My family is from Oregon, and our connection to Aviation in this beautiful state is one that literally set the direction of my life. My father was in college when he began flying and worked as a teacher in Wamic while he built his flight hours. In 1966 he was hired by Northwest Airlines and went on to have a three-decade career doing a job he loved.
I was lucky enough to grow up around airplanes, and learn to fly as a teen. My obsession with airplanes led me to study flight technology at Central Washington University in the ’80s. I went on to pursue other career options but never stopped loving the industry that shaped my life.
Aerospace is an industry unlike any other. It is built on the dreams and ambitions of men who were willing to take chances to prove the merits of flying. Our history is built on the actions of far more men than women, and few minorities in either gender. Unfortunately, this disparity has not been corrected. Like many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based careers, Aerospace is feeling the impact of a lack of qualified employees. Engaging historically underserved youth in the pursuit of Aerospace careers is the right thing to do for the industry and for the students.
I believe in the power of Aviation to change lives, shape economies, keep our country safe, and inspire amazing explorations in space. Our industry needs qualified employees, and our youth deserve to experience the passion of studying the diverse field of Aerospace.