Geared Up and Getting it Done: Garrett Williams Climbs into His First Aviation Job – Flight Instructing at WMU
Garrett Williams is at the point in his aviation pathway where hundreds of WMU College of Aviation alumni launched their professional careers. Williams, a 2022 graduate with a degree in aviation flight science, has recently joined the college's squadron of certified flight instructors, admitting that he doesn't have "any experience teaching, yet I have only been a flight instructor for 8 months, I am looking forward to continue teaching."
Eric Johnson – Flying High from Mesaba to FlightSafety International
Almost a quarter of a century after leaving Western Michigan University as a Lee Honors College graduate with a degree in aviation flight science, Eric Johnson is still in a learning model. Like almost every newly minted college alumnus with the ink still wet on his diploma, Johnson figured either he knew it all, or at least he was close.
Airport and Aviation Extraordinaire: Ashley Lucas
While working her way through the WMU College of Aviation, Ashley Lucas admits that she had almost no time for the extra-curriculars that would have helped launch her career with the thrust of a turbo jet. Now Operations Manager for the Gerald Ford International Airport Authority in Grand Rapids, the spring of 2011 alumna of the WMU program has been making up for her lost opportunity by providing it to those who are following in her career path.
A Career Couple: Karleigh Pleyer and Mitch Whitcomb Climb the Ranks as Professional Pilots
Karleigh Pleyer and Mitch Whitcomb have experienced parallel flight plans so far in their lives.
- They both graduated from high school in 2014.
- They enrolled in the Western Michigan University College of Aviation that fall.
- Until recently, they both worked as certified fight instructors for Superior Aviation Gateway, which is based at the executive airport serving the Tampa, Fla., region.
- Having both finished their training as first officers, the newly appointed FOs will be heading to Republic Airways, a regional carrier headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind.
Michael Carnarvon’s Carnival of Aviation Careers – Culminating at the Michigan Office of Aeronautics
If anybody could assess -- say from an overview of 10,000 feet -- the impact of aviation on the vitality of the state of Michigan, it would be Michael Carnarvon. That's because the 2015 alumnus of the Western Michigan University College of Aviation is currently the supervisor of the facility-inspection and licensing unit of the Michigan Department of Transportation's Office of Aeronautics. And he brought to that position some dynamic perspectives gained working for Northern Jet Management in Grand Rapids, the Westchester County Airport 30 miles north of New York City, and the Wayne County Airport Authority that operates the Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run airports.
From Saabs to Delta – Steve Denomme Surfs the Turbulence to Success
Steve Denomme's movie script for his aviation career could be "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," with the first of the three adjectives being the star of the show most of the time. Now a captain for Delta Air Lines, the 2000 graduate of the Western Michigan University College of Aviation has enjoyed the "Good" of an exciting career for two decades, endured the "Bad" his industry faced -- and is still facing -- because of the Covid pandemic, and like the rest of us -- was staggered under the ramifications of the "Ugly" -- the 9-11 hijackings that changed how life is lived on planet Earth.
Redirecting the Aviation Dream: Jonathan Freye Leverages Himself as an Aviation Lobbyist
Jonathon Freye doesn't don the captain's uniform of a major airline as he once hoped, but his roles in the industry might be even more important than safely getting a flight full of people from point A to destination B. His career, launched in 2008 when he received his degree in aviation flight science from the WMU College of Aviation, now stays basically on the ground except when he flies for his job to complete an assignment.
VanHowe You Get Things Done! Lessons Learned and Applied by Thomas VanHowe
When things don't go well, Thomas VanHowe is a testimony to the song lyrics "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again." VanHowe, raised in Eminem's home territory of Macomb Township northwest of Detroit, learned those lessons rather well if his resume is any indication. After his WMU graduation with a degree in aviation flight science in 2015, VanHowe stayed in the air as a flight instructor at the Oakland County International Airport, eventually landing at SkyWest Airlines.
Magnificently Managing an Airport: Sarah Pagano’s Aviation Management and Operations Success
Sarah Pagano kind of grew up near the airport that serves her home community of Midland, Mich., and today she is its "Top Gun" as manager. But she took a maverick-like path to get there -- an initial dive into a career in health care, a maneuver that made her a later-in-life nontraditional student, and a safe landing on her goal via an innovative knowledge-delivery system.
Take Offs and Touchdowns with Alex Toger – Flying High as a College of Aviation Alumni and Current Endeavor Air Pilot
Alex Toger is the epitome of "Once a WMU College of Aviation ambassador, always one," even though the higher-education chapter of his life is years in the rear-view mirror. Being one of the program's "welcomers" and "introducers," the December 2017 recipient of a degree in aviation flight science says the ambassadorial experience taught him "how to deal with and answer questions that might not always have the desired response while giving tours and sit-downs."