Hero Employee Saves Co-Worker’s Life – Twice

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Hero Stores Clerk, Ann Jones

Detroit Maintenance Manager Rio Publico and Detroit Lead Stores Clerk Ann Jones have worked together since 2011, and have always had a good rapport, both in and out of the office.  Last fall, the two were attending a group training session at GoJet’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, when the unthinkable happened.  While on a break, Ann and Rio were walking to a local grocery store, when Rio went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.

“I don’t remember this,” Rio says, “but Ann told me that I stopped, told her to hold on, and then I collapsed.” Ann called 911, and the dispatcher told Ann that she would have to restart Rio’s heart while paramedics were en route.  “As soon as he said that, I started freaking out,” Ann remembers.  “Because it hadn’t dawned on me until that point that there was a possibility that he could die.  I’d received CPR training in the past, but had never had to use it.”

The dispatcher walked Ann through what to do, and Rio took a deep breath just before paramedics arrived. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he regained consciousness over an hour later.  When he woke up, Ann was the first person that he asked for.

While Rio was in the hospital, Ann personally called Rio’s wife, Donna, to let her know what had happened.  “I know how unnerving it is to receive an unexpected phone call from a hospital,” Ann said.  “I wanted her to hear the news from a friendly voice.” Ann looked after Rio during his recovery, and still keeps an eye on his health.  “I made sure that he only ate healthy foods, and I still do to this day.  Donna only sends him healthy food for lunch, and I make sure that he eats it all.”

Both Rio and Donna consider Ann to be his guardian angel.  Incredibly, Rio’s heart attack in St. Louis was not the first time that Ann has saved his life.  A few years ago, Ann had to call 911 when Rio had a stroke at work.  “We were laughing and talking with our boss in the room,” Ann recalls, “when suddenly, Rio told me to call 911. At first, I thought that he was joking. Then he yelled at me to call, because he couldn’t feel his arm.”

“I started stuttering, my side started tingling, and my speech was slurring,” Rio adds.  “If Ann hadn’t been there both times, I may have sustained permanent, physical damage, or not even be alive today. She has been a real saving grace.”

Ann jokes that she is not ready for Rio to experience another medical emergency any time soon. “Both of these situations were very scary – I could use a break,” she laughs.

The GoJet SOC Enjoys a Good Meal for a Good Cause

For many, the Thanksgiving holiday was a long weekend, filled with family, food, football and shopping.  However, many GoJet employees, including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and those in Systems Operations Control (SOC), sacrificed Thanksgiving with their families to make sure that our passengers arrived at their holiday destinations safely.

Our SOC employees celebrated Thanksgiving in the office, with an incredible spread from Mimi’s Cafe.  The feast offered something for all appetites, including a wide variety of vegan offerings.

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But the restaurant’s delicious and extensive menu was just part of the reason why the SOC chose Mimi’s to cater their holiday dinner. Mimi’s relationship with the Children’s Hunger Fund was what sealed the deal.  “We found out that for every order placed, Mimi’s would donate a meal to the Children’s Hunger Fund,” explained Heather Brown, who coordinated the meal.  “Our order resulted in the donation of 16 meals to children in need.”

The SOC is keeping that same spirit of giving rolling into December, with a toy drive benefiting Toys for Tots.

 

Pilot Recruiter James Douvier Explains What it Takes to be a GoJet Pilot

When Pilot Recruiter Captain James Douvier meets with pilot applicants, he’s looking for more than just technical know-how.  He’s looking for pilots with positive personalities who are going to come to GoJet and make a difference.

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Pilot Recruiter Captain James Douvier

Being a great aviator is certainly a requirement to become a GoJet pilot, but there’s more to it than that.  Crews spend a lot of time together, so having an outgoing and positive attitude is important.  James says that during the interview process, he asks himself, “Is this someone that I would want to fly a four-day trip with?”

When James interviews pilots, he’s also looking at what they’ve accomplished outside of the cockpit.  “We’re looking for pilots who are going to do more than just fly their shift, make their money, and go home,” James explains.  “We want to hire people who are going to be involved and engaged in the airline.  If you’ve been involved in your school, community, or at your previous airline, it’s a pretty good indication that you’re going to make a positive impact at GoJet.”

However, the interview process is also about pilot candidates making sure that GoJet is the right fit for them.  That’s why James sets aside a portion of each interview to answer any questions that applicants may have.  One of the most common things that pilot applicants want to know is what their life will be like when they become a GoJet pilot.

In addition to emphasizing the quality of life benefits that GoJet offers, including high pay, minimal reserve time, and fast Captain upgrades, James also tells candidates about GoJet’s unique, family-like culture.  For example, unlike “slam-clickers,” or pilots who stay in their hotel rooms after they finish a day of flying, GoJet crews frequently go out to dinner together or rent a car and sightsee during overnight trips.  “I have friends at other airlines, and the level of camaraderie that you see at GoJet is just different,” he remarks.  “All of our crews are interactive teams who just genuinely enjoy each other’s company.”

When asked if he had any advice for new GoJet pilots, James encouraged them to take advantage of every opportunity to get involved with the company, as it will benefit their careers down the road.  “Many of our pilots aspire to fly for mainline carriers one day, and all airlines, including mainlines, want to hire pilots who have made the effort to progress professionally as much as they can,” he stressed.  “Do as much as you can while you have the opportunity, and it will pay off for you later.”

Professional development opportunities that James suggests include:

  • Becoming a Check Airman
  • Getting involved in the union
  • Offering to be a committee chair, such as for hotels
  • Helping out with recruiting
  • Taking advantage of the Pilot Mentor Program – in addition to earning $5,000 for every pilot you mentor, you’re paying it forward by passing on your wisdom and experience to new pilots

Being a pilot recruiter means that James doesn’t get to fly the line as much as he’d like, but he loves what he does.  “I get to help make people’s dreams come true. Seeing someone’s face light up when they are offered a job as a GoJet First Officer, then seeing that person become a Captain, and then watching them move on to mainline, that’s just really special.”

There’s never been a better time to become a GoJet pilot.  Click here to get started.

Maintenance Control: The Unseen Face of Tech Ops

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Maintenance Controller Steven Perez

The majority of our passengers have most likely never heard the term “Maintenance Control.”  However, the safety and timeliness of our flights depends on this important group of GoJet employees.  This department is critical to keeping our airplanes safe, our flights on schedule, and our passengers happy.

Maintenance Controllers are licensed A & P mechanics who troubleshoot aircraft mechanical issues for our pilots and mechanics at out stations.  If a GoJet pilot encounters a mechanical issue with an aircraft anywhere in the country, their first call is to Maintenance Control. Often, Maintenance Control can help the pilot correct the issue over the phone, which allows our out-station mechanics to focus on more involved repairs.  However, if it’s a more complicated problem, Maintenance Control will diagnose the likely source of the problem and recommended a course of action to local mechanics.

Our line and hangar mechanics are always outside fixing aircraft, regardless of weather conditions.  Whether it’s snow in New York or a sizzling summer in Raleigh, our line and hangar mechanics have to be outside to get the job done.  However, our Maintenance Controllers work inside Systems Operations Control (or the SOC) at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis.  That’s because Maintenance Control interfaces with many different departments, including Crew Scheduling and Dispatch, which are located in the SOC.  For example, if a flight is delayed due to a maintenance issue, Dispatch and Crew Scheduling rely on Maintenance Control to tell them to estimated fix time so that the flight can be re-scheduled and re-crewed, if necessary. Or if an aircraft can’t be fixed in time to operate a scheduled flight, Dispatch relies on Maintenance Control to recover the flight with a different aircraft.

Maintenance Controllers have a lot on their plate, to say the least.  In addition to troubleshooting problems on aircraft that are often hundreds of miles away from them and developing recovery options for out of service aircraft, they are also responsible for scheduling short-term preventative maintenance, as well as for monitoring repeat repairs.  And while a line or hangar mechanic can only work on one aircraft at a time, Maintenance Controllers are tackling dozens of issues at once.

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Maintenance Controller George Thomas

“When I was a line mechanic, I just had one plane in front of me, and I was only working on one task at a time,” explains Maintenance Controller George Thomas.  “Now, I’m simultaneously working on on multiple planes, crews, and issues, which always keeps me busy.”  Maintenance Controller Steven Perez agrees.  “You’ll be going in different directions all day, so you need to make sure that you keep a cool head.”

Both George and Steve agree that the benefits of working in Maintenance Control outweigh the pressures of the job.  In addition to working inside out of the elements, a move to Maintenance Control also comes with a considerable pay increase.  And both George and Steve enjoy the people that they work with and take a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that the work that they do is so important.

“I work with great people, and there’s a fraternal atmosphere among all of us,” George remarked.  “And when you know that you’re helping 30 to 50 crews and hundreds of passengers each day, it’s a very rewarding feeling.”

Steve feels the same way.  “I work in a really good environment with like-minded professionals,” Steve says. “We all take a lot of pride in keeping our planes in the air.”

Given the enormous responsibilities that Maintenance Controllers have, Maintenance Control isn’t the place for someone right out of A & P school. Maintenance Controllers have to have a good systematic understanding of our CRJ700/900 aircraft, as well as the ability and confidence to make split second decisions that can effect the entire fleet.  Plus, good communications skills are key, as Maintenance Controllers must be able to communicate effectively across departments.

“No department has a greater impact on Tech Ops overall performance than Maintenance Control,” said Aaron Armstrong, GoJet’s Director of Maintenance.  “A single Maintenance Controller is going to make more independent decisions in a day than a line mechanic makes in month.”

“Maintenance Control isn’t for everyone,” adds Rob Truax, GoJet’s VP of Tech Ops. “We set the bar for Maintenance Controllers incredibly high – they represent some of our best and brightest Maintenance talent.”

GoJet is currently offering a $12,000 retention bonus to current and new hire Maintenance Controllers.  If you’re a licensed and experienced A & P mechanic and want to make a big impact on the operation, Maintenance Control might be a perfect fit for you.  Click here to learn more and apply online.

Piano Playing GoJet Pilot Delights Passengers at Chicago O’Hare

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GoJet Captain Billy Hock, meeting a fan after playing the piano at Chicago O’Hare

The next time you find yourself at Chicago O’Hare, make sure to wander past Gate C17. If you’re lucky, you just might catch GoJet Captain Billy Hock serenading passengers with his piano playing skills.  Captain Hock is a regular feature at C17, where he often unwinds between flights by performing on the piano.

Captain Hock is a lifelong music enthusiast and has been playing the piano since he was a child.  While he envisions a lifelong aviation career for himself, he always makes time for his first love – music.  “I always plan on flying planes professionally, but music is my first passion,” he explains.

A piano playing pilot isn’t something that you see every day, and passengers have been known to share photos and videos of his playing via social media.  Passengers have also reached out to him directly to tell him how much they enjoyed and appreciated his playing.  One post to his Facebook wall says:

Thank you for the Chopin, it was heavenly and made my delay in ORD worth it. Would have loved to dance to it if I was alone. Keep sharing the beauty you see and feel. 

When he’s not flying airplanes or entertaining passengers on the piano, Captain Hock composes and performs his own original piano compositions, which are available on iTunes.  And his musical talents don’t stop at the piano – he also plays saxophone and guitar!

We’re proud that the multi-talented Captain Hock is part of the GoJet family.  We love it when our employees use their creativity to make unique connections with the world around them!

Unique Internship Provides Firsthand Look at Airline Operations

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Steve Paduchak, Training Analyst & Internship Program Coordinator

Are you looking for an internship that provides extensive, behind-the-scenes exposure to all facets of an airline operation?  Look no further than the GoJet Airlines internship program.  This unique program exposes college students to all of the people and departments it takes to keep an airline flying.  Data Training Analyst Steve Paduchak, himself a former GoJet intern, now coordinates the internship program, and works hard to ensure that each participant has a quality experience.

Steve participated in the GoJet internship program during the summer of 2014, when  he was an Aviation Management student at Jacksonville University.  Steve says that his desire to have a more well-rounded understanding of aviation is what led him to apply for the program.  “Going into the internship, I  had been previously exposed to airport operations, like runway inspections, and the management side of the industry,” he explained.  “However, I wanted to also be exposed to other aspects of the aviation industry, including airline, and air traffic management.”

Steven says that one of his biggest takeaways from the experience was a new appreciation for the amount of departmental collaboration that goes into running an airline.  “The internship really opened my eyes to what airline management entails, right down to just how many different people are involved in just one flight operation,” he remarked.  “From pilots and flight attendants, to mechanics, schedulers and dispatchers, everyone has a role to play in the success of each flight.”

After he completed his degree, Steve was offered a full-time position as a Flight Operations Training Analyst.  Shortly thereafter, he jumped at the opportunity to again be involved in the internship program, this time as the Program Coordinator.  “I’m very passionate about both pursuing opportunities, and providing opportunities that could benefit others,” says Steve.  “I had a great experience a few years ago, and taking over the internship program was the perfect opportunity for me to pay it forward.”

Steve stresses that the biggest advantage of the program is the varied exposure it provides, regardless of what aviation program a student may be studying.  “Whether you’re a pilot, flight operations, dispatch, or management student, you’re going to see the entire operation as an intern.”

In addition to receiving travel benefits through United Airlines, GoJet interns also receive a weekly stipend of $100 to help with expenses.  And as Steve’s experience shows, an internship at GoJet could very well lead to a full-time position after graduation.

To learn more about the GoJet Airlines internship program, please contact Steve at steven.paduchak@gojetairlines.com.

 

 

Pilot and Passenger Race to Retrieve Cell Phone Before Departure

We’ve all experienced it at least once – that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you’ve lost your cell phone, with all of your contacts.  That’s exactly the situation that one of our passengers was recently faced with.  After boarding a flight to St. Louis, he realized that he’d left his cell phone, with all of his business contacts, in the terminal.  With just 15 to go minutes before departure, the odds of retrieving his phone before take-off didn’t look good.  That’s when Captain Jacob Sutherland stepped in.

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Superstar pilot, Captain Jacob Sutherland

I wanted to share with you an unbelievable experience I had with one of your Captains and Flight Attendants on a recent flight from New York to St. Louis.   After leaving the gate by shuttle bus and boarding my flight on the tarmac, I that realized I had left my phone in the airport’s Sky Lounge. All 100 of my client contacts for a conference that I was to run in St. Louis were stored in that phone. More importantly, that phone number was the only way that I could be reached over those next four days.

I explained this dilemma to Flight Attendant Melanie McKetchem, and she kindly asked the cockpit if they could help. Captain Jacob Sutherland contacted the terminal to see if it could be retrieved. But with only 15 minutes to departure, it was not possible to get my phone to the plane in time. So, the Captain decided that he and I could take the bus back and race to the lounge to get it.

What played out next must have looked to onlookers like a scene from a movie. Captain Sutherland and I jumped on the shuttle back to the terminal, literally sprinting over the bridge to the lounge. There, my phone was just about to be handed over to security.  My phone was then returned to me, and the Captain and I once again sprinted, this time back through the two terminals to the shuttle bus. Somehow, we were back on the plane in enough time to depart on schedule, and touched down in St. Louis 20 minutes before our expected arrival time.

I have been on hundreds of flights since the 1970s, and this is by far the best experience that I have ever had. If Captain Sutherland is typical of your flight staff, then your company and passengers are in very capable hands. The Captain saved my trip and event with his quick initiative and decision making ability. I thank these two flight personnel for their great efforts on my behalf.

Thanks to Captain Sutherland and the hundreds of other GoJet employees who are out there giving it their all for our passengers, each and every day.  If you’d like to work with truly extraordinary and thoughtful people, click here to check out a list of current openings.