WMU News

Mesaba deal pays dividends for young aviators

Dec. 13, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- An agreement signed in August between Northwest Airlink's Mesaba Airlines and Western Michigan University's College of Aviation has paid dividends this fall for five young graduates of the WMU aviation program who are now on a fast track to first officer jobs with Mesaba.

The "bridge training and hiring program" announced Aug. 17 is designed to give WMU aviation graduates special lower flying time requirements than those hired through Mesaba's normal hiring program. The modified requirements are a recognition of the airline's confidence in the University's aviation program and curriculum.

The agreement is the first training accord between a domestic airline and the College of Aviation. The college also does extensive pilot training work for such international airlines as Aer Lingus, British Airways and Emirates Airlines.

"The Mesaba agreement itself is a tremendous validation of the quality of aviation education we are providing at this University," says James E. Crehan, dean of the College of Aviation. "The fact that the first group of candidates met such success in the Mesaba interview process is icing on the cake."

The first five Mesaba selections were chosen from among seven candidates interviewed by Mesaba on campus this fall. They are now part of Mesaba's hiring pool and expect to be called for training in January or February. Four of the five are currently working as flight instructors in WMU's aviation programs.

The five are: Ryan A. Ouellette, of Waterford, Mich., a 1997 WMU graduate; Frederick James Haney of Kalamazoo, a 1996 graduate; Timothy A. Seif of Grand Rapids, Mich., a 1998 graduate; Dale A. Vanden Berg of Zeeland, Mich., a 1998 graduate; and Douglas A. Zimmer of Augusta, Mich., a 1992 graduate. All but Ouellete are current WMU flight instructors.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400