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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.

 

“SkyWest Is An Extension Of Our family”

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, flight attendants Anna and Piraya Supa – both sisters – share what their heritage means to them and reflect on their experiences at SkyWest.

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 of both nations and surrounding countries. 

“I was always fascinated with aviation and flying,” said Anna. “Seeing crews walking through the airport and heading to destinations all over the world was exciting and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

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

“I was so excited when I got the news,” she said. “For me, one of the best things about being a flight attendant is making everyone’s travel experience a memorable one. I’m so glad that I came to SkyWest and the opportunities it has given me. The company is an extension of my family, and I have met so many wonderful people and have made so many friends.”

For Piraya, traveling to different places and experiencing different cultures has always been something she’s enjoyed. And after seeing her sister, Anna, have the time of her life at SkyWest, Piraya couldn’t wait to join in on the fun.

“Anna played a big part and inspired me to become a flight attendant,” she said. “I ended up going to the same hotel that Anna went to for my group interview and it’s been an amazing ride ever since.”

In their spare time, Anna and Piraya love traveling the world and exploring new countries, cities and cultures. Out of all the places they’ve visited, the one spot they make sure to visit each year is their homeland: Thailand.

“The travel privileges at SkyWest are amazing and allow us to see our extended family as often as we’d like,” said Piraya.

“We love visiting Thailand and are proud of our heritage,” added Anna. “Growing up we loved to watch our grandma cook in a traditional outdoor kitchen. That was just one of the customs and traditions we learned and that is where we learned to love Thai food and to cook.”

Anna’s favorite dish is Khao Soi, a Laotion meal, while Piraya loves Thai egg rolls.

Whether at work or at home, Anna and Piraya love sharing their culture and experiences with friends, coworkers and passengers.

“We love it and are always flattered when people ask questions,” said Anna. “We enjoy taking crewmembers out for Thai food and taking them on a culinary journey. We also make guidebooks for people who are curious about traveling to Thailand and experiencing everything that it has to offer. It’s a special place.”

Although Anna is based in PDX and Piraya is in Boise, Idaho (BOI), the two sisters still do as much as they can together.

“We’re best friends,” said Anna. “She’s the first one I call when I have bad news, and the first one I call when I have good news.”

That’s why it’s no surprise to see both sisters catching up with each other at the crew hotel or getting meals together when their paths cross throughout the SkyWest system. Over the years, both Anna and Piraya have had the opportunity to work several trips together too.

“It’s the best,” said Piraya. “It’s so much fun and we hope to do many more work trips together.”  

SkyWest is proud to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month and appreciate the contributions of all those like Anna and Piraya who continue to help make the airline the best in the industry.

AAPI Month: SkyWest Pilot And Flight Attendant Fulfill Dreams

SkyWest pilot Claudia Liu and flight attendant Joel Larimer share what Asian American and Pacific Islander Month means to them and how their culture and background has shaped their experience at SkyWest.

CRJ First Officer Claudia Liu did not follow the “typical” path to becoming a pilot.

“I was always interested in art so after high school I attended the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Apparel Design,” she said.

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.

“Growing up in Taiwan it was almost unheard of for a female to become a pilot,” Claudia said. “My family is pretty traditional and I had some family members who did not approve or believe I could become a pilot.”

Despite it being such a big change, Claudia decided to apply and immediately found that she loved flying. She eventually moved to California as she was building up her flight hours and earned her CFI.

“For me, the path to being a pilot was not easy. I had no basic knowledge or foundation of what it takes to become a pilot,” said Claudia. “There were many times where I questioned myself and wanted to give up. I am so glad I pushed through it.”

One thing that helped the process was the friends and supporters that Claudia met along the way, especially Michelle Lee. While they met in flight school, both are now flying at SkyWest. Michelle is a CRJ captain based in LAX.

“Ever since she upgraded to captain I have been looking forward to the day when we would be able to fly together,” said Claudia.

That chance finally came this past December when the two women were able to bid on the same trip.

“It was such a cool experience,” said Claudia. “In my experience it’s rare to see two female pilots in the flight deck and even less common to see two Asian female pilots. I really hope it will inspire and encourage other Asian females to consider becoming a pilot.”

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.

“It was always something that I wanted to do,” he said. “I went to a SkyWest open house with a friend, ended up getting hired, and the rest was history.”

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 on his route have nicknamed him “jukebox” because he’s always singing on the plane.

“It’s a great way to break the ice, cheer people up and it’s a great conversation starter too,” said Joel. “A lot of people then ask about my background and it’s great to be able to share my culture, customs and traditions with them.”

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.

“Everyone has something to contribute and it’s important that we appreciate and celebrate the differences that we have,” he said. “We can all learn something from each other and we must not forget who we are or where we came from. 

When he’s not flying, Joel can be found teaching the language as well as cultural dances to more than 100 students. In 2012, he started Guma’ Imahe — a nonprofit organization — teaching youth about Guam through dance and music. The group has grown from 25 students to more than 100 and includes some Polynesian dance as well.

“I started dancing when I was 12 and it helped connect me to the culture,” said Joel. “That’s why I started Guma’ Imahe to give back and to help connect people to their heritage.

Serving others and giving back is what led Joel to become a flight attendant. But when he first told his parents of his decision to join the aviation industry, they were caught off guard, seeing as how he had his teaching degree.

“My parents were a little skeptical at first when I told them, but they were also very supportive at the same time. Now they use the flight benefits more than I do,” Joel said laughing.

Coming up on his 16-year work anniversary, Joel has no plans of going anywhere else.

“I love it here,” he said. “SkyWest provides a great work-life balance and it’s full of great people. I’ve made so many friends here and I fly with crews who are respectful and who appreciate me and my cultural differences.”  

Women’s History Month: “My Grandma Inspired Me To Fly”

As part of Women’s History Month, PDX First Officer Lindsey Scott explains how she was inspired to become a pilot and reflects on her experience at SkyWest.

The saying “it runs in the family” certainly holds true for SkyWest pilot Lindsey Scott.

As a third generation female pilot in her family, Lindsey is grateful for her mom and grandma’s influence, bravery and example, which she credits for helping her get to where she is today.

Growing up, Lindsey always dreamed of being a pilot and loved going to airshows and aviation events. She frequently tagged along with her grandma, Mary Jean Barnes Sturdevant, who was often invited to speak at aviation events.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why my grandma was speaking at all these events,” Lindsey said. “For me, she was my nice, sweet grandma, but for many, she was a celebrity.”

It wasn’t until she was a little older that Lindsey understood why her grandma received so much attention for her flying.

“In 1944, my grandma stepped off of a bus in Sweetwater, Texas and embarked on an adventure that would have ripple effects for generations,” said Lindsey. “As a civilian, she joined an elite group of women who would serve as pilots for the United States Air Force during World War II. The WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) program was formed, and my grandma was part of the seventh class (44-W7), making her, and the women she flew with, the first women to be allowed to pilot aircraft for the United States military.”

More than 1,000 women were part of the WASP program. They went on to fly every type of aircraft the military had to offer, logging more than 60 million miles in the process. Some of the aircraft Mary flew were the T6 Texan and the BT-13. She was also an instructor who taught male pilots how to fly.

Fast forward more than a half-century later, Lindsey got the opportunity to fly in a T6 Texan over the east Texas landscape and reminisced about her grandma and other members of the WASP program who helped pave the way for future generations.

“As a teenager flying the T6 Texan, I can only imagine if my grandma thought about the opportunities she was creating and the paths she was blazing for the generations that followed, including me,” said Lindsey. “She’s an inspiration and the reason why I fly today!”

Lindsey started flying when she was 17 years old. When it was time to decide which regional airline she was going to join, she remembers visiting the SkyWest booth during an aviation conference and was blown away by what she saw.

“I was so impressed with how excited the pilot recruiters were about the company,” she said. “It was genuine excitement and I knew this was the place for me. After looking into the company some more, I didn’t realize just how big the company was and the number of flights, aircraft and bases they had. It was an easy choice for me and I’m so glad I picked SkyWest.”

After flying routes all over North America the past four years, Lindsey will begin training next month so that she can upgrade to captain and transition from the right seat to the left seat.

“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get going,” she said. “I know my grandma is going to be smiling down on me and I’m forever grateful for her example.”

While Lindsey never got to fly with her grandma, the two cherished a memorable moment in Washington D.C. as they attended the 2010 Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring every member of the WASP program.

“It’s the highest honor a civilian can receive from Congress,” said Lindsey. “They had events at the 9/11 Memorial, The Pentagon, etc. and each member of the WASP was treated like royalty, including personal military escorts, as well as private tours for sites in D.C.”

But the most memorable moment for Lindsey was seeing her grandma light up as Mary introduced her family to other WASP members.

“My grandma was so happy and so proud to introduce my mom and me to her friends as a third-generation pilot family,” Lindsey said. “I was so overwhelmed with how proud she was of me. To know that what I was doing was that important to her, it was the best feeling ever.”

Women’s History Month: “Coming Back To SkyWest Was An Easy Choice”

It was a moment that Minneapolis (MSP) Flight Attendant Debby Thompson won’t soon forget.

After making her way to the gate to check-in, and then boarding the CRJ900 aircraft to work the last flight of the night, the nine-year veteran got a lovely surprise when she met her crewmembers working the flight from Minneapolis to Cedar Rapids, Iowa last month.

Despite having worked thousands of flights in her career, that Saturday night flight was the first time that she can remember working with an all-female crew.

“It was fun, it was rare, but it was awesome and a proud moment for me,” said Debby. “I didn’t know beforehand it was going to be an all-female crew. Everyone was excited and it was a very empowering moment for me. I love working with all my coworkers, however, that moment really showed how far women have come in the airline industry.”

That moment was not only noticed by crewmembers, but passengers as well who commented on the all-female crew.

“It made people pause for a second because many of them haven’t seen that before,” said Debby. “Everyone was supportive and very complimentary, and it was a reminder that women can do anything they put their mind to. I’m very proud of our SkyWest pilots, especially our female pilots. While it’s still a male-dominated industry, I continue to see more females flying at SkyWest and I love it.”  

For Debby, working in the aviation industry, specifically as a flight attendant, is something that she has always wanted to do. Since she can remember, Debby has always been fascinated with flying and combined with her love to provide great customer service, working flights 35,000 feet in the air was a natural fit for her.

“The saying ‘choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is so true and I really feel that way working at SkyWest,” said Debby.

After starting her career in 2004, the nine-year veteran worked for a couple of years before taking a break to help raise her family.

“I came back in 2014 and everything has been great,” she said. “It was a good break to help me reset and to focus and take care of my family. I really enjoyed working as a flight attendant and my kids noticed that. When they got older, they were the ones who were encouraging me to come back and mentioned how happy I was working at SkyWest.”

After looking online to see where the next recruitment events were going to be, Debby saw that SkyWest was coming to MSP.

“I went to it, and the next thing I know I was in training and was back working as a flight attendant,” Debby recalled. “SkyWest is a great company and it was an easy choice for me to come back, especially with the full support from my family.” 

One of the highlights for Debby is having the opportunity each day to connect with passengers and crewmembers and making them feel loved and appreciated on each flight.

“People are traveling for a lot of different reasons and you don’t know what people are going through,” she said. “Each day I choose to wake up happy so that I can be a positive influence and to help assist or turn someone’s day around. That’s what gets me up every morning.”

Debby’s positivity, kindness and love to serve, comes from her upbringing and the opportunity her adopted parents gave her.

“I was born in Korea and was put up for adoption. A sweet family from California took me in and adopted me and I am so thankful to them,” said Debby. “They have given me so much opportunity and so much love. They are a family of giving and that’s just how I was raised. My family is a wonderful example to me and that’s why I try to pass that on and make a difference each day.”

When the global pandemic hit last year, the airline industry, like so many businesses throughout the world, was hit hard. Wanting to keep everyone’s spirits up, Debby started making goodie bags to hand out to SkyWest crewmembers, as well as other airline workers traveling to and from work.

With a thoughtful note, as well as chocolates or a rice crispy treat attached, Debby has been handing them out or leaving them behind on flights for her fellow crewmembers over the past year.

“Sharing is caring and I enjoy putting a smile on someone’s face,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about. One person can make a difference and small things can turn into big things.”

On top of that, Debby also recently started a sock drive to help local charities.

“Debby is always making the days of her passengers and fellow crewmembers brighter,” said Paul Caldwell, InFlight regional operations manager. “From creating goodie bags to starting a sock drive to help the less fortunate, I am so appreciative that she is always thinking of ways to make an impact on others. I can’t thank her enough for her care, compassion, and thoughtfulness for others, especially during this time that has been difficult for so many.”

No matter which of SkyWest’s 18 crew domiciles that she has worked out, Debby is grateful for the opportunity to come back to SkyWest — with its family-friendly culture — and to work with great coworkers each day.

“People ask me why I don’t go and work at major airline carriers and I tell people it’s because I love it here and that it really hasn’t crossed my mind,” she said. “The fact that so many people are still here that I worked with when I first started at SkyWest, really says a lot about the company.”    

SkyWest is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month and we look forward to highlighting more female team members like Debby who continually go above and beyond to make SkyWest the best airline in the industry.

Join us: SkyWest is excited to take part in the virtual Women in Aviation Conference, March 11-12, 2021. As one of the largest regional airlines in the world – with nearly 2,000 daily flights and more than 450 aircraft — our recruitment team looks forward to chatting with you and answering your questions. Click here to join us and to learn more about taking your career to new heights.

Black History Month: “My Experiences Have Been Nothing Short of Amazing”

SkyWest talks with one of our maintenance professionals who reflects on his aviation career and what Black History Month means to him.

Reggie Teague, an A&P professional at SkyWest, is coming up on his 20th anniversary and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. The Houston-based maintenance supervisor has worked across the country and throughout the SkyWest system working on advanced aircraft systems, troubleshooting and doing inspections to help keep SkyWest’s fleet running smoothly.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the veteran A&P mechanic says he is grateful for the opportunity it provides to recognize and reflect on the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made difference.

“I’m proud of my heritage and appreciate those who fought for equality and who helped pave the way before me,” Reggie said.” My parents are my role models. They didn’t have it easy and they worked hard to make sure I had what I needed to succeed in life. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the man that I am today.”

Those lessons and traits have shaped Reggie’s fun-loving personality and a big reason why he’s made a lasting impression on all those he meets, especially his coworkers.

For Reggie, SkyWest has always been his ‘home away from home’ and the company’s family-like environment has helped him feel included and supported from the moment he started. That camaraderie was on full display three years ago when Reggie broke both of his legs and was away from work for several months. The challenging time was quickly filled with love and support as current and former SkyWest employees kept checking up on him.

“I had people who I hadn’t worked with in years calling me and asking how I was doing,” he said. “A bunch of employees even donated their hours to help me. I’m forever grateful to them. And that’s what SkyWest is all about. We are a family and everyone has big hearts!”

While Reggie has had other opportunities at mainline carriers, he says the connection he shares with the company has made staying with the airline an easy choice.

“SkyWest has always stuck by my side and they gave me a chance when everyone else closed their door,” he said. “My experiences here have been nothing short of amazing. I have made strong lifetime bonds with people in the SkyWest family. These are just some of the reasons that I never think about leaving. It really has been a great blessing to work here and I look forward to many more years to come.”

From working on jets to turboprops, Reggie has done it all. And what makes Reggie’s story so intriguing is that it nearly didn’t happen.  

Before joining SkyWest in 2001, Reggie worked as a hotel manager in Houston, Texas. He recalls pilots and flight attendants checking into the hotel talking about their fun trips or upcoming vacations.

“I was jealous. The only perk I could get was a free hotel stay,” Reggie said jokingly. “Hearing them talk about their trips got me interested, but I didn’t want to be a pilot or a flight attendant. I’m a guy who loves to build things, take stuff apart and then put it all back together.”

After a friend told him about the option to be an aircraft mechanic, Reggie was sold.

“I looked into it with my mom; we did some research and I decided to do it,” he said. “I enrolled and successfully completed A&P school in 18 months, then started applying to a bunch of airlines.”

With interviews at regionals as well as major U.S. airlines, Reggie was just excited to get started. Then the unthinkable happened: 9/11.

“When 9/11 happened, airline recruiters were calling me and letting me know that they were going into a hiring freeze. I was crushed. I said to myself, ‘that’s it. I’m not getting hired,’” he recalls. “Then a little bit later that day, I received a phone call from SkyWest and at that point, I just figured I was going to get the same reply as I got from all the other airlines. But I was wrong. They surprised me and offered me a aircraft mechanic position in Salt Lake City. I told the hiring manager that all the other airlines called me that morning and told me they were on a hiring freeze. The hiring manager replied, ‘We know, but we really want you’ and that has always stuck with me.”

After accepting the offer and moving to Salt Lake City, Reggie became the first in his family to work in the aviation industry, completing the trifecta of his parents and grandparents working in the transportation sector.

“My dad worked on cars and my grandpa worked on trains. Since I work on planes now, our family has the whole transportation sector covered,” he said smiling.     

SkyWest is proud to celebrate Black History Month and appreciate the contributions of all those like Reggie who help make the airline the best in the industry.

Mother Son Flying

Mother and Son Take Flight Together

Family Flying Together“Mom, secure the cabin.”

Trenton Crull’s announcement from the flight deck was a moment a lifetime in the making and a thrill for both him and his mom.

“I’ve had the privilege to fly both my mom and dad while they were passengers on my flight before, but being able to work with my mom as the flight attendant was pretty special,” said Trenton. “Being able to say, ‘Mom secure the cabin’ just made it all that more meaningful.”

Trenton is a SkyWest CRJ captain based in Colorado Springs, Colorado (COS) and Melodee Crull is a flight attendant based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), so the opportunity to work flight 4037 between Minneapolis and Bismarck, North Dakota together earlier this year was a rare treat.

“I told my passengers they were part of a very unique flight, as my son was one of the pilots and we were working our first flight together. ‘Mom, secure the cabin’ definitely brought laughter from the passengers,” said Melodee. “As I sat in the jumpseat upon takeoff, it was hard not to tear up thinking about my son flying the plane that I was working as a flight attendant. It’s not often that so many dreams come true in one day!”

Mother and son have crossed paths a few times since Trenton’s early days at SkyWest when he was stationed in Detroit, Michigan (DTW). Once Trenton moved to COS, their schedules got more difficult to coordinate.

“I have wanted to do this since I found out Trenton was joining me at SkyWest in November of 2017. Believe me, we’ve tried several times to get things to work out,” said Melodee.

“Luckily I had three weeks off waiting for my captain Initial Operating Experience and I found a trip to pick up in MSP,” added Trenton. “There was already a flight attendant on it, but my mom messaged her and worked it out to get on that trip.”

Melodee attributes her love of airplanes to her father, who worked at Cessna and Boeing in Wichita, Kansas when she was young. Being a flight attendant was always her dream, but for several years she filled her life with caring for a family. In 2017, the perfect opportunity came for Melodee to revive Mother and Son Flighther childhood dream and she interviewed with SkyWest.

“I love my crews. I have made so many great friends and anyone who has flown with me knows, I am a bit of a comedian and love to joke around and have fun. I also love interacting with my passengers! I have so much fun kidding around with them,” said Melodee. “I love that SkyWest has provided the opportunity to visit places I would otherwise never have got to visit.”

Her happiness at SkyWest influenced Trenton’s decision to come to SkyWest as well.

Melodee remembers her son aspired to be a pilot as early as the 2nd grade. A local pilot in the Crull’s hometown would take kids up on a flight as a reward for completing a school reading program every year and Trenton got to fly with him a few times.

“After that first flight I was hooked. I loved flying, but I didn’t know how to make it a career,” said Trenton. “It wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I started looking at how to pursue aviation as a career.”

Trenton completed flight training at the University of Central Missouri. He taught there for about a year after earning his certifications and then took a job flying private jets in St. Louis. When he earned the flight hours and experience to move to a regional airline, and with some urging from his mom, he applied at SkyWest.

“I remember texting him and saying, ‘YOU HAVE TO APPLY WITH SKYWEST! This company is amazing,’” recalled Melodee.

“She talked highly of SkyWest as a company and how fun the crews were and it was then that I started looking more in-depth at it,” said Trenton. “She was a big factor in my decision to come to SkyWest.”

“Trenton has recently finished his upgrade to captain and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Melodee. “He is a great person, with compassion for people and he truly loves his career, that’s what makes him a great pilot. I would be honored to fly with this captain any day.”

Thank you to all the moms like Melodee who inspire us to pursue our dreams in the aviation industry.

The Love Language of Flight!

A passion for the miracle of flight is one of the most common motivators for people joining the airline industry. And finding others who share that passion can lead to great relationships and, in some cases, even the love of their lives. This Valentine’s Day, we asked a few SkyWest couples to share how SkyWest helped them find each other.

Kelli Golden, air transportation supervisor, and Gage Wuthrich, dispatch supervisor, are preparing for their upcoming wedding next month. They initially met when they were assigned to the same shift and became friends. From there, the relationship quickly blossomed. 

“Gage was my dispatch trainer,” said Kelli. “So it was very natural for me to come up and talk with him and ask questions.” After being friends for a while they decided to start dating and of course, the rest is history.

Still, they kept their work and personal life separate for a while.

“Some of our co-workers didn’t know we were dating until they got our wedding invitation,” Gage said.

Kelli added that it’s great to share the same schedule, so they can sleep by 8 p.m. on the weekend — since they’re at work before the sun comes up. Of course, while they enjoy the camaraderie, sometimes they have to give each other space since they work just a few feet away from each other. At the same time, the couple noted that their shared understanding and passion for aviation has brought them closer together.

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Dontay Riley, manager of flight attendant performance, met his fiancée Matt Frisbie when visiting Salt Lake City during a work trip. The two met during flight attendant training and the rest has been history. 

“We met when I was in Salt Lake City training SkyWest flight attendants. We really hit it off,” says Dontay.

Because he was traveling from Chicago to Salt Lake City often, Dontay and Matt were able to see each other regularly and their relationship grew. After dating for six years, the couple was engaged last March when Dontay proposed in Puerto Vallarta. The couple is excited to marry in the same city in late October!

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CRJ Captain Timothy Grunden and Flight Attendant Phiola Grunden first met when they were assigned as crewmembers on the same flight. It was Phiola’s initial training day and Timothy was in the process of upgrading from first officer to captain. For dinner one night, Timothy told the rest of the crew he wanted to go out but no one else wanted to go. Timothy recalls, “Phiola must have felt sorry for me.”

They continued their separate journeys from there, but the two reconnected later after Phiola learned that Timothy had finished his upgrade via a mutual friend on Facebook. She reached out to congratulate him on the promotion, and a few Facebook messages later the couple was dating. Phiola and Timothy got married in July last year, after dating for two years and moving between domiciles to be closer together. They have since welcomed home a baby boy, whom the couple says is destined to work in the aviation industry.

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Dispatcher Bryan Button, and Vanessa Button, crew scheduler, originally met in San Diego, but said working in the same building at SkyWest has brought them closer. When Bryan moved to St. George, Utah, he planned on flying back to San Diego to visit Vanessa every few weeks. But the distance was no match for this couple. Vanessa surprised him and, despite being away from each other for five months, the couple only went one weekend without seeing each other! After Vanessa finished her degree in San Diego, she moved to St. George to be closer to Bryan and joined the SkyWest family as a crew scheduler in 2018. The couple was married in October last year and have enjoyed the unlikely aviation pairing of a dispatcher and crew scheduler.

Bryan and Vanessa say their relationship helps them understand and learn more about what the different teams do and how they work together to make the airline work.

“It’s fun because I am asked dispatch questions from my team, and dispatch will come over to my desk and ask me scheduling questions,” said Vanessa.

The couple also mentioned that understanding the very specific “airline speak” makes it easy for them to talk about what happened at work and the other being able to immediately understand what their spouse means.

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David Furlong and Randy Villanueva are both flight attendants in Chicago. They meet in 2005 in Sacramento, and after David told Randy about being a flight attendant, Randy quickly joined the SkyWest family. The couple was married in 2014 after being joined in a civil union since 2012. Randy said working with his partner is great because they know what each other needs.

“We had a medical emergency a few months ago and I just had to look at Randy and he knew exactly what I needed.” The couple said most of the time other crewmembers don’t know they are married, but love to work with them because they are such a great team.

***

Each couple had insight and advice to share for dating and marrying in the airline industry.

Bryan and Vanessa said the airline attracts a certain type of person who makes great friends and partners.

“We have the same friends, so even when Bryan is not at work, we go out with the same people,” Vanessa said.

David and Randy both agreed having boundaries is important to their relationship since the couple often finds themselves working on the same flight. “It’s great to work a plane with two galleys because it gives us that extra space,” the couple said jokingly.

Timothy and Phiola said communication is key. Whenever Timothy is traveling, he makes sure he texts Phiola as soon as he can after he lands.

“Skype and Facetime are great because for four days we have a long-distance relationship,” Timothy said.

Dontay said that they started to be more mindful of taking trips together. “We both take work trips often, so when we have the opportunity and our schedule allows we like to join each other on work trips,” she said.

Kelli and Gage, noted the importance of respecting each other’s space and enjoy having someone the can “talk shop” with. But their number one piece of advice was to be friends before you start to date. “You don’t need to rush into it,” said Gage.

All five couples said working together and speaking each other’s work-language has helped each couple grow closer together. Each couple also mentioned how supportive their coworkers are to their relationships and how SkyWest really is part of their extended family.

To the more than 14,000 SkyWest employees and many more who share a love for all things aviation: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bringing Military Experience to SkyWest

This Veterans Day, we salute all the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve our country in the armed forces. SkyWest Airlines is home to more than 1,600 veterans. Their experience and expertise help us deliver high-quality, reliable service on our more than 2,300 daily flights.

Maintenance Crew Lead Bryann Smith while in the United States Navy.

Bryann Smith, a maintenance crew lead working in Nashville, Tennessee (BNA), started at SkyWest after serving 15 years in the United States Navy as an aircraft structures mechanic and combat engineer. Choosing SkyWest was an easy decision for Bryann, who was looking for a company who cared about its employees and those they served.

“What brought me to SkyWest was a career with a company that honestly cares about its employees,” Bryann said. “We care about the safety of our aircraft and passengers more than anything else.”

Brandon Miller, a maintenance supervisor in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), was also drawn to SkyWest due to the airline’s reputation for taking care of its employees.

“I came to SkyWest because it was the most successful regional airline that respects and appreciates its employees,” said Brandon. “I wanted to be part of this great family atmosphere that SkyWest created!”

Maintenance Supervisor Brandon Miller in the cockpit of a KC-10A while in the United States Air Force.

Brandon served in the United States Air Force for four years as a maintenance hydraulic specialist. That experience taught him about decision making, integrity, reliability and being accountable for his actions – valuable qualities that help him in his daily responsibilities at SkyWest.

Augie Briseno, a maintenance trainer working in Palm Springs, California (PSP), also credits the training he received in the United States Navy for helping him to be successful during his 18 ½ years at SkyWest.

“I gained a lot of experience from the military as a collateral duty inspector, quality assurance representative and on-the-job training instructor,” added Augie. “These areas definitely played a huge role in my path and growth at SkyWest.”

“The military instilled leadership skills in me that I honestly don’t think I could have received anywhere else,” Bryann added. “I now help run a SkyWest hangar as a maintenance crew lead. The military taught me to prioritize and how to be ready for any situation that may arise.”

Maintenance Trainer Augie Briseno (far left) while serving in United States Navy.

SkyWest is proud of the service that employees like Bryann, Brandon, Augie and many more have provided during their time in the military and is glad they are a part of the team.

“I am tremendously blessed to have been with the SkyWest family for this length of time!” said Augie.

Learn more about all of the opportunities SkyWest has available for veterans transitioning to civilian careers and apply today on our Careers Page.