Tag Archives: Our people

SkyWest Flight Attendant Goes Above And Beyond, Unknowingly Goes Viral

During a flight from Oklahoma City to Houston, SkyWest Flight Attendant Antonio Cromwell didn’t think anything of it when he sat on the floor to assist a passenger sitting in first class.

Later that night, his phone started buzzing with texts and calls from family and friends telling him that he had gone viral.

“At first, I thought people were joking with me, then I had coworkers reaching out and I knew something was up,” said Antonio.

The Chicago-based flight attendant did indeed go viral when a passenger snapped a photo of him playing Pokémon with a young boy to keep him entertained on a flight.

“A father and son boarded the plane and they didn’t have seats together,” said Antonio. “The father asked if his son could sit at the front so that a flight attendant could watch over him during the flight. It wasn’t a big deal and I was happy to help.”

Before takeoff, Antonio introduced himself and talked with the boy to see what his entertainment plans were for the flight. The boy mentioned that he was looking forward to playing an online game against his cousin.

Knowing the boy would need to purchase internet to play his game online, Antonio asked him if he had anything else to play with that didn’t require an internet connection.

To Antonio’s surprise, the boy pulled out Pokémon cards and the rest was history.

“I was more excited than he was when he pulled out his Pokémon cards,” Antonio quipped. “When I was a kid, collecting Pokémon cards was a big deal and I didn’t realize that kids still did that. We talked about our collections and then I told him I would be back in a bit so that I could serve and help other passengers.”

After attending to other passengers, Antonio noticed the boy still wanted to play games online against his cousin. Without hesitation, Antonio went ahead and purchased the internet for him so that he could play.

“Seeing him having fun and playing with his cousin… that’s what it’s all about,” said Antonio. “I was just doing my job and didn’t think it was anything special. I always try to provide great customer service.”

“Antonio is a wonderful example of core4 and really even beyond that level of caring,” added Sarah Murphy, SVP of United Express. “Truly a bright star!”

At the end of the flight and as the family deplaned, the boy told Antonio that the next time they are on his route, he’ll be sure to bring him some Pokémon cards.

 “I’m going to hold him to it,” Antonio said laughing. “But honestly, it was great to make someone’s day and that’s why I love my job.”

The Chicago-based flight attendant is grateful for the opportunity to be a flight attendant and to follow in his aunt’s footsteps.

“I had an aunt who was a flight attendant for more than 30 years,” he said. “She would commute to Chicago and I would get to ride with her to and from the airport sometimes. When she finished her trips, she would tell me about her experiences, places she’s gone and the people she met. It sounded like the dream job and was something that I wanted to do.”

Coming up on his five-year work anniversary, Antonio is thankful he took a chance and followed his heart to become a flight attendant.

“I’m so blessed to have come to SkyWest,” he said. “It’s been amazing and the past five years have flown by. I’ve made so many friends and love interacting with passengers and having positive experiences. I’ve had a bunch of jobs over the years and being a flight attendant is the first time that I can truly say that I love going to work every day.”

When asked what advice he has for people thinking about an aviation career, Antonio replied: “Do it! It’s not your typical 9-5 job, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s a different lifestyle and I love it. My only regret is that I did not become a flight attendant sooner.”

Make an impact and join SkyWest’s amazing team today.

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 Women’s History Month

There are countless women at SkyWest Airlines who help to make us the best airline in the industry and who are helping to inspire future generations of female aviation professionals. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked team members to share their thoughts about what the month means to them and their experience at SkyWest.

Ann Marie Nicholas – CRJ First Officer, MSP

Growing up, CRJ First Officer Ann Marie Nicholas was fascinated with planes and loved watching them fly overhead. During those moments, she hoped that someday she would have the opportunity to work in the aviation industry.

“I always thought about being a flight attendant and working in the back of the plane because I didn’t realize that women could be pilots and that it was something that I could do,” she said. “I flew with my family every year growing up, however, I never saw any female pilots on my flights.”

Eventually, she decided to chase her dreams and pursued a career as a pilot. During her first introductory flight in small, single-engine aircraft, Ann Marie wasn’t sure if they would even make it off the ground.

“I remember asking my flight instructor if this thing was going to be able to stay in the air,” she said jokingly. “But it was fun and I haven’t stopped flying since.”

From that moment on, she was hooked and Ann Marie hasn’t looked back.

“The aviation bug hit me pretty hard,” Ann Marie said. “After flying a bunch, I noticed that I would start to get restless when I wasn’t flying.”

Now, the veteran airline pilot is busy taking care of her family as well as flying across the SkyWest system that consists of nearly 2,000 daily flights to 236 cities across North America.

“I love working at SkyWest and my experience has been awesome,” Ann Marie said. “The saying ‘if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life’ is exactly how I feel about my job. I have great coworkers and the schedule and flexibility is great. With so many trips available, there’s really something for everyone.”

Knowing she works in a male-dominated industry, the Minneapolis native does all she can to give back and help inspire future female aviators. Whether it’s instructing or just giving tips and encouragement, the first officer is determined to change the narrative and misconceptions that only men are pilots.

“When I was doing an observation flight early in my career, I went to the gate agent so I could check-in and sit in the jump seat. And despite being fully dressed in my pilot uniform, the gate agent asked if I was a flight attendant. It was crazy and I couldn’t believe it,” Ann Marie recalled. “Fortunately, public perception is changing and I continue to see more female pilots every day.”

For those looking to enter the aviation industry as a pilot, Ann Marie had these words of advice:

“If you have a desire, go for it. Schedule an introductory flight and try it out. If you like it, don’t stop and don’t let anything get in your way. I took that step and it changed my life. I tell everyone that on the eve of my retirement, I want to say that I still love my job. And I know I can say that working at SkyWest.”

Lindsey Scott – ERJ First Officer, PDX

As a third-generation female pilot, SkyWest First Officer Lindsey Scott was born to fly.

As a child, Lindsey loved going to airshows and aviation events and frequently tagged along with her grandma, Mary Jean Barnes Sturdevant, who was often invited to speak at aviation events. It wasn’t until she was a little older that Lindsey understood why her grandma received so much attention for her flying.

Click here to read more about Lindsey and her inspiring grandma.

Nicole Crosby – Seattle Mechanic III 

Nicole Crosby joined SkyWest in 2017 as an A&P mechanic and loves working on all kinds of aircraft to ensure every plane is in top condition for every flight. She enjoys the teamwork environment of SkyWest, including working with another female mechanic, while also being able to put her own stamp on her work.

Nicole Crosby A&P Mechanic

“I was always the only woman mechanic at any one station at other companies, but now I have the privilege of working with another lady here in SEA,” said Nicole. “I think you’d be surprised by the number of female A&P’s that have been certified, worked on aircraft, but now use their skill sets in other positions here at SkyWest.”

Along with being an aircraft mechanic for over 20 years, Crosby has worked in Noise Abatement, as an FAA aviation safety counselor, as an airline and composites training facility maintenance Instructor, dispatcher, and homebuilt aircraft builder, among other positions. She’s repaired aircraft in general aviation and business aviation, from regionals to Boeing 767 aircraft.

Click here to read more about Nichole and her experiences.

Debby Thompson – Flight Attendant, MSP

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 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 showed just how far women have come in the airline industry and that women can do anything they put their mind to.”

Click here to read more about Debby’s experience.

Celebrating Black History Month

African Americans have, and continue to make, significant contributions to the aviation industry. This includes people like Perry Young Jr., who was the first African American to fly a commercial aircraft. He also trained many of the Tuskegee Airmen who played a pivotal role in World War II. There is also Bessie Coleman, who broke barriers as the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license and inspiring many future aviators in the process.

At SkyWest, many of our Black employees continue to inspire others today. In honor of Black History Month, we asked team members across the system to share their stories about how their heritage has influenced them and what Black History Month means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

Analise McDonald – Decatur Cross Utilized Supervisor

For Analise McDonald, Black History Month holds a special place in her heart. It is a time to rejoice, celebrate, and honor African American heroes who have made a difference in our nation’s history and made the world a better place.

From Bessie Coleman to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., Analise is grateful for the examples and the opportunity Black History Month provides to reflect on the accomplishments and contributions that African Americans have made.

“I think it’s important that we learn from the past, but also celebrate the present and look forward to the future,” she said. “History shows us what great people and leaders can do, and it inspires me to go out and make the world a better and more inclusive place.”

And if you talk to any of her coworkers, Analise does just that.

“Analise is my right-hand ma’am,” said Decatur Station General Manager Joey Confer. “She’s dedicated, tough as nails and is always willing to go above and beyond anytime she’s asked.”

The Decatur-based cross-utilized supervisor credits much of her work ethic, attitude and success to her family heritage.

“My parents and aunt are my role models. They have always encouraged me and have always been involved,” said Analise “They helped me to see my worth and helped me realize that I could do anything that I put my mind to. They also taught me that it doesn’t matter what the color of someone’s skin is. It’s about what is inside your heart and to let nothing hold you back.”

With that mindset, Analise jumped at the opportunity to switch careers and join the aviation industry when she was hired as a cross-utilized agent at SkyWest in 2017.

Analise is the first in her family to be part of the aviation industry and is grateful for the opportunity she’s had to see different places and work with several SkyWest teams throughout the system.

“I’ve worked at four stations in three years,” she said. “It’s been a little crazy, but I’ve also really enjoyed it. I’ve had great coworkers and everyone has been supportive and made me feel included and valued everywhere I’ve been.”

One of the ways that Analise has connected with her SkyWest family is by sharing her culture through food. These types of opportunities to connect with her coworkers are important and she sees it as a strength to the company.

“Everyone has different talents, experiences and backgrounds, and it’s important that we learn from each other,” she said.

Reggie Teague – Houston Maintenance Supervisor

For the past 20 years, IAH Maintenance Supervisor Reggie Teague 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.

Reggie has called SkyWest 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 on him.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the veteran A&P mechanic says he’s 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,” he 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.”

Click here to read more.

Crewmembers Joseph Ngabo, Jessie Newton, and Diwan Williams Reflect on What Black History Month Means to Them

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.”

“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.”

Click here to read more.

Celebrating the U.S. Air Force’s Birthday

SkyWest is home to more than 3,000 Veterans and active-duty servicemen and woman, including hundreds who served in the U.S. Air Force. As we celebrate the Air Force’s 73rd birthday today, we asked a few of our MSP-based pilots to share how their experiences from the Air Force prepared them for working at SkyWest.

Adam Galloway, CRJ Captain, MSP
Galloway is a Major and is a C-130 pilot. When he is not flying for SkyWest or the Air Force, he enjoys working on his Stinson.

Adam Galloway

Adam Galloway

Galloway joined the Air Force after being inspired by his grandfather’s stories as a bomber pilot in WWII. He meet his wife his wife when they both were deployed.

Galloway started as a maintainer, and says this background makes it easier to draw the entire picture of what’s going on inside the airplane.

Although Galloway spends a lot of time flying, he says the differences in military flying and commercial flying keep him balanced.

“Military flying involves more stick and rudder, while commercial flying is almost completely instrument flying,” said Galloway.

Joining SkyWest in 2013, Galloway said he has enjoyed learning about the inner workings of an airport and all pieces that must be put together for successful commercial flying.

“Flying commercially allows me to meet a lot of new people and visit a lot of places I’ve never seen before,” said Galloway.

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, CRJ Captain, MSP
Nelson was a crew chief on the F-16 from 1994-97, flight engineer on the C-130H3 from 1997-03, and a flight engineer on the E-4B (747-238) from 2003-16.

Nelson always loved being around planes while he was growing up and took every opportunity to learn about them. He acquired his PVT, COM, INST, CFI, CFI-ME in 1992 and joined the Air Force in 1994, with aspirations of becoming a fighter pilot.

“Before I knew it, I was 21 and was too old to be commissioned to go through undergraduate pilot training. I decided to take another road to get onto the flight deck…flight engineer,” said Nelson jokingly.

When it came to transitioning from the military to a civilian career, Nelson says that SkyWest was the only airline he interviewed with because he was knew it was the place for him. Four years later he continues to be extremely grateful to be a “SkyWester.”

Nelson doesn’t feel his status as a Veteran makes him stand out more than any other employee, but he does wear his Air Force tie tack with great pride and dignity. He loves working with crewmembers who are also Veterans and enjoys the comradery and friendly banter between the different branches of service.

“When another one of my crewmembers is a Veteran, the flight is like hosting a family reunion, regardless of which branch of service,” said Nelson. “For the most part, coming from the military to SkyWest was a seamless transition.”

Adam Bixler CRJ First Officer MSP
“I am a third-generation military member,” said Bixler. “I joined the Air Force to do my part in serving and protecting our country.”

Adam Bixler (right) and his brother

Adam Bixler (right) and his brother

Bixler started his career as a Maintainer with the Air Force and noted that having a maintenance background gives him a unique perspective to the larger operations at SkyWest. In addition to flying at SkyWest, he is also a crew chief on the C-130 Hercules.

“There is an old saying, ‘without mechanics, pilots are just people with cool sunglasses,’” laughs Bixler, who then points to the entire team who makes up a successful flight.

“SkyWest is a family,” said Bixler, “They care about their employees. I have seen this proven many times over, and I intend to continue to do my part to ensure this tradition of excellence continues.”

“I have two of the greatest jobs that I can imagine.” stated Bixler, “SkyWest and the Air Force have each given me many opportunities and experiences for which I am eternally grateful.”

Thank you to Captain Galloway, Captain Nelson, and First Officer Bixler, along with all those who have or are presently serving in our military. We appreciate your service and are glad to have you as part of the SkyWest team. And Happy Birthday to the United States Air Force!

 

 

Melissa Montiel Jimenez – A Latina Role Model

SkyWest is known for its exceptional group of diverse people whose common goal is the pursuit of excellence. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize one of our own pilots whose heritage has played a key role in her career as a pilot.

SkyWest ERJ First Officer Melissa Montiel Jimenez was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Her grandmother’s interest in aviation sparked a passion in Montiel.

My grandmother owns a local radio station and hosted a show that featured people who worked in aviation. I was fascinated by her stories.”

Montiel’s grandmother would often take the whole family to nearby San Diego to watch the Blue Angels and other air shows. From an early age, Montiel was inspired by those pilots and knew she could do the same thing.

While 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.

While studying aviation, Montiel learned that women make up a small percentage of pilots across the industry. “As a Latina female, that was enough motivation for me to know it could be done,” said Montiel.

“My family thought this passion was nothing more than an expensive hobby,” she recalls. Others outside her family doubted her motivation. Some even asked her if the reason she joined flight school was to find a husband. Montiel ignored the skeptics and continued to work toward making her childhood dream a reality.

Montiel began her career flying with a company in Mexico, overcoming many obstacles on her path. She recalls passengers refusing to fly with her because she is a female.

“Even when I think I am not as experienced as other people, I know I can be a role model for myself and others.”

She never looked back and joined the SkyWest team in 2017.

When asked about her decision to come to SkyWest, Montiel stated, “I wanted to make sure I was joining the best airline; one that would give me the possibility of growth and be able to provide a good quality of life while still providing time to be with my family. I could not be happier about my decision to join SkyWest.”

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,” she says. “We are known as hard workers, and have an amazing culture.”

Montiel says the best part of being a Latina in aviation is opening potentially closed doors for others and showing what is possible. “Dreams can be accomplished, and I am proof,” she says.

 

 

Pilots Complete Heroic Rescue Mission in California

From right to left: SGT Cameron Powell, SGT George Esquivel,W5 Joseph Rosamond, CW2 Brady HlebainSkyWest people are known for going above and beyond and it’s not just limited to our flights. Brady Hlebain, a SkyWest first officer, and Joseph Rosamond, a member of SkyWest’s pilot cadet program, who are part of the California National Guard, flew a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that helped rescue more than 200 people trapped near Mammoth Lakes California.

The call for assistance came in on Saturday, September 5. Hlebain and Rosamon, along with their flight engineers, Sgt. Cameron Powell and Sgt. George Esquivel, knew that the night flight would not be an easy one. A view from the flight deck

“I have done search and rescue missions, hundreds of combat hours overseas, as well as aerial firefighting, but this mission was very complex and dynamic to say the least,” said Hlebain. “Our team was an experienced group of guys who are all experienced in missions of this nature. We constantly train with night vision goggles, mountain flying, high-elevation, limited power margin, multi-ship flight, navigation in unfamiliar areas, dust landings, low visibility flight, firefighting, unimproved landing zones and first aid. However, it is rare that we do all of those things at the same time.”

The team was given coordinates of the location of those needing to be rescued, but had no idea how many people would need their help. As they were flying, they soon realized the coordinates they were given were not as accurate as they had hoped. Even as visibility dropped due to high flames and smoke, the team did not give up and were able to get Night Vision new coordinates. They flew from ridge to ridge, avoiding the clouds and smoke as best they could, before finally landing in the wee hours of the morning at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest.

Flying the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, Rosamond and Hlebain made multiple trips to save more than 200 people from the fast-moving forest fire. They were assisted by another team flying a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. With so many unique challenges on top of tough conditions, this mission was one of the most difficult of their careers.

“The only word I can use to describe it is Apocalyptic,” added Rosamond. “It was extremely difficult to see the terrain and what was in front of us. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but our crew worked perfectly together, which allowed us to accomplish our task.”

Hlebain said the team didn’t want to be made out as heroes and noted that they are tremendously grateful to their families for their sacrifice and for allowing them to do these kinds of missions.

“The recent media coverage has made us out to be heroes, but our team agreed that we didn’t do Mammoth Lakeanything that any other aircrews wouldn’t have done had they been in the same situation,” said Hlebain. “We were only one piece of the operation and couldn’t have done it without the help of local EMTs, police, firefighters and many other agencies.”

“The bravery from each and every crew member on board both the CH-47 and the UH-60 were amazing and I could not have done it without them,” added Rosamond. “They each made a personal choice to continue into the worst of conditions.”

When he’s not fighting fires and participating in search and rescue missions, Hlebain can often be found onboard one of SkyWest’s nearly 500 jets flying passengers to destinations across North America.

While balancing two jobs at once is a challenge for anyone – especially in the aviation industry – Those recused during part of the operation Hlebain added that he is grateful for SkyWest and the support he has received which has allowed him to do both.

“Knowing two different aircraft, two sets of rules, and especially balancing two schedules can be difficult,” he said. “That being said, SkyWest has been incredibly supportive and provides me the opportunity to do both. When there is a conflict of schedules, SkyWest has been nothing short of perfect for my work/work/life balance.”

Thank you, Brady, Joseph, and the rest of your team for your efforts, bravery, dedication and sacrifice to save the lives of so many.