Category Archives: Making a Difference

A Match Made at the Airport

Moving halfway around the world to start their careers as airline pilots, SkyWest Captains Daniel Suber and Kylie Dewar — who didn’t know each other until they met at SkyWest — admitted they got more than they bargained for when they joined the world’s largest regional airline.

“We went from seatmates to soulmates pretty fast,” Daniel said with a smile.

“To this day, our family still laughs and reminds us, “We can’t believe you went all the way to America just to bring home an Australian,” added Kylie. “I knew SkyWest was a great company — and it’s certainly surpassed all my expectations — but I just didn’t realize they would also help me find my true love too.”

Before coming to SkyWest, Daniel worked as a flight instructor and also helped fight wildfires during the fire season. Wanting something more, Daniel applied with Qantas and got accepted.

“Everything seemed great at first, but because positions were full, I had to wait until a position opened up,” said Daniel. “After about a year I was getting tired of waiting. Then I heard about SkyWest and after doing some research, it seemed like the perfect fit for me. What jumped out to me was its departures and massive fleet. SkyWest has more airplanes in its fleet than all the airlines in Australia combined.”

For Kylie, becoming a pilot was something that she had never planned on doing. Before coming to SkyWest, she started out as a flight attendant at SkyWest Australia, which later became Virgin Australia. 

During her time as a flight attendant, Kylie remembers going into the flight deck during trips and just being in awe of the views. And although she enjoyed being a flight attendant, she knew something was missing. After talking with some of the pilots, they told her to take a flying lesson and to try it out.

“I thought they were crazy. I kept thinking, ‘there’s no way I could afford to be a pilot, let alone learn how to fly.’ But I ended up taking a lesson, loved it, and the rest is history.”

After completing her flight training and being hired at SkyWest, a friend put her in touch with Daniel so she could get some advice about the airline and to help answer questions about life in the states.

“I didn’t waste any time, Kylie said laughing. “Daniel was super helpful with everything. Coming from Australia, I didn’t know where to send my mail and everything. He told me that I could send it to his place and that he would hold everything for me. He could have gone through all my mail and took everything, but he didn’t, and that trust only deepened between the two of us.”

Before Kylie upgraded to captain, the duo was able to schedule several trips together. In fact, they flew for a month with one another in what Kylie describes as the ultimate test for Daniel.

“That was the final test and he passed,” Kylie laughed. “But honestly, it was a big blessing for me as he was a great mentor and really prepared me so that I went into my upgrade with a lot of confidence.”

To top it off, the couple got engaged on Christmas Eve at a place where it all started: Chicago O’Hare.

“You could say it was a match made in an airport,” Daniel said with a smile. “I had been thinking of proposing for quite some time, but things kept changing, especially with the pandemic and everything. We are both based here and the airport has been a big part of our lives. It has a lot of significance for us and with all the decorations and lights, I jumped at the chance.”

To set up his plan, Daniel convinced Kylie that there was a crew Christmas party at the airport. Daniel recruited a friend to take Kylie’s picture in the decorated hall on their way to the party. The friend was recording the event and captured the moment when jumped out and got down on one knee.

“It worked perfectly,” said Daniel. “She fell right into it.”

“I had an idea it was coming, I just didn’t know when,” added Kylie. “Daniel isn’t the best at keeping secrets, but I have to admit that he got me good.”

After a wild year with the ongoing pandemic, 2020 ended in the best way possible for Daniel and Kylie.

“We are both grateful for SkyWest and the opportunities it has given us,” said Daniel. “The company gives you the resources you need to succeed and it’s been a blast. I’m not sure why anyone would want to leave.”

“We can’t see ourselves ever leaving,” added Kylie. “The flying is awesome, the crews are amazing and we have such a great team throughout the system. We love our jobs and love being at SkyWest.”

To the more than 13,000 SkyWest employees and many more who share a love for all things aviation: Happy Valentine’s Day!

SkyWest Team Members Reflect on What Black History Month Means to Them

An important part of Black History Month is recognizing our Black employees who help make SkyWest the best regional airline in the industry. First Officer Joseph Ngabo, and Flight Attendants Jessie Newton and Diwan Williams, who have each had a chance to fly as part of an all-Black crew in the past, shared their thoughts about what Black History Month means to them and how their culture and background shape their experience at SkyWest.

“Black History Month means acknowledging and remembering the work and place African Americans have had in the United States,” said Ngabo. “It’s to bring awareness of how far we’ve come as a people from the beginnings of slavery to us getting our civil rights, to today.”

Ngabo has always loved planes. He enjoyed plane watching as a child and has wanted to be a pilot since he was two. As he pursued his dream, Ngabo’s parents were always a great support and taught him the importance of working hard.

“We bring in the hard work ethic our parents taught us,” said Ngabo.

That work ethic has helped Ngabo, who joined SkyWest in 2019, navigate some unique aspects of the industry that can be difficult to adapt to, including low seniority and continually changing schedules.

“Black History Month is a chance to reflect on what others have been through, and a time to learn something you did not know,” said Williams. “ It brings awareness and is a time for people to learn more about Black history and culture. Black History Month is for everyone.”

Williams, a military veteran, was never interested in flying before he came to SkyWest. A friend convinced him to apply and he has now enjoyed his more than eight years in the skies.

He says that he is grateful for the lessons he learned growing up in a military family. Hard work, discipline, and respect are lessons he learned for an early age that he continues to bring to work every day.

For Newton, Black History Month is important because it raises awareness and highlights opportunities for people to learn more about Black history.

“It’s a chance for us to reflect on what others have been through. It’s also a time to learn something you did not know,” said Newton. “I’m proud to know I’m helping to inspire the next generation of Black aviation professionals.”

Newton was always interested in becoming a flight attendant but it wasn’t until talking to her terminally-ill aunt that she decided to make her dream a reality.

Along with inspiring her to become a flight attendant, Newton’s family taught her to always act and look professional regardless of the task at hand. No matter how difficult her day, Newton always makes sure that her passengers are taken care of with a smile.

SkyWest is proud to celebrate and continue to enhance the diversity of our unmatched team of more than 13,000 aviation professionals across the country.

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SkyWest named a Top 50 Best Place to Work by Glassdoor

SkyWest Airlines is excited to announce we have once again been named a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards, Best Places to Work for 2021.

This award is based entirely on the feedback of employees who have voluntarily and anonymously shared reviews on Glassdoor during the past year. This feedback resulted in SkyWest being named a top 50 best company to work for in 2021.

“SkyWest people have pulled together more than ever during this incredibly challenging year,” said Chip Childs, President & CEO of SkyWest. “I am extremely proud of the chance I have to work with this outstanding group of professionals and to witness the work they’re doing to take care of each other and our customers every day.”

To determine the award recipients, Glassdoor evaluates all company reviews shared by employees over the past year. Despite an unprecedented year in the aviation industry, SkyWest people continued to demonstrate remarkable teamwork, service, and quality. Here are just a few examples of what they had to say:

“I love my job and my company they are doing amazing things for their employees at this time of COVID 19. Keep appreciating your employees the way you are doing now, and we will continue to love and work hard for our beloved Airline.” – Flight Attendant Review, October 2020

“One of the BEST companies to work for, hands down! [SkyWest] Always has every employee’s best interest in mind, competitive pay, great maintenance on aircraft, great people to work with,” – E175 Pilot Review, August 2020

“Management is caring and understanding. We have great benefits and I love the atmosphere here. I’ve only been here a few months and everyone feels like family!” – IT Employee Review, March 2020

We are looking forward to continued success in 2021 thanks to our team of more than 13,000 and the unmatched work they do to make SkyWest a great place to work each day.

SkyWest People Giving Year Around

This year has placed a tremendous burden on families across the country and more people than ever are wondering where their next meal will come from. This #GivingTuesday and throughout December, SkyWest is partnering with the Utah Food Bank to provide our people an opportunity to help those less fortunate and share the Spirit of SkyWest.

In addition to this effort, our year has been full of stories of SkyWest people who are having a positive impact on our communities, our team members, and our passengers. Here are just a few.

Using Your Wings to Give Back

Chicago-based CRJ First Officer Brian Lucas loves to fly and uses his skill set to give back.

“I like to fly for a purpose,” said Brian.

During the height of COVID-19 uncertainty when testing and PPE was not widely available. Brian volunteered his time and use of his Piper Cherokee to fly blood samples for COVID-19 testing from Macon, Georgia to a commercial lab in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Read more

Be Like Bob

In March, a passenger visiting family in Pierre, South Dakota (PIR) was dropped off at the airport and realized he had left his wallet at a relative’s house. When the passenger was unable to reach family members, Bob loaned him his 1996 blue Chevy pick up to go retrieve it.

“Pierre is a small town and we are used to doing those kinds of favors for each other and I didn’t think much of it at all,” said Bob.

Read more

Debby Thompson Giving back to her Local Community

Stress and concern about COVID-19 has been a challenge for many individuals. To help, Minneapolis-based Flight Attendant Debby Thompson decided to create goodie bags for her fellow colleagues in MSP. The bags include chocolates and a note thanking the crew for their work.

“I didn’t do it to be recognized,” said Debby. “You never know what a little random act of kindness will do.” Debby says that she views her job as helping passengers, fellow crewmembers and anyone else she comes across at the airport.

Debby has been making the bags since March and has recently started a new effort to collect socks for local charities. The sock drive is inspired by Debby’s daughter who was killed in May.

Debby has donated over 1,400 pairs of socks and is actively seeking more donations across the system and in her local communities to help those in need. 

SkyWest Flight Attendant Helps a Young Passenger Starting a New Life

SkyWest flight attendants cross paths with countless passengers from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances. That extensive background is what made unaccompanied minor Janiyah stand out to Chicago-based flight attendant Tina Meeke on a recent flight.

Tina’s heart ached for the young girl. She made a conscious effort to brighten Janiyah’s day, if only for the flight. She checked on her regularly and ensured Janiyah received a snack box, delivered with a personalized note card.

Tina was so affected by her interaction with Janiyah that she decided to share how she was inspired to help one of her passengers that day. Almost immediately, she began to hear from her friends and SkyWest colleagues asking if there was something they could do to help. “I was overwhelmed with the amount of SkyWest people who came forward and wanted to help our passenger,” Tina said.

Within hours, 93 people had donated over $4,000 for Janiyah, many of them from SkyWest.

Read more

Together, SkyWest people continue to make a positive impact. We are SkyWest Strong!

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Nicole Manson, Dispatcher, HDQ

For SkyWest Dispatcher Nicole Manson, being Native American is something that she is proud of and holds close to her heart. She is a member of the Diné (Navajo) Tribe and was born and raised in LeChee, Arizona.

Growing up on the Navajo reservation, Nicole credits her heritage and upbringing for the strong person that she is today.

“I can’t think of being anything else than Native American,” said Nicole. “I am proud of my heritage, ancestors and the lessons I’ve learned.”

Before coming to SkyWest, Nicole worked for a tourism company at the Page Municipal Airport. There she became good friends with a number of pilots who flew for Grand Canyon Airlines, and who later moved to SkyWest. Nicole decided to learn more about SkyWest, learned about dispatching and the rest was history.

“I honestly didn’t know this dispatchers existed until just a couple of years ago,” Nicole said with a smile. “I laugh now because it’s such a vital position. My family and friends were puzzled by my job title at first, but the amount of support I received from them was immeasurable. After I received my license, I applied at SkyWest and it’s been a great ride ever since. I’m truly blessed to be able to work for a great company.”

 Nicolette Shirley, Flight Attendant, SLC

SLC Flight Attendant Nicolette Shirley is Diné and grew up

in both the Navajo Nation and Salt Lake City.

“I am proud to be Diné and carry my traditions/values with me,” said Nicolette. “The Diné live by Hózhó. It’s a guiding belief that shapes our actions, thoughts and speech that impacts yourself as well as those around you, and I try to bring a positive impact with those I cross paths with whether it’s with my crew or passengers.”

Prior to becoming a SkyWest flight attendant in 2017, Nicolette hadn’t journeyed east of Colorado.

“Fortunately,” said Nicolette, “SkyWest has given me the opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and travel further than I imagined. There’s a lot of Indigenous influence all around. When we overnight in places such as Kalispell, Winnipeg, Chicago, Seattle, and Oklahoma City they derive from Indigenous words. It’s always good to learn more about where we travel to and grant reverence.”

Michael Gardner, Maintenance Technician, SLC

SLC Mechanic II Michael Gardner is both Athabaskin and Inuit, two tribes native to Alaska, and although he was adopted and raised outside of his tribal community, Michael still feels a strong connection to his Alaskan Native heritage.

“I’m adopted so my parents are not fully immersed in the traditional native way of life,” he said. “I enjoy being unique in the sense that it’s not very often that I’m in a room with other natives. It’s ok to be different.”

Although Michael is proud of who he is, he does admit sometimes he feels pressure being an Alaskan Native.

“I feel some pressure knowing that some natives do have a challenging environment to mature and grow in. I adhere strongly with the notions of education, hard work, and confidence in yourself and your abilities which as a result can showcase ones strengths and beliefs. Trying to be an example to younger generations, including my children, drives me to push forward with fortitude.”

That fortitude pushed Michael to 21 years of customer service in the casino industry and now nearly two years with SkyWest as a mechanic.

“In every professional process there are steps to obtaining your goal,” he added. “No goal worth your time can be accomplished overnight. Enjoying the process of learning and becoming who you ultimately want to be in life will give you a sense of pride and self-worth. It’s your life, live it.”

Rick Meyer, ERJ Captain, LAX

For ERJ Captain Rick Meyer, flying planes was something that he always wanted to do. However, without any family ties to aviation, becoming a pilot wasn’t the typical path in his family.

“I was really into airplanes at a young age,” he said. “My mom would take me to the airport and I would just sit in my stroller and watch the planes take off and land. I loved it and as I grew up, I knew it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Captain Meyer is a citizen of the Potawatomi Tribe in Shawnee, Oklahoma. While he didn’t grown up on a reservation, he did visit every summer, which gave him a chance to learn more about his culture and heritage.

“It’s crazy to think I’ve been with SkyWest for nearly half of my life,” said Meyer. “But I’ve loved it. Before coming to SkyWest, I worked for another regional company and I quickly realized how great SkyWest was when I made the switch. It has a great culture, great company, everyone is working together. No matter how big the company it still feels like family.”

Sam Capitan, Flight Attendant, SLC

Sam Capitan is a member of the Navajo Nation. He has been flying with SkyWest since 2019 and is based in Salt Lake City (SLC) as a flight attendant. He loves the aviation industry and hopes to eventually become a pilot.

“I am proud to be Navajo,” said Capitan. “Unfortunately, a lot of tribes have gone extinct. However, there are numerous Native American Tribes still in existence. This demonstrates the resilience of our People.” Read more

Craig Strongbow, Cross Utilized Agent, PIH

Craig is a proud member of the Shoshone- Bannock Tribes.

“I am a Native,” said Strongbow, who said that is how he thinks of himself. “I can’t imagine being anything different. Natives are tough and persistent. I love my culture and what it represents; it’s different. It’s not often one hears about Natives, we are a very small minority.”

“We are all family at PIH; we go to each other’s birthdays, and events, and even have a book club,” said Strongbow. “The benefits we get working at SkyWest make even the hard stuff we do so worth it. Our station has a great connection.”  Read more

 

SkyWest Flight Attendant Helps a Young Passenger Starting a New Life

SkyWest flight attendants cross paths with countless passengers from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances. That extensive background is what made unaccompanied minor Janiyah stand out to Chicago-based flight attendant Tina Meeke on a recent flight.

“I’ll never forget the feeling of sadness as she walked towards me. She looked a little nervous, and had nothing but a tiny drawstring backpack that laid flat to her back. Her clothing appeared unkempt.”

Tina briefed Janiyah individually about the flight, as required for all unaccompanied minors, and asked whether she had the United Airlines app so she could watch movies throughout the flight. Janiyah responded that her mom had taken away her phone and that all she had were the clothes on her back.

When Tina prodded, Janiyah then explained that she was moving in with her great grandmother because she and her mom could “no longer live together”.

SkyWest flight attendants are extensively trained to identify and report abuse or trafficking, and with that training background and after learning Janiyah was on her first flight with a one-way ticket, Tina says a red flag came to mind.

“At first I thought it was a human trafficking situation,” admitted Tina.
However, before the door closed, Janiyah asked Tina if she could use her phone to call her friends. She said they did not know she was moving because of the sudden nature of her departure.

Tina’s heart ached for the young girl. She made a conscious effort to brighten Janiyah’s day, if only for the flight. She checked on her regularly and ensured Janiyah received a First Class snack box, delivered with a personalized note card.

“I wrote her a little note telling her how special she was, and that we were honored to have her on our flight. I also gave her my contact information in case she needed to reach out to me.”

After deplaning, Tina walked with Janiyah to meet her great grandma. On their walk, Janiyah mentioned she hoped her grandmother could get her some clothes because she only had what she was wearing. Tina reminded Janiyah of her contact information and told her grandmother that she would like to help get her started with some clothes and school supplies.

Tina was so affected by her interaction with Janiyah that she decided to share how she was inspired to help one of her passengers that day. Almost immediately, she began to hear from her friends and SkyWest colleagues asking if there was something they could do to help. “I was overwhelmed with the amount of SkyWest people who came forward and wanted to help our passenger,” Tina said.

Within hours, 93 people had donated over $4,000 for Janiyah, many of them from SkyWest.

“All of this was happening at the height of airline uncertainty due to COVID-19, but we are one big family,” said Tina.

A few days later, Tina made arrangements to take Janiyah shopping for supplies. The two had a wonderful outing, purchasing school supplies, clothes, shoes, and a computer and phone with a 1 year of prepaid calling. In addition, several packaged gifts and over $500 in nonperishable food items were delivered to Janiyah.

Tina also collected the names and addresses of everyone who donated or provided supplies. She gave Janiyah pre-addressed envelopes to write thank you cards to the people who helped make it all possible. Within two days, Janiyah had written a thank you note to everyone on the list. Her joy and gratitude was profound.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to help someone else,” says Tina.

Tina’s unexpected connection with Janiyah may seem out of the ordinary, but SkyWest people are known for extraordinary service and compassion.

We are family, but we also care about our passengers,” she said. “SkyWest is just different; everyone looks for ways to step in to help others.”

Supporting Our Veterans From 6,700 Miles Away

The 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade recently returned to Minnesota after being deployed for 10 months in the Middle East. There they flew a variety of missions in Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria and faced a number of challenging conditions.

Among the many brave women and men in the brigade are 10 SkyWest pilots. Knowing how challenging a deployment can be and the many questions that can come up while away from work, leaders and other teams at SkyWest went out of their way to keep these pilots updated and informed.   

“SkyWest was super supportive, even with COVID-19 they still reached out and helped us,” said Auggie Peck, a CRJ first officer based in Minneapolis (MSP).

To help show their appreciation for the support they received, Auggie and the team made arrangements to bring back two flags that were flown during their deployment. On the certificate of authenticity, it points out that the flag was flown onboard a UH-60 Blackhawk during a three-day combat mission, one of the longest missions of the deployment.

“It’s hard being deployed, but SkyWest kept caring,” said Auggie. “We wanted to just say thank you.”

Auggie delivered the flags to Captain Chris Mayer, SkyWest’s chief pilot in MSP and a fellow Veteran, earlier this month. One will be displayed in MSP and the other will be presented at SkyWest’s headquarters in St. George, Utah.

“Auggie told me what he had planned to do while he was on deployment, but it was an emotional moment seeing the pride on his face when he brought them into the office,” said Mayer.

Mayer, who helped provide many of the updates the pilots received while overseas, says he just wished he could’ve done more to let them know they are supported. 

“SkyWest is home to many incredible people,” said Mayer. “Freedom isn’t free and it’s important with a deployment that you feel supported.”

Thank you to Auggie and all those serving with you, for your sacrifices and the work you do for our Nation. SkyWest is home to more than 1,500 active military members and Veterans and we are grateful for their service.  

Sam Capitan & Craig Strongbow

Celebrating Native American Heritage

Sam Capitan, Flight Attendant, SLC

Sam Capitan is a member of the Navajo Nation. He has been flying with SkyWest since 2019 and is based in Salt Lake City (SLC) as a flight attendant. He loves the aviation industry and hopes to eventually become a pilot.

“I am proud to be Navajo,” said Capitan. “Unfortunately, a lot of tribes have gone extinct. However, there are numerous Native American Tribes still in existence. This demonstrates the resilience of our People.”

Capitan enjoys learning from his heritage and ancestry so he can preserve the knowledge to pass teachings down to future generations.

Capitan credits his adaptability and lessons learned from his heritage for why he has been successful as a flight attendant. Any time he faces an issue, he makes sure to overcome the problem with attentive listening and responding appropriately.

“A positive attitude will conquer any situation,” said Capitan. “One important aspect about the Navajo culture is doing everything we can to maintain harmony on Mother Earth. On a day-to-day basis, I find ways to be a positive force in all that I do.”

Growing up, Capitan was taught to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the many other elements in the world such as people, animals, plants, and insects.

“I apply my family’s teaching of unity at SkyWest; we are all one People. At SkyWest, we work together to bring friends and family together.”

Capitan noted that SkyWest team members accomplish great things every day working together. He loves learning about and working with different workgroups across the operation.

“This industry gives you a chance to try something new and become well connected. It’s a perfect career to learn a new skill and be in places you never thought of visiting,” said Capitan.

Craig Strongbow, Cross Utilized Agent, PIH

Strongbow is a cross utilized agent in Pocatello, Idaho (PIH). He is also a proud member of the Shoshone- Bannock Tribes.

“I am a Native,” said Strongbow, who said that is how he thinks of himself. “I can’t imagine being anything different. Natives are tough and persistent. I love my culture and what it represents; it’s different. It’s not often one hears about Natives, we are a very small minority.” 

Strongbow started his SkyWest journey in 2017 after running into a former high school classmate while he was shopping. She had just returned from a trip to Ireland. Her travel experience and enjoyment for her work at the PIH station convinced Strongbow to apply to SkyWest as soon as there was an opening.

“We are all family at PIH; we go to each other’s birthdays, and events, and even have a book club,” said Strongbow. “The benefits we get working at SkyWest make even the hard stuff we do so worth it. Our station has a great connection.”  

Strongbow is known for being a hard worker in life and has been successful in his many pursuits, including fashion photography, where he was sponsored by Nikon, and as a state champion football coach. Strongbow also enjoys going to powwows and finds his background in fashion photography allows him to capture his culture through his art.  

Strongbow feels inspired to share his culture with all those he meets. 

“I take pride in my culture, my heritage, and the spirituality of how we perceive the world,” said Strongbow. “I hope to pass that on to future generations.”  

 

 

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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

SkyWest is proud to have many different cultures represented throughout our workforce. This month we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by catching up with SkyWest team members across our system to learn how their heritage plays a role in what they do every day at SkyWest and their local communities.

Maintenance 

Melissa Serrano, Maintenance Controller, HDQ
After earning her A&P, Melissa Serrano went on to work at an aircraft maintenance provider where she learned invaluable lessons about asserting yourself and being confident in your abilities. Melissa began working at our ORD hangar in 2015 and later became SkyWest’s first female maintenance controller.

“The first time I smelled jet fuel, I knew what I wanted to do,” said Serrano.

Flight Ops

Jessica Montiel, ERJ Captain, Chicago, IL
Using her platform as a Latina pilot, Captain Jessica Montiel hopes to bring awareness and to inspire the next generation of female pilots.

“As a Latina pilot, I want to change that stereotype that flying is only for men. That’s why it’s important for me to share my story, especially with young girls. In doing so, I’m changing perceptions of what a Latina woman is capable of, and hopefully, inspiring other girls to choose this path for themselves too. When I walk through the terminal, I hope people – especially young Latina girls – see me and realize that it’s possible for them to chase their dreams. I hope I can inspire them to say, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’”

Captain Montiel became the first person in her family to graduate college and completed flight training at Embry-Riddle University. A native of California, she tries to come home once a month and enjoys the big family reunion each time she visits her family.

Victor Vazquez, CRJ Captain, Houston, TX
On his 14th birthday, Captain Victor Vazquez’s mother gifted him with an intro flight. He was hooked and wanted to keep flying through his high school years. He made a deal with his parents to work at the family restaurant to help pay for flight lessons. Upon graduation, Captain Vazquez had obtained his Private Pilot and Instrument Rating. This put him ahead when he enrolled in college and allowed him to complete his degree sooner than expected.

“I am a first-generation American, first to finish college in my family, and a first-generation pilot. My goal is to share my story to inspire those with a similar beginning,” said Vasquez.

Captain Vasquez came to SkyWest from another regional because he knew SkyWest would have more opportunities to grow as a professional pilot. When he is not flying for SkyWest he enjoys volunteering with the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Pilots of Tomorrow in hopes of mentoring the next generation of pilots.

Melissa Montiel Jimenez, ERJ First Officer, Sand Diego, CA
While First Officer Melissa Montiel was studying marketing in college, the aviation bug started to pull her towards flying. She joined an introductory aviation class to learn more about operating an airplane. After extensive research, she decided to begin flight training in San Diego. Her grandmother helped inspire her passion for flight, taking her family to airshows in San Diego anytime the show came to town.

Montiel has embraced being a role model and representing her community. Pilots often tell her she is the first woman and Mexican they have flown with.

“I want to hold the standard of the Latina pilot very high,” Montiel says. “We are known as hard workers, and have an amazing culture.”

InFlight

Melinda Lopez, Flight Attendant, Detroit, MI
Flight Attendant Melinda Lopez dreamed of being a flight attendant since she was a little girl. She encourages other Hispanic people interested in a career in aviation to follow their dreams and work hard. She has seen the aviation industry become a more diverse career field.

“I choose to fly with SkyWest because I used to travel on SkyWest quite a bit in and out of Fresno. I would observe the flight attendants and admire what a great job they did,” said Lopez. “I always kept SkyWest in mind as a company that I would like to work for one day and finally that day came for me.”

For Lopez, Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the history and culture of U.S. Hispanic communities and celebrate the influence and contributions of Latinx people.

Lopez’s family keeps up some traditions like making tamales at Christmas time and fresh tortillas and salsa on special occasions. She attributes her heritage with influencing her to become the strong, proud Hispanic woman she is today.

Vanet Ortega-Garcia, Flight Attendant, Boise, ID
For Boise Flight Attendant Vanet Ortega-Garcia,  familia is everything! With a deep Hispanic heritage, Vanet is grateful for her experiences and continues to instill the Mexican traditions and culture of hard work and passion to her kids and future generations.

“Being Mexican is togetherness, helping out one another, and always being there,” she added. “Being Mexican is my superpower!”

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