkyWest family? Visit our careers page today!

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Celebrating Women’s History Month

March marks the beginning of Women’s History Month; a time when we reflect on the role of women and their contributions throughout history. In the aviation industry, Emily Howell Warner made history as the first U.S. airline captain in 1976. Decades later, more females are in the flight deck, and at SkyWest we’re excited to see a growing number of all-female crews flying together.

“When I started flying 40 years ago, female pilots were extremely rare,” said Captain Lisa Johnson. “I am always excited to have a female first officer.”

Recently, Captain Johnson and the rest of her all-female crew were the first commercial crew to land at the grand opening of the newly renovated Concourse B at the Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee (MEM).

The first officer for the memorable trip was Bailey Parks who is currently in the process of upgrading to captain. Captain Johnson shared tips and experiences to encourage Bailey as she takes the next step in her career.

The flight attendants, Mary Tincher and Ella Ika, completed the standout female team.

The women all shared that they worked together seamlessly. The teamwork and communication set the tone for an amazing flight.

“Being a woman in a mostly male-dominated field, I really enjoy flying with other female crewmembers,” said Captain Johnson. “It brings another level of camaraderie.”

Captain Joni Thiesse, First Officer Hui Wang, and Flight Attendants Karissa Whitehead and Wendy MacArthur Peters, who were also part of an all-female crew during a multi-day trip out of DEN recently, say they too felt that unique camaraderie on their flight.

During the trip, passengers would cheer or give support to the all-female crew. One hotel staff member even commented on how cool it was to see an all-female crew at check-in.

“Being a part of the SkyWest team that supports a flight crew of all women who have taken strong measures to accomplish things was meaningful,” said Wendy. “It was great to receive acknowledgement from the passengers as well as the support from SkyWest. I am honored to be part of such a great team!”

SkyWest is proud to support our current female aviators and is continually working to encourage and support more women joining the industry. This month we are a sponsor for the annual Women in Aviation Conference in Nashville and were able to support several upcoming female aviators by paying the entrance fees for the conference.

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Black History Month: Role Models

As part of Black History Month we have been sharing the stories of several SkyWest team members. There are also a number of the Black aviation professionals on the SkyWest team who have helped to pave the way at our airline too:

Beverley Mendez – Flight Attendant, SFO
Beverley Mendez was among our first Black flight attendants and was willing to share her story. Beverley wanted to work for an airline and came across an employment ad for United Express/SkyWest Airlines as a customer service agent in 1999. As she was talking to the hiring manager, they learned she was interested in being a flight attendant and referred her to InFlight.

In addition to flying the line, Beverly has worked as an InFlight instructor and chief flight attendant, now known as regional operations managers.

Beverley has a passion for customer service and caring for people and like most of the employees here at SkyWest, she has a passion for the sky and traveling.
“What I love most about Black History Month is an opportunity to educate, learn and share our contributions made as Americans,” said Beverley. “My most iconic Black history moment was made Feb. 16, 2013 when I met Colin Powell.”

Faz Faruki – The First Black Pilot at SkyWest
Faz Faruki always knew that he would fly. While growing up in Uganda, he was inspired by everything aviation as he listened to stories of the great Black aviators in America.

After moving to the U.S. to start his family, he knew it was time to test his wings. Faz started flying for SkyWest in 1986 out of Santa Barbara and was the first Black pilot on the team. He spent 27 years flying at SkyWest.
“I never thought about being the first of anything, let alone the first Black pilot at SkyWest,” said Faz. “I never focused on that because my time at SkyWest was great and everyone treated me so well.”

When asked about his time with SkyWest, Faz said, “From scheduling to dispatch, everyone made me feel welcome! The people I worked with made it a great experience. A great company that let me have a greater job”.

The highlight of his time here was flying with his son Shahn, who was a first officer with SkyWest, right before retiring.
“I feel honored because for me Black History Month means being a Black person who can work hard and not care about what everyone else is saying,” said Faz. “I hope someone is inspired along the way. I am grateful for my time as a pilot and I’m happy I flew with SkyWest, especially as the first Black pilot.”

Elamin Elamin – General Facility Maintenance, SLC

In 1998, Elamin Elamin started working at the SLC airport. During his time there, he worked alongside many SkyWest employees and knew he wanted to work for SkyWest. In 2007, he got his chance when he received a job offer at the SkyWest hangar in SLC.

I have a very large family here in the states and in Sudan, and I work hard for them,” said Elamin. “I love my job at SkyWest because I get to be with my family and I get to travel to see them more than I could anywhere else.
When asked about what this month means to him, Elamin said, “Black History Month is important because it reminds me to be grateful for so many things. I think hard on the time I’ve spent working for my family and the love I have for them. My wife is having a baby very soon and think of the love that is coming. This month I think of the gratitude I have for those in my life at home, work, and everyone around me.”

Eddie Owiti – First Officer, DEN
First Officer Eddie Owiti began his SkyWest journey nearly a year ago. Prior to joining the team, he was working for a government subcontractor as a UAV chase pilot in the Southern California high desert. He was nearing the ATP hour minimums and came to a crossroad in his flying career.

“I considered going the corporate route to build my time for the majors, however, many friends and previous colleagues that were at SkyWest convinced me otherwise,” said Eddie. “I am glad I made that decision! The last few months have been exciting and stressful, but ultimately rewarding. I have learned a lot and continue to learn every time I step onto the aircraft.”

Eddie’s fascination with airplanes began at age five. He continues to be fascinated by the wonder and science of flying and hopes to inspire others.

Recently, he had an experience that truly connected his love for aviation and Black History Month:

“I was eating my breakfast at SFO and I looked up to see a young, Black boy staring at me across the glass. He had his hands around his face and seemed to be very fascinated by my uniform. He smiled at me while pointing at the wings on my shirt and then proceeded to spread his arms like wings to mimic an airplane flying. I smiled back and told him he could be a pilot when he grows up.”

 

Black History Month: Showing Your Character

In honor of Black History Month, we asked several SkyWest team members to share their unique stories and tell us why this month is so important to them.

Hal Jackman Jr. – CRJ Captain, ORD

Five years ago, Hal Jackman, Jr. received a call from a friend who was also a SkyWest recruiter. He asked Hal if he’d ever considered flying for an airline. While they were discussing the merits of SkyWest and the prospect of Hal applying, the friend said, “Hey, hold on,” and Hal was put on hold. While he was waiting for his friend to return, he received another call. He answered and heard a friendly voice say, “Hal? This is Monica. I heard you’re interested in joining the SkyWest team!”

Hal was stunned and amused by his friend’s bold recruiting technique, but within a few minutes, Monica filled him in on SkyWest and he had an interview date.

“Now I’m flying for the best regional airline on earth,” said Hal. “And guess what, I’ve never looked back!”

During this month, Hal says he has been reflecting on his journey and what it means to be one of only a small number of Black airline pilots in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 3.9% of pilots are Black or African American.

“More than disbelief, I am filled with dedication each and every time I don my uniform and start my day,” Hal said. “I am dedicated to honoring and respecting the legacy of all those who paved the way for me to be where I am now. Undoubtedly, I soar on the wings of giants; giants like Emory Malick, the first African American to earn a pilot certificate in the United States, or Bessie Coleman, the first African American to earn an international pilot certificate, or the famed Tuskegee Airmen of WWII, or Captain Marlon Green, America’s first Black airline pilot who had to sue a legacy carrier just for the opportunity to earn a seat among his peers just a mere 60 years ago.”

These men and women, among others, were pioneers who helped make Hal’s dream of becoming a commercial pilot a reality.

“During this and every February I salute them, their achievements, and their sacrifice,” said Hal. “Because of them, I’ve been able to soar boldly in the direction of my dreams without looking back.”

Brandon Long – Supervisor Warranty, HDQ

Brandon Long was bit by the traveling bug at age 17 when his adventurous nature caused him to move across the country. He hasn’t stopped traveling since and, while his travels have taken him around the globe, his curiosity for the travel industry was piqued.

That intrigue brought him to SkyWest more than a year ago and he is excited about the opportunity to work in the airline industry. Since starting, he has gained an immense amount of knowledge about what happens in the aviation industry and how many people it takes to keep our aircraft flying.

When asked about what this month means to him and his transition into the aviation industry, Brandon said:

“Black History Month is all about integrity, leadership, and determination,” he said when asked about what this month means to him. “It’s about showing your character.”

The achievements made throughout history have changed the way we get to live today, and we are thankful for SkyWest team members like Hal and Brandon who continue to carry the torch, and who continue to act as role models for others to follow.

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