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The Career Services Office

Alumni Spotlight: E. Blair Johns II

E. Blair Johns IIE. Blair Johns II graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in December 1998 with a degree in Aeronautical Science.  Currently, he works at Envoy (formerly known as American Eagle Airlines) as a commercial pilot.

What are the highlights of your career so far?

The path I took to build my flight hours, experience and  qualifications opened some unexpected windows into an adventure I had not seen coming.

Flight instructing and getting to fly C402 at Ocean Wings in  Nantucket not only brought about an adventure as to where I was flying but also to where I was living. Had I anticipated where I would lay my head at night I believe I would have looked elsewhere. From a hostel to a hanger office and eventually a  bedroom in a small house, made for meeting great friends along the way, and certainly filled that adventure craving I so anticipated from a career in aviation.

Eastern Air Charter stepped it up a bit as far as the techniques of flying my first turboprop. The Cheyenne II was the perfect fit to not only fly passengers expeditiously to their destinations, but we flew the Cheyenne at all hours of the night as a transport for organ bank donor flying. We would get called out at night as a reserve crew might, and quickly get the aircraft prepped for the medical transport. We would fly to a city, pick up a team of surgeons, and fly to another city where a deceased organ donor was operated on by the surgeons. Once the surgeons were finished with the  operation, we would then take them to another city, where a patient in need was urgently waiting for the organ and surgeon team we flew back with us.

This type of flight operation helped me prepare for the airline world of sometimes complex yet rewarding commercial transport. Through my time at American Eagle, now Envoy, I have been challenged many times and have felt as though each is a valuable learning experience. Nothing can drive home a lesson better than being thrown into a situation with little warning and allowing your training to instinctively take over. From inflight emergencies to customer anomalies on the ground, at the airline, the training happens as much on the line as at the training academy. It is a true sense of satisfaction when you can look back at a safely completed flight and talk over the whole situation with your fellow crew members about what went well and what you all might want to improve on. It is surely a skill refining exercise to go through these unexpected situations.

How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you?

One of the first memories which come to mind about my time at Embry-Riddle are the friends and camaraderie a student is immersed in the moment they arrive on campus. The collective love of aviation was electrifying and settling into a new and unfamiliar life, from everyday living to studying, was immediately put at ease knowing I was now amongst many other enthusiasts. All of this fervor helped me leap into the courses with a hunger for all that Embry-Riddle could fill. The lifestyle of managing the class schedule with early morning flights was a challenge at first but prepared me for the sometimes demanding schedule of airline life. Juggling a schedule like this is part of the college program across our country at many schools, yet the structure I was given through Embry-Riddle’s aviation curriculum helped carry me through those demanding days.

What three traits or skills have made you the most successful in your career?

Perseverance: Prioritizing my goals and envisioning the desired outcome, yet stopping every day and taking in the realization that my current place in my career was the goal at some earlier point in life. This helps me reflect on and appreciate where I am in my career.

Empathy: No person is isolated from the rest of world, we all have relations with others and putting this trait into action helps interpersonal relationships grow exponentially. In the customer relation business airlines are built upon, this trait is essential to nurturing and growing our airline’s business.

Teamwork: From departure gate to en route to the arrival gate, the amount of planning and work that goes into one flight is astonishing when realized. In the airline environment many people are involved in the process of getting a flight off the departure gate on time and much of this goes understandably unnoticed to the public eye. We operate every flight with a concept known as Cockpit Resource Management (CRM). This is essentially a communication loop built with teamwork where each inflight and ground crew member is involved in a feedback process whether the flight runs normal or encounters any degree of abnormality. Put simply, CRM is the fuel which the machine of an airline operation needs to run successfully. With the amount of customers and employees involved in one day of an airlines operation, we would be hard pressed to complete it all without a good teamwork environment.

Are there any challenges that students need to be aware of as they enter the workforce?
Do you have any advice for students seeking positions in the aviation industry?

Changes are happening rapidly in the airline industry as far as the modeling of regional and mainline staffing and operation. New flight hour minimums and regulations have increased the required minimums an applicant to any airline must need, 1500 total time with an ATP. Retirements at the three largest mainlines; American, Delta, and United are due to produce an approximate number of 10,000 positions over the next ten years. The third factor of massive growth for the next decade is the new rest regulations now in effect, requiring longer minimum rest overnights which increases staffing required to cover the schedule each week. Envoy currently has a pipeline program in effect with various flight schools including Embry-Riddle, where an applicant’s total flight time may be reduced to a lower minimum. This program allows the hiring of an applicant before they meet the minimum flight time and subsequently working to gain the flight time before flying the line at Envoy.

A couple of challenges which anyone interested in the airline career should be aware of is the family dynamics involved with being away from home three to four nights a week. Whether you live in base or commute like myself, having an understanding spouse at home is something I am very fortunate to have. My wife Amy and I met when I was on my way to new hire training with American Eagle, so from the beginning she understood the dynamics of being apart for periods of time and was acclimated to this by the time we lived together. Leaving Amy to a house full of kids mixed in with her full time job is not for everyone, though I am lucky to have such a compassionate and loving partner who understands very well the life we as airline pilots live. In the beginning of my time at American Eagle, Amy would come along on overnights with me and got to meet the excellent people that make this job so fun. Understanding the day-to-day life whether on reserve or flying a scheduled line of flying was a good foundation to our relationship in later years. While we may be gone for days at a time, we can have three and sometimes four or five days off at a time, depending on the way we can move our schedules around.

Overall, it is a great time to get into the airline industry with the known turnover from retirements for at least the next ten to fifteen years. It will become a very rewarding career with the changes coming. The flying bug bites such a diverse group of individuals and that fact makes this job a very fun and interesting one. Some pilots started young knowing this was their career of choice, while I’ve flown with many who have previous careers ranging from Wall Street stock floor traders to Psychologists, making the switch and starting over as a career airline pilot.

I often remark to my fellow crew members that we have what I believe to be the best corner office with a view unparalleled. It is quite a place to sit, watch and reflect on all that activity encompassing that fond planet we soar over each day.

Need Some Inspiration? Part II

inspiration part 2The Career Services staff at Daytona Beach wanted to have a part two to a blog from in August.   There are so many quotes that can continue to motivate through a co-op/internship and/or job search.  Here are more of the staff’s favorite inspirational quotes.  Feel free to read part one here.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” –H. Stanley Judd

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” –Arthur Ashe

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky

“Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.” Paul J. Meyer

 “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 “Limitations live only in our minds.  But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless” –Jamie Paolinetti

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us” –Helen Keller

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” –Albert Einstein

“You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than anyone else.” –Albert Einstein

“If opportunity doesn’t Knock, build a door” –Milton Birle

“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising after you fall” –Vince Lambardi

Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Mark Payne

Mark PayneMark Payne is an Aerospace Engineering student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach.  He transferred to Riddle in spring 2014 in order to study Aerospace Engineering.  Although he is fascinated by planes, the reality is that he grew up in a ship yard.  His father owns San Juan Towing & Marine Services, which specialized in commercial vessel repair and small scale towing.

How did you land the internship and how did you navigate the process?

Landing an internship for the summer was nearly impossible. The reality was that my GPA was just below the required GPA for most employers and I would usually be cut off because of that. After several months of constantly applying to most major companies, and calling many smaller companies, I had not heard any responses.

By late April, I was worried for obvious reasons. The idea of applying to as many as thirty internships and not even landing one interview was not very motivating. My father actually mentioned the fact that I should diversify. That is when I decided to look for a company which was not related to the aerospace industry. I found the International Ship Repair & Marine Services in Tampa. In order to “land the internship”, I scheduled a meeting with the company Vice President two days after finals had finished and was working the very next Monday.

What experience have you had and what did you do on your internship?

My experience was definitely unique. I had the opportunity to be rotated between three different departments. These were the machinist department, the quality assurance department, and the estimating department.

As a machinist, I was out in the field with the workers. I was able to obtain real exposure and got hands on shipyard experience. I was also able to learn how to use manufacturing equipment such as lathes and milling machines.

While working in the quality assurance department I was responsible for the visual inspection of drive shafts and propeller blades that were both coming in and out of the machine shop.

Working with the estimating department was my favorite. I was given the tasks of designing engine mounts for three ton diesel engines and a propeller stand which could hold a five ton propeller.

What advice would you give students who are contemplating doing an internship experience?

I would tell students to pursue any and every opportunity possible. Not only will they gain valuable experience which will make them better engineers and more hire able, but they will also, in most cases, be able to obtain engineering tech elective credit in an engineering student.

Talk about your learning experience both professionally and personally.

While interning, although my schedule varied, I was working 40 hours per week. While working with the machinist and job estimating departments, I had a 7:25AM to 3:55PM work schedule. While working for the quality assurance department, I was working by 6:00 and out by 2:30PM. I had a 1/2 lunch break.

Besides interning, I was also taking two of ERAU’s online classes. I was able to both work full time and take two classes. This was definitely a very big plus.

Would you do a second internship? Why? 

I have already begun applying for many internships. I believe that while one internship is definitely necessary, having two internships is even better.

What are the benefits you will take away from doing the internship when looking for a full-time career?

When looking for a full time career I will have the benefit of having prior work experience. This is extremely valuable in a very competitive job market. Having prior work experience is a very big plus.

Any other general advice to share?

As for advice, I have to emphasize that there is nothing more important than constantly applying to internships. If you’ve applied for twenty positions and think that you are done, think again and apply for twenty more. In my case, I was able to land an internship on my last attempt.

If you are unable to land an internship because of grades, take summer courses, either on campus or online. By doing so, you will improve your GPA and have a better chance of being hired when applying for future internships.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Ways Job-Seekers Bomb Job Interviews

Dr. Randall Hansen posted a great article on the Quintessential Careers Blog in regards to various ways job-seeks can bomb job interviews.Quint Careers

Below is the article:

10 Ways to Bomb Your Job Interview

1. Late to the interview. Repeat this mantra: I will ALWAYS be on time for job interviews. There’s no excuse for being late to an interview, and even if by some amazing chance the employer finds the time to interview, you have dug a hole that very few job-seekers ever recover from. Plan ahead, take a test run, and leave early enough for contingencies (accident, road construction, weather). And if it’s a Webcam, Skype, Google Hangout interview, there is NO excuse for not being online for the start of the interview.

2. Bad attire/grooming. I will never forget the time a graduating college student arrived to an interview dressed in a beautiful and expensive suit, crisp white shirt, and power tie… until he got closer and we saw he was wearing sandals. The rest of the interview, the interviewer kept dropping snarky sandal comments; the interview was over before it started. You should ALWAYS dress the part and be well-groomed — even for Webcam interviews.

3. Limited eye contact. Making eye contact is a sign of confidence — and employers want to hire confident job-seekers. Don’t start at the interviewer, but practice making frequent eye contact. In a panel interview, make eye contact with every person. If you have a hard time looking directly into someone else’s eyes, focus on looking at the bridge of each person’s nose.

4. Weak knowledge of employer. Nothing turns off an employer faster than a job applicant who appears to know little of the organization — or the job itself. One of the most important things you should do upon obtaining an interview is to research the employer — both for your own knowledge, but also so you can speak intelligently of the organization — as well as ask intelligent questions.

5. Bland, weak, or boring interview responses. Find the middle ground between providing too little detail — and not providing enough. Your interview responses should be crisp, short, and to-the-point. Know your accomplishments and practice answering typical job interview questions. If you are relatively inexperienced (or it’s been a long time since you have been on an interview), conduct at least one mock interview.

6. Lack of enthusiasm. Do not interview when you’re tired — and do not overcompensate with one too many energy drinks. Try and maintain a strong, but not over-the-top energy level throughout the interview so that the employer knows you are definitely interested in the job.

7. Appearing desperate. Even if you NEED the job, if you appear too eager, too willing, too desperate, many employers will see this as a weakness — just as they see someone who is currently unemployed as a weakness. Express your interest in the job, but don’t cross the line.

8. Willing to take any job. You MUST know the job you seek — and then SHOW the employer why you are qualified for it. If you appear unfocused — or willing to take any job “just so you can work for such a great employer” — you will likely NOT be asked back for another interview. Employers hire job specialists these days.

9. Complaining about past jobs/bosses. Never — NEVER — talk negatively about an employer or manager… even if you hate your current (or last) job, you MUST put a positive spin on it. Focus on yourself, not the negatives of the job.

10. Failing to ask questions. We actually had a job-seeker recently tell us that she thought it was rude to ask questions in a job interview! Quite the opposite. Many hiring managers will make the assumption you do not really care about the job if you don’t ask questions in the interview. But do NOT ask obvious questions you could have learned from doing the proper research. And — if not discussed in the interview — your last question should always be about the next steps in the hiring process.

 

To read the full article, please visit the Quintessential Careers Blog: http://blog.quintcareers.com/ways-job-seekers-bomb-job-interviews/

 

Alumni Spotlight: Kevin MacLean

Kevin McLeanKevin MacLean is a May 2001 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach.  He completed his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science and is currently a helicopter pilot for NextEra Energy.

What does your current role with NextEra Energy entail? 

Since 2006, I have been flying helicopters and jets for an outfit in Palm Beach, Florida called NextEra Energy. This Part 91 flight department has 2 Agusta helicopters, 2 Citation XLs, 2 Falcon 2000s, and 11 pilots.  The helicopters usually fly all over Florida and into the Keys, while the jets cover the entire North America, Caribbean and occasionally Europe.

Landing at a flight department like this was a career goal of mine. I fly the line and am also a Training Captain on the helicopters.I assist with new hire, recurrent, and instrument training. Interestingly enough, my dad is actually the one who first told me about NextEra’s flight department, having been and  engineer working with the company for over 40 years.

How did you make the initial transition from fixed wing to rotor?

My transition from fixed-wing to helicopters occurred six months after starting my initial fixed-wing flight training. Thankfully, my comrade Hugh, connected me with his good friend Josh, who was chief pilot for a helicopter company at KFXE in South Florida. Josh recruited me as an intern, where I quickly earned my helicopter ratings. In the year 2000, I was an ERAU student with a helicopter in Daytona. This served as my time-building flying job senior year and beyond graduation.

Based on your experience, what are the advantages of working in corporate aviation?

In my experience, corporate aviation is a real blessing. Each outfit I have had the pleasure to fly with has been like a small family with a very personal feel. It usually is a fairly low stress environment. Corporate aviation’s goal is to be safe, flexible, convenient, and comfortable. We often have very sophisticated equipment and there also tends to be a variety of destinations.

What personal attributes do you feel help to make one successful in the corporate aviation environment?

A good attribute for success in corporate aviation is flexibility. These groups are small, relying on the limited staff to do a variety of tasks.  A positive attitude goes a very long way. The flight crew is faced with new challenges best handled by the problem-solving personalities. Another valuable tool is the ability to work well with others, because everyone wants to be around quality people.
What advice do you have for current and future pilots seeking work in corporate aviation?

Emphasis on networking is huge advice for pilots seeking work in corporate aviation. Networking starts in flight school and continues beyond the time you actually find the job you are looking for. I personally have flown for over a half-dozen different corporate outfits, and each one of these opportunities became real due to networking. Stay in contact with your peers, and make new contacts: classmates, coworkers, social media, job fairs, internet research, and other methods.  Remain professional as you network and prepare for a flood of success.

Ways to Be Eligible for a Salary Increase

Raise$By: Valerie Kielmovitch

After putting in time at a job, sometimes people become interested in the next step or being able to earn more for their work. Though every industry, company, and/or job may have a different method for administering salary increases to employees, but here are some general ways to ensure that you are a viable candidate earning a raise:

  • Stand out from the crowd
    • This can be demonstrated by doing outstanding work, volunteering when needed, and/or creating a strong reputation for yourself among the company and/or team. Office gossip happens in many workplaces, but try to not contribute to this in order to create a positive image of yourself.
  • Step up to the plate
    • Try to take on leadership roles within your team and/or office. This could include training a new employee, organizing professional development opportunities or volunteer experiences, or demonstrating expertise on a project/assignment.
  • Create a strong case
    • When approaching a supervisor, make sure you have solid reasons for justifying your potential raise. Think about what accomplishments you have made, if this is the right time to be asking (e.g. end of year evaluations, at a career milestone, or after a profitable quarter), and do not ask for an exorbitant amount.
  • Involve your performance review
    • It may be a good idea to have the raise discussion around the time of your performance review as this gives you an advantage (if it is positive) as for reasons why a raise is justifiable.
  • Always end in a question
    • Asking questions and listening during the conversation with your supervisor would be advantageous to the discussion being productive. You do not want to go into a conversation demanding more money as typically you will not get the outcome you are seeking.

Valerie Kielmovitch was recently promoted to Associate Director and Employer Relations Manager within the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University- Daytona Beach. She has worked in the Career Services office at ERAU since 2010. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and her Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

 

Graduating Student Success Story: Krystel Parra

Krystel Parra is a recent graduate of the Aerospace & Occupational Safety undergraduate degree program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Daytona Beach campus. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Occupational Safety Management at ERAU, Worldwide. Krystel also works full time as an Internal Evaluation Program Auditor in Spirit Airlines’ Safety Department.

KrystelBelow is a brief description of Krystel’s current position at Spirit Airlines and how her ERAU education helped her obtain this role:

As an IEP Auditor, I am part of the Internal Evaluation Program (IEP) in Spirit Airlines.

We provide a high level surveillance and evaluation of how well the company’s processes and procedures are performing in respect to safety. I work with Spirit’s business partners and Team Members in all types of operational departments to ensure that our customers get from point A to point B as safely as possible by performing evaluations, risk assessments, and providing corrective actions to the operational parties.

My Bachelor of Science in Aerospace and Occupational Safety degree gave me the tools that are required in the safety profession. While in Spirit’s Safety Department, I use what I learned in the classroom and apply it to the workplace. For example, when performing evaluations of workplace conditions, my knowledge of federal regulations learned from classes such as Environmental Compliance & Safety, Industrial Hygiene, and System Safety provide me the tools I need to successfully perform my duties as an IEP Auditor.

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