Alumni Blog

WMU Aviation Flight Science Alumni Brian Depuy and Dean Captain Dave Powell

DePuy is the Guy! Finding his path and overcoming challenges, Brian lands at Envoy Air

Posted by Tom Thinnes on

A single failure doesn't equate to total, abject failure because each setback can be a valued learning tool.  Brian DePuy has the life experiences to prove that. For the WMU College of Aviation alumnus who now flies as a first officer for Envoy Air out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, compiling a bunch of rejections in his quiver is how he eventually hit the bull's-eye.  Don't believe that? Just ask the successful novelists whose work room walls are plastered with rejection slips.

WMU Aviation Flight Alumna Heather Cooper

Cruising with Captain Cooper – Heather’s Ups and Downs in Aviation

Posted by Tom Thinnes on

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times -- and WMU College of Aviation alumna Heather Cooper has experienced her industry's "worst" twice.  Now a United Airlines captain piloting the largest of aircraft, she survived the panic after "9-11" and, like the rest of the world, is pondering the future of the planet amid the personal, cultural and financial ravages of Covid 19. 

WMU Aviation Flight Science Alumni Ryan Sewell

Rockin’ His Wings – Ryan Sewell is No Foo, But Loves His Aviation Gig at Sky West

Posted by Tom Thinnes on

It's one thing to choose to attend Western Michigan University if you hail from Saginaw, Ypsilanti, Ishpeming or some other home-state community. It's another to make a cross-country leap, say from Carlsbad, Calif.  Meet Ryan Sewell, a WMU College of Aviation graduate who is not only now a SkyWest Airlines flight officer based at Detroit Metro Airport but also a dead ringer for David Grohl, a Nirvana alumnus and founder of the Foo Fighters

WMU Aviation Flight and Management Alumna Karen Kropornicki

From WMU Ambassador to Aviation Analyst – Karen Kropornicki Sets the Gold Standard

Posted by Tom Thinnes on
"I was lucky to get a job with NGA as an aeronautical analyst shortly after graduation," Karen says. "Like most people, I had never heard of NGA until I attended the Women in Aviation International's annual conference in 2012 in Dallas. I handed over my resume, had an interview during the conference, and started work a few months later." The NGA employs 14,500 people at more than 120 locations in the United States and around the world. Kropornicki, a 2011 graduate of the WMU College of Aviation with degrees in aviation flight science and aviation management and operations (with a business minor), is based in the fabled English city of London.
WMU Aviation Flight Alumni Noah Bielat

Aiming High with the Air Force ROTC – Noah Bielat’s Sights are Set

Posted by Tom Thinnes on
Bielat says that, as his years at Portage Central High School were coming to an end in the spring of 2016, Western was the only college to which he applied and the primary reason for that is its College of Aviation, which is close to his Kalamazoo-area home. "It's one of the top flight schools in the country and it all sounded like the perfect opportunity."
WMU Aviation Management and Operations Alumni Ray Hayman

Delivering Success: Aviation Management Lands Raymone Hayman at FedEx Express

Posted by Tom Thinnes on
"Father Knows Best" was a highly popular sit-com on radio and television in the late 1940s and 1950s.  For Raymone "Ray" Hayman, it was "Mom" who knew best as the family's pathfinder. "My mother observed my intrigue with components and my ability to work very well with my hands," says Ray, who earned his degree in aviation management and operations in 2016. "She decided that my obtaining a trade would elicit an exceptional living in the future and she enrolled me into Davis Aerospace High School -- totally against my wishes."
WMU Aviation Management and Operations Alumni Zachary Puchacz

Planes, Pucks and Puchacz: Zachary Scores in Aviation Management

Posted by Tom Thinnes on

Puchacz majored in what is now aviation management and operations and minored in business on the way to his 2003 WMU degree. During this time, he held his first job in the industry as an intern at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. That stint cemented his decision to focus on the management aspect of aviation and prepped him for his first full-time job -- at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey as an operations coordinator.

WMU Aviation Flight Science Alumni Doug Stutzman, U.S. Army Blackhawk Pilot

A Bronco in a Blackhawk – A Salute to Doug Stutzman’s Service

Posted by Tom Thinnes on

Like most of Western's aviation majors, Doug Stutzman thought he was initially on a path to work for an airline. The detour happened in his senior year at Western at a college event -- Aviation Outlook Day. In an exchange with an Army recruiter, he was encouraged to explore an opportunity that he had never considered before. To boost his bid for acceptance in the Army's flight-training program for warrant officers, Capt. Dave Powell, dean of the College of Aviation, and former instructor Felix Esquibel penned letters of recommendation.

WMU Aviation Technical Operations Alumni David Fish, Army Warrant Officer

A Flying Fish: David Fish takes Tech Ops to Army Air School

Posted by Tom Thinnes on
David Fish is the poster boy for those students who should always want to keep their options open and their gazes focused constantly on the horizon for the opportunities that might come into view. As a 2006 graduate of the WMU College of Aviation with a degree in aviation maintenance technology, Fish was trained to make certain that those metal birds could fly almost all the time. Today, as a test pilot for the U. S. Army, he makes certain the aircraft are safe to fly and perform their functions.
WMU Aviation Flight Science Alumni Adam Rice

Riding High with Adam Rice

Posted by Tom Thinnes on

As a December 2018 graduate of the WMU College of Aviation, Adam Rice has been a busy individual. Leveraging his time at the University, he added to his resume, took advantage of opportunities, and made the most with his time at WMU. All of which has led to his current position as a First Officer with SkyWest Airlines.