Tag Archives: SkyWest Pilots

Recognizing A War Hero

SkyWest crewmembers Captain Jai Patel, First Officer Brian Osias and flight attendants Janae Hilton and Brenda Garrett recently had the chance to welcome August Sterling, onboard an American Eagle flight from Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH) to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). August was a frogman for the U.S. Navy in 1951 and a Korean War Veteran. This flight was his first air flight and was taken to celebrate his 90th birthday with his family in Dallas.

During the Korean War, August was captured by the Korean Army while setting charges to a bridge they were about to destroy.

“When we came up from the water, we were shocked and surprised. It was something to behold. They shot in the water to scare us and so we couldn’t swim away. We couldn’t escape the bullets in the water, so we gave in.”

Out of the five frogmen, only two survived. They were kept in prison for over two and a half years.

“They would beat us 25 hours a day, and we don’t have 25 hours in a day,” said August. “They didn’t stop trying to get information out of us. Asking us for everything we knew and all we would reply with was our name, rank and serial number.”

Finally with the war over, President Dwight Eisenhower negotiated a prisoner exchange, releasing August Sterling and others. He had two broken legs, a broken arm and had to have a metal plate surgically implanted. After being released from the POW camp in Korea, he was sent back to Lake Charles to be treated at St. Patrick’s Hospital.

We are honored to have the chance to celebrate August Sterling on his 90th birthday and we are forever grateful for his service to our country.

Pride Month: Celebrating and Supporting the Team

Every day we have the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the SkyWest team. As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, here is what a few of our people are saying about what the month means to them.

Matt Taft – General Manager Station, MBS

Seven years ago, Matt saw a SkyWest ad on a job site. He didn’t have aviation experience, but did have a lot of background in customer service positions and decided to apply. Since he started his career at SkyWest, he has loved the diversity of our culture and seeing how we supports each other.

 “For me, Pride Month means more than just supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community, but support for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, religion, gender, race, national origin etc.,” said Matt. “It’s a month where I stand in support for equality for everyone; everyone deserves to be treated equal, and everyone deserves to be loved the same.”

As the station general manager in Saginaw, Michigan (MBS), Matt has the opportunity to manage an amazing group of agents. He credits the diversity of his team as part of what makes them so fantastic.

Matt works hard to treat everyone on his team the same, and says they support each other and always have each other’s backs. That support is his favorite part about leading the team and the main reason he’s still doing it. Matt credits the SkyWest culture for the amazing group of agents that make up team MBS.

“My experience with SkyWest over the years has had many ups and downs, but the people at SkyWest and the support, love, and acceptance they offer is by far the most amazing thing I have experienced in my career,” said Matt. “I believe every person we come across in life needs some kind of love, support, and acceptance and SkyWest offers that.”

Sala Talamoni – Ramp Supervisor, SLC


Next month, Ramp Supervisor Sala celebrates three years at SkyWest. She was very happy to share her thoughts on Pride Month and even happier that SkyWest recognizes our people throughout the month.

“Pride Month is a celebration of growth for our community,” said Sala. “This isn’t just a holiday for all of the LGBTQ+ community, this is a time to show everyone that we have a voice.”

Madison Boylan – Captain ERJ, SAN

Captain Boylan started her SkyWest journey nearly 24 years ago. Last year, she decided to be honest with herself and everyone around her, especially her second family at SkyWest. She came out as a transgender woman and said it has been quite the experience!

“Transitioning at age 54 makes me a bit of a ‘late bloomer’,” said Captain Boylan. “I questioned whether I needed to reveal the dark secret I had hidden for my entire life, but ultimately I reached a point where I just had to.”

Captain Boylan worried about rejection and was afraid she might jeopardize her ability to continue to pursue her lifelong love of flying and aviation. She’s worked with many of her coworkers for decades and spent so many years of her life alongside them. SkyWest is like her second home.

Last August, she came out to her chief. She was pleasantly surprised that the response was to help get her started with the process. Her chief helped her get her preferred name changed that day and encouraged her to order the women’s uniform. The company continued to help her every step of the way.

“More than just the logistical details, I give SkyWest credit for the acceptance they’ve shown me from the day I began this journey until now,” said Captain Boylan. “Everyone has been so wonderful. I was afraid of rejection, but I have been met with nothing but acceptance, support, and help from everyone around me.”

As she contemplated the response of her SkyWest family, Captain Boylan imagined that this month, her peers are hoping to celebrate both the acceptance and support from those around us and the joy we share in being our authentic selves.

“I volunteer as a mentor with the National Gay Pilots Association, and nothing makes me happier than being a representation of authenticity when I tell my story to others starting their journey,” said Captain Boylan. “The local chapter for Women in Aviation International is starting up again and I look forward to pitching in and helping alongside so many wonderful women who share a passion for flying.”

Steven Jennings – Instructor Ground InFlight, SLC

Steven grew up in a very small town in Oregon. He later moved to Eugene and then decided he was ready to move on and see what life had to offer (and he had an inner calling to see the world!).

Nearly four years ago, Steven was hired as a flight attendant. The SkyWest culture has allowed him to open up and grow, both personally and professionally. He is grateful for how accepting and loving the SkyWest family has been over the years. After meeting so many accepting people here, he realized how much he loved this career because of the rich diversity and culture.

“I think it’s very important to work for a company that recognizes and celebrates your community of fellow LGBTQA+ people for who they are and what they bring to the table,” said Steven.

Pride Month has several important meanings to Steven. It is a time he gets to celebrate and also a time to remember where he came from and how much he’s overcome as a gay man.

“I think it’s super important to remember the violence, hate, and suffering that our community has endured in the past and, unfortunately, continues to endure to this day,” said Steven. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have so much further to go.”

To join our diverse team, visit our job openings.

Celebrating Pride Month

June is Pride Month and is dedicated to greater unity, visibility, and equality for LGBTQ+ individuals. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing updates from several SkyWest team members about what Pride Month means to them.

Michelle Parent – ERJ Captain, SLC

Captain Parent began her SkyWest journey 22 years ago thanks to a good friend who told her that SkyWest was an amazing company and would be going places.

“Guess what? They were absolutely right,” said Captain Parent. “We had 700 pilots then and now we have almost 5,400!”

SkyWest has since become Captain Parent’s extended family and she truly appreciates our diverse culture.

“I was so scared to transition four years ago,” she said. “But when I did, I was surprised to learn that SkyWest had their arms wide open to assist me at every turn, airspeed change, climb, and descent.”

Acknowledging Pride Month is surreal for Captain Parent. She is transgender and identifies as pan, and during Pride Month she feels like a part of something bigger than herself. She notices the importance to be accepted and to fully accept those around you. Each day she tries to show people that she is no different than they are.

“I am human, I am spiritual, and I cherish my family with my three amazing children who rule my world,” said Captain Parent. “I have a wonderful lesbian partner of the last three years whom I love dearly.”

Captain Parent also says she is thankful for her SkyWest journey and the beautiful friends and memories made thus far.

“In the midst of many headwinds, it’s nice to just take a step back,” said Captain Parent. “To take a deep breath and watch the sun rise above the mountains. And, to appreciate a team of amazing people who are and always will be SkyWest family, regardless of who they are, who they love, where they come from, or what they believe.”

Greg Smith – Flight Attendant, DTW  

Flight Attendant Greg has been part of the SkyWest team for five years. Several years ago, he was ready for a career change and he hoped he could utilize his customer service skills and also travel the world. SkyWest checked both of those items.

“I’m so grateful to have a career where I can engage and meet with passengers from all over the world,” said Greg. “I learn something new on each flight I work. My experience here has been great because I enjoy providing exceptional customer service and I love seeing the excitement and smiles from their travels.”

To Greg, Pride Month is all about celebrating those smiles and the excitement of adventure but in his own community.

“Not only do members of the LGBTQ+ community come together,” said Greg. “But, this is also an opportunity to welcome others in the celebration of equal rights.”

Jay Briggs – Flight Attendant, IAH

Flight Attendant Jay has been at SkyWest nearly seven years. She was encouraged to pursue her career by her mom who was on a flight and thought that Jay would make a great flight attendant. The rest is history!

Pride Month is Jay’s yearly reminder to not be invisible. She says it’s easy to have her identity hidden from the world as a bisexual woman who is married to a man. The invisibility is part of an underrepresentation of a community and identity that she is proud to be a part of. Statistically, bi+ individuals make up the largest population of the LGBTQ+ community, but they are six times less likely to disclose their orientation compared to others in the community.

“As a proud bi individual, Pride Month reminds me how important it is to not hide,” said Jay. “It reminds me that coming to terms with who I am might have been easier if there were more people in my community that talked about being bi+.”

Jay is thankful for the SkyWest culture and says without it, she wouldn’t be who she is today.

“Because of SkyWest, I was inspired to work with our new hires, to become a lead, and to pursue a degree in aviation business administration,” said Jay. “It’s amazing to work for a company where I can be myself and still be a role model for others.”

SkyWest is like family to Jay and she loves being part of the team.

“From non-revving around the world together, to jumping in and supporting each other in times of need, SkyWest is full of amazing people” said Jay.

Join our standout team by visiting our careers page today!

SkyWest Pilot Shares His Fight With Cancer

For SkyWest pilot Bruce McNaughton, next month will mark 23 years since his last dose of chemotherapy. While not everyone is fortunate to beat cancer, Captain McNaughton is thankful for the extra time that has allowed him to see his kids grow up, and to continue his passion for aviation.

The Denver ERJ Captain was diagnosed in 1994 with hairy cell leukemia when he was serving in the Air Force. Following his diagnosis, he began treatment for the next six months.

“I remember the oncologist telling me that if I had to get cancer, this was the one,” Captain McNaughton recalled. “This particular cancer is considered an indolent disease; it takes its time. But there was still physical discomfort, life disruption, and the unknowns.”

In 1995, he returned to flight status and moved to another Air Force base. Then, during a checkup three years later, the flight surgeon noticed that Captain McNaughton’s blood count was trending down. A relapse was diagnosed and he resumed treatment. The following year, Captain McNaughton returned to flight status and has been disease-free ever since.

After retiring from the Air Force, Captain McNaughton joined the airline industry and flew commercially before taking some time away to work at a family-owned tax practice.

“I quickly realized how much I missed flying,” he said. “I put in an application to SkyWest in 2016, and I’ve been here ever since. It’s been great and I have really enjoyed being at SkyWest.”

When he’s not flying 35,000 feet in the air, Captain McNaughton can be found visiting with cancer patients as well as sending gifts to many who are fighting the disease throughout the country.

“When I started chemotherapy in 1994, I would go in every other Monday for six months,” he said. “During this time, I would get hooked up to an IV and the nurse would put a jar of “belly flops” – which are imperfect jelly beans – on the table next to me for a snack. It’s a whimsical diversion because you never know what flavor it’s going to be. So what I’ve done over the years is send a jar of belly flops to those I hear about who have cancer. I tell them my story and let them know that they are not alone.”

For Captain McNaughton, just being there for others is what it’s all about.

“I’ve had people tell me that they wanted to call me, but were hesitant because they didn’t know what to say,” he said. “So my message to those people is this: Please don’t avoid contact because you don’t know what to say. Just being there, or keeping in contact with a phone call, text, or postcard goes a long way.”

Congratulations Captain McNaughton on being cancer free the past 23 years. Your efforts to encourage and inspire others is shared by all of us at SkyWest in the fight against cancer.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

SkyWest is proud to have a diverse team with many cultures and backgrounds represented throughout our workforce. This month we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and heard from many of our employees about what their heritage means to them and how it plays a role at SkyWest. Here’s what they had to say:

Paola Johnson — Flight Attendant, SLC

I was born in Santiago, Chile, and came to the United States when I was 10 years old. I’ll never forget that night and the bittersweet goodbyes. On that 10-hour flight, my love for aviation began thanks to an amazing flight attendant who took me under her wing. Though she was working first class, she constantly checked up on me and spoiled me with inflight goodies (pillow, blanket, snacks, and coloring books). It was that moment when I said to myself, “I want to be just like her.” The kindness she showed me really impacted me and inspired me to become a flight attendant just like her.

Years later, one of my friends told me about a SkyWest hiring event that was being held in Salt Lake City the following day. I thought the idea of possibly interviewing the very next day was crazy, but I took my chances, and five years later, here I am!

After my first year at SkyWest, I jumped at the opportunity to join the InFlight recruitment team. I love going to recruitment events and seeing not only the excitement that so many applicants have, but giving them the same opportunities that I was given. I’ll never forget when I asked an applicant a question and he responded by saying that it was inspiring and motivating for him to see a Latina flight attendant conducting his interview. It made him proud and happy to see diversity here at SkyWest.

In July, I celebrated my five-year work anniversary at SkyWest and my experiences have been nothing but amazing. I’m so grateful for the many friendships that I’ve built here and the places I’ve been able to see and explore. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities SkyWest has provided for me and my family!

Eventually, my family went back to Chile, but they left me with many valuable lessons that I still cherish to this day: the value of hard work, having courage and believing in yourself – even if you have to start over. As a mom, I hope that I’m teaching my daughters that same work ethic and showing them that anything is possible, no matter where they come from.

Nayomie Burns — Flight Attendant, DFW

I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. I grew up an Army brat (child), and lived in some pretty diverse places. Both of my parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico and married very young. My mom always instilled in us to get an education and to do better than they did. So, although my desire was to become a flight attendant after high school, I obeyed and went to college.

I truly enjoyed my time as a college student and made such great friends. But again, I was in rural Louisiana at the time and people did not know that Puerto Ricans could have such dark skin. I always had to explain myself to others, but that is one thing that I’ve never had to do at SkyWest.

When I joined the SkyWest family as a flight attendant, I said to myself, “I am done. I am in my forever career.” I’m so glad I came here and didn’t go elsewhere. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many great people and have met more Latinx pilots than I can count. I have been inspired by them and countless others to try my hand on the other side of the door.

I started taking flight lessons a couple of years ago and finally received my PPL this past June – right as I transferred to Dallas (DFW). During this time, I have met so many Latinx pilots and plan to join them one day as an Afro-Latina, which I am proud to be. I really appreciate the opportunities that SkyWest affords me and how they embrace and encourage individuality while still being part of a larger community.

Rene Azahar — CRJ Captain, FAT

SkyWest CRJ Captain Rene Azahar credits his father for sparking his passion for aviation and for helping him get to where he is today.

“Growing up, my dad would take me over to Los Angeles International Airport to watch the planes take off and land. It was a thrill! When we weren’t at the airport, you could find us flying model airplanes at the park.”

A few years later, the family moved to Santa Maria, California, right behind the airport. From his backyard, Captain Azahar could see the SkyWest planes take off and land. It was during this time that Captain Azahar made it his goal to be a commercial airline pilot for SkyWest one day.

With strong family support and his dad telling him to never give up on his dream, Captain Azahar fulfilled that promise in 2017 when he was hired at SkyWest.

Click here to read more about Captain Azahar’s inspiring path to becoming a commercial airline pilot.

JJ Jimenez Lopez — Flight Attendant, DFW

For SkyWest Flight Attendant JJ Jimenez Lopez, working in the aviation industry wasn’t something that had ever crossed his mind growing up. That all changed when a friend and fellow SkyWest Flight Attendant Vanna Hoang, encouraged him to look into it.

“Vanna introduced me to SkyWest and the aviation industry, and the next minute I’m covering one of her trips,” said JJ. “How cool is that! Every time I see Vanna I make sure to thank her because SkyWest has changed my life.”

For JJ, who recently celebrated his five-year work anniversary this summer, it all wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his parents who made a number of sacrifices so that he could have a better life.

“I’m proud of my heritage. It means everything to me,” said the Dallas-based flight attendant. “My parents taught me early on about the importance of hard work, dedication, and being proud of where I come from and who I am. My parents came from nothing and gave my siblings and me a better life. Their sacrifice and love is something that I’ll never forget.”

Click here to read more about JJ’s path to becoming a flight attendant.

Happy Father’s Day: Thanks, Dad!

The saying “it runs in the family” certainly rings true at SkyWest with aviation playing a big part for many of SkyWest’s 14,000 employees.

To celebrate Father’s Day, and to show our dads and father figures just how much we appreciate them, we asked a few SkyWest employees to share how their dads have inspired and guided them.

Jenny Elmer – CRJ First Officer, DEN

My dad has always been my hero since I was a little girl! He was a United Airlines pilot and I aspired to be an airline pilot just like him.

My dad constantly supported me and helped me get through my flight training. He even reinstated his CFI to fly with me while I built my flight time. He instilled the hard work ethic I have and reminded me to always find the fun in flying. Dad found humor in everything! We had a lot of laughs.

In 2005, I became an intern for United and was able to ride on Dad’s jumpseat for a handful of flights. Then in 2006, I was hired as a first officer at SkyWest Airlines. My dad wins the “most flights on your daughter’s jumpseat award”! He was on the jumpseat of one of my Brasilia flights and again several times when I transitioned to the jet! He was so proud of me and I was over the moon to have him on my flights!

I married a SkyWest pilot and my dad came along when my husband picked up one of my trips as captain. After starting my career at SkyWest, I continued flying trips on Dad’s jumpseat and made sure to join him and my husband (who is also at United now) on their jumpseat to Hawaii! I even rode on the jumpseat of Dad’s retirement flight!

I’m so proud of my dad and I will forever cherish the moments we had together flying. He shared all his knowledge of flying and encouraged me to always be the best that I could be. His great attitude led him through an amazing career and I aspire to work hard and to find the fun in every flight!

Thank you, Dad, for helping me become the pilot I am today! I want to make you proud!

Garrett Hintze – Maintenance Control Support, HDQ

Thinking back to when I was first hired at SkyWest, I remember thinking how incredibly lucky I was to have the opportunity to work alongside my father, my life’s biggest role model. Throughout my time here, my admiration for him, as well as our bond, has continually grown. He has always been an inspiration in my life and continues to set a high standard.

Even when it comes to activities outside of the workplace, such as biking, I find myself eating his dust. His sharp wits and high skill set have always been a source of reliance; hence it is no surprise that I find myself working in the same industry. His consistent support, and faith in my capacities, have played a major part in my success throughout life. He is genuinely great at what he does at SkyWest and far exceeds that in his role as a father.

Dad, you have given me the best things in life: your time, care, and love. I am so grateful to have you as my father. Happy Father’s Day!

Ethan Gray – CRJ First Officer, IAH

My dad has always been my primary inspiration for aviation. A decorated fighter pilot now with United, he has supported me throughout the long journey of becoming an airline pilot myself. I have fond memories of him flying over our house in F16s, or going to the airport to watch him land 737s. Flying runs deeply in my family, as my late grandfather was also a lifelong Air Force aviator.

Both my grandfather and dad were instrumental in my success as a pilot. The countless and riveting stories my grandfather shared kept me motivated when training got tough. My dad always had the right advice when I had a poor lesson or felt overwhelmed. If I ever needed some guidance or just a solid flying story, I always knew I could call either of them. Even though their tales consisted of action-packed heroics over enemy skies, it always came back to the fundamentals:

– Use all of your resources
– Never give up
– Never stop learning
– And of course, don’t forget to have fun

When I got the call from SkyWest, my family was ecstatic. In classic dad fashion, my father said “I’m not surprised!” Similar words to what he would tell me after every checkride pass or major milestone I completed. “You studied, you prepared, and now you’ve succeeded!” He, nor my mother, have ever expressed any doubts in my progression. They’ve been nothing but supportive. I am extremely thankful and blessed for this.

Last fall, my dad joined me on a short turn to Lake Charles. He rode in the flight deck jumpseat as Captain Sonny let me fly both legs. Our schedules so rarely line up, it made this experience very special. This was the first time a family member has ever flown with me as a professional pilot. I was so excited to have my dad and hero watching me work in the flight deck. With such experience observing me, I made sure I was on my absolute A-game. Not to brag, but I totally greased the landings for him.

Now with loads filling up, and both of our schedules becoming busier, it will probably be quite a while before we get to fly together again. That makes this experience all the more fun and special to me.

Kevin Law – System Controller, HDQ

I have always been inspired by my Dad to find a career in Aviation. Growing up, my dad served in the United States Air Force flying the EC-121 the F-102 and A-7D, before ending his military career after 30 years.

With a love for flying, my dad began looking into commercial aviation. Turns out we were both fortunate that SkyWest offered him the job. My dad was hired in 1984, and I followed in 1985.

I started as a ramp agent, and a year later, was hired as a Dispatcher/System Controller where I’ve spent the last 35 years. During this time I was fortunate to pre-plan flights and send releases as my dad’s dispatcher. Another fun memory working together is when he was flying into St. George (SGU) and I let him know over the radio that my first daughter was born. I also had great rides in the Brasilia riding in the jumpseat with him. Dispatchers are required to have jumpseat time and it was fun listening to him talk to air traffic control. I could tell they had talked many times before and had a good time ribbing each other. It was great to be able to ride along with my dad and see him do what he enjoys.

I have many happy memories and have enjoyed the many friendships that I have made at SkyWest. Thanks, Dad, and Happy Father’s Day!

Encouraging the Next Generation of Female Pilots

Denver-based CRJ First Officer Abby Jarve is passionate about women in aviation. She had an impactful mentor while she was in high school and beginning her pursuit of an aviation career, and is trying to do the same for the next generation of female aviators in her area. Abby recently took a group of high school and college girls on a tour in DEN and the girls all left with a greater excitement for flying!

The tour was organized through the Wings Over the Rockies Museum where Abby is a volunteer. The girls in her mentorship group have all received scholarships through the museum to earn their private pilot certificates, and are in different phases of their experiences. By bringing them to the airport, Abby was able to show them what a day in the life is like for a professional pilot.

“After I got hired at SkyWest, the museum asked if I would be a mentor for the scholarship foundation and the answer was an obvious, yes,” said Abby. “I hope that I can be a help and positive influence just like the mentors I’ve had in my life.”

The group started their tour in the crew lounge talking about what is done before a flight and the similarities and differences between professional and general aviation. Then they proceeded to the ramp for a walk around and tour of the flight deck of an E175 and a CRJ700. The next stop was SkyWest maintenance in DEN. The tour ended with a visit to United’s Operations Control.

“I think they all walked away with better perspectives of what being an airline pilot is like, how to achieve it, and an introduction to the SkyWest spirit,” said Clint Hultgren, DEN Flight Operations Supervisor, who met up with Abby and the girls during the tour.

We love having positive influences like Abby on our team! She is one of many women at SkyWest who encourage and inspire the next generation of female aviation professionals.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

SkyWest is proud to have a global team with many cultures represented throughout our workforce. This month we celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Month by catching up with SkyWest team members across the system to share what their heritage means to them and how it plays a role at SkyWest and in their local communities. Here’s what they had to say:

April Keil – Crew Scheduler, HDQ

Since joining SkyWest nearly 20 years ago, April Keil has spent her aviation career working in Crew Support. She has been a vital part of the operation and despite working nearly two decades in her role, she has no plans of slowing down.

“I love it here. SkyWest is my home-away-from home and while 20 years sounds like a lot, it’s gone by fast,” she said. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

For April, who is both Samoan and Chinese, celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month is important to her because it’s an opportunity to recognize the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made a difference, and to share her heritage with her kids and all those around her.

“Family is everything in the Samoan culture and family is everyone. We believe it takes a village to raise a child and everyone helps out. During a trip back to Somoa, I had kids run up to me shouting ‘Auntie, Auntie, look what we found.’ They grew up with that mentality that anyone who is your elder is your aunt or uncle. A lot of the Polynesians who are younger than me in Crew Support also call me ‘Auntie.’ I got some strange looks from my boss before I explained everything,” April said laughing.

After moving from Samoa to the United States in 1996, April wanted to make sure her kids didn’t forget where they came from. After working at SkyWest, April made the most of her travel privileges by taking her family often to visit Samoa.

“We still have a bunch of extended family over in Samoa and it’s been wonderful and such a blessing to be able to visit them,” said April. “I love showing my kids around, getting them in touch with their roots and teaching them more about their heritage, culture and traditions.”

Wanting to share that with others back home, April and her family opened up a dance studio – Siva Pasefika or “Dance Pacific” – to share the Polynesian culture with the community.

“We started Siva Pasefika in 2006 and it’s been fun sharing and teaching the Polynesian ways,” said April. “My kids are a lot older now and they have taken the lead and it’s been a lot of fun to watch and to see the culture being carried on.”  

In addition to the ability to travel and see family, April says the work/life balance, the comradery and friendships she’s made at SkyWest is what keeps her happily coming to work each day.

“SkyWest has been so good to me. It really is my second home,” she said. “I always look forward to coming in every day, even when some of my shifts start so early in the morning. I enjoy what I do and I have great coworkers who have become my lifelong friends.”

Anna and Piraya Supa – Flight Attendants, (PDX and BOI)

Traveling between the United States and Thailand each year to visit their extended family, Anna and Piraya Supa – both sisters and now SkyWest Flight Attendants – fell in love with aviation, traveling and experiencing the different customs and cultures throughout the world.

After the Supa family moved from Thailand to the United States, Anna’s dream of becoming a flight attendant became a reality. After applying for a position, Anna attended a group interview in Portland, Oregon (PDX) and started her training soon after.

After seeing her sister, Anna, have the time of her life at SkyWest, Piraya couldn’t wait to join in on the fun and was hired two years later.

Over the years, both Anna and Piraya have had the opportunity to work several trips together and enjoy visiting extended family in Thailand.

Click here to read more about Anna and Piraya’s experience.

Claudia Liu – CRJ First Officer, LAX

CRJ First Officer Claudia Liu did not follow the “typical” path to becoming a pilot. After working in the fashion industry for three years, she decided it was time for a change. Her mom suggested she apply for a pilot cadet program with Eva Air in Taiwan.

After applying, Claudia quickly realized how much she loved flying. She eventually moved to California to build up her flight hours and earned her CFI. Despite the big change, one thing that helped was the friends and supporters that Claudia met along the way, especially Michelle Lee. The two met in flight school and are both flying at SkyWest. The two flew their first trip together this past December in what was a memorable moment for both women.

Click here to read more about Claudia and her experiences.

Joel Larimer – Flight Attendant, SEA

After moving from Guam to the United States in 2003, Seattle (SEA) Flight Attendant Joel Larimer fulfilled his dream of becoming a flight attendant.

And for the past 16 years, Joel has been a fan favorite 35,000 feet in the air as he sings, dances and helps provide a great travel experience for passengers. Several frequent fliers have nicknamed him “jukebox” because he’s always singing on the plane.

For Joel, sharing his culture goes beyond just talking with passengers or making famous Chamorro food dishes for coworkers, it’s about informing, inspiring and helping to connect the world.

Click here to read more.

 

“It Feels Good To Go Out And Make A Difference”

Three years ago, while helping with cleanup projects in the Pacific Northwest, a friend challenged SEA First Officer Joseph Leatherman to pick up trash for 30 minutes a week. Not only did Joseph accept the challenge, but he upped the ante, telling her that he would pick up trash for 30 minutes each day.

“I love nature and the outdoors, and I want my daughter to appreciate it and take good care of it so that future generations can enjoy it as well,” he said.

To meet his goal, Joseph started using his layovers to pick up trash everywhere he went. In some cases, he spent several hours picking up trash and other garbage. Neither rain nor snow has slowed Leatherman down either, as he hasn’t missed a day in more than two years.

“Everywhere I go, I take a garbage bag with me,” he said. “You never know what you will find and it feels good to go out and make a difference. It’s always a positive experience because you are doing something great for the community and the environment.”

Having been based in LaGuardia (LGA), Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA), Joseph has had an opportunity to help many communities across North America. Joseph has also expanded his efforts by asking fellow crewmembers to join him on cleanups.

 

“I was ecstatic to help Joseph with a cleanup,” said SkyWest ERJ Captain Jade Braff. “I’ve never been approached by another crewmember to do a cleanup before, but I had a lot of fun. The before and after pictures are inspiring. It instills a desire to do more. To work harder and come together as a community to achieve a common goal.”

Over the years, Joseph has collected thousands of pounds of garbage and was even given a delivery truck to fill each day when he was based in New York.

“It was awesome,” he said. “We had so many crewmembers show up to help. It’s always overwhelming to see an area covered in trash and then become a rehabilitated area. It inspires me and keeps me going.”

With so many wanting to be involved, Joseph created a Facebook group called “Eco-Crews,” to provide information about upcoming cleanups. Besides picking up trash, the group plants trees at least once a month to help offset carbon.

 

“It’s been great to see all the support, especially from the SkyWest family,” said Joseph. “Everyone that I’ve dealt with has been great and positive and that’s why it was an easy choice for me to come to SkyWest. With a positive culture, great work environment and great morale, there’s no place I’d rather be.”

And while Earth Day are highlighted in April, Joseph hopes it’s the first step, for many, to do something each day all year long.

“It’s important to remember that we can all do something each day,” he said. “People don’t have to go and do big cleanups. Just picking up a piece of trash each day makes a difference. It all adds up and every little bit counts.”

Learn more about SkyWest’s sustainability efforts here.