Bronco Spotlight: Laura VanDonkelaar

Laura VanDonkelaar

Bachelor of Science, aviation flight science, 2009

Current Job Title:

Owner & Charter Services Trip Manager and Aircraft Dispatcher

Current Employer:

Pentastar Aviation

Describe your current job:

I am responsible for communication with clients with managing all aspects of special requests on behalf of the clients, as well as provide expertise regarding client’s aircraft for both Part 91 and 135 trips.  I’m also responsible for scheduling and coordinating client trips.

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is working closely with the aircraft owners and their administrative assistant to ensure a great flight experience each and every time they fly their aircraft. A major part of accomplishing a great flight experience is the technical side of the planning process where each and every aspect of the flight is reviewed and the trip comes together. The planning process includes choosing the most suitable airports, making sure that the airport that is being chosen not only works for my client but also has the necessary services we will need on the ground, reviewing flight plans to ensure the aircraft endurance will not be exceeded, applying for permits, and coordinating with the handlers on the ground. Being such a tedious job, the technical side of the planning is also the most challenging part of my job. I think that is what makes it so rewarding.

If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?

While interning in Southwest Airlines’ Maintenance Materials Purchasing Department, I worked alongside some of the best in the business to see firsthand how aircraft parts are purchased, received, stocked, pulled, and assembled onto the aircraft. I learned what it takes to be a part of a successful company and that your attitude about everything you do is a reflection on yourself.  Dispatching at WMU College of Aviation provided me the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of flight operations on the collegiate level. I worked with flight instructors, students, faculty and staff to energetically promote teamwork at the forefront of the College.  There are so many aspects that go into a flight and so often it is only the flight itself that gets looked at. It was so great to see other sides of aviation and really broaden my view on the aviation industry.

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