Browsing articles in "Mentoring & Development"

Hall Lewallen, 2010 K-State Grad and Charter Pilot

Apr 27, 2013   //   by admin   //   Mentoring & Development  //  No Comments

Hall Lewallen graduated from K-State Salina in 2010. He is currently a full time pilot and safety manager for Cutter Flight Management, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona. Cutter Flight Management runs a fleet of jets and turbo props for charter, involved with aircraft sales and management, and has several FBO operations and FAA Certified Repair stations in the Southwest.

What steps did you take to get to your current position?

I developed a strong passion for corporate aviation early on and began flying in high school. I earned my private pilot and instrument rating during that time, and then chose to attend K-State. Once at K-State, I flew as hard and as often as I could to earn all of my certifications and was hired as an instructor at the beginning of my sophomore year. After logging 800 hours of instruction at K-State, I completed three internships that prepared me for my current position and helped me make connections within the business aviation world.

Any advice you would give a current K-State student?

If you’re passionate about aviation, stick with it and work as hard as you can while in school and never turn down the opportunity to fly or gain experience in the industry. Also, internships are invaluable and will help you achieve your dreams.

Any advice you would give to a new graduate?

Aviation, especially corporate aviation, is very tight knit and it’s highly important to maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity at all times. Furthermore, be willing to work hard and honestly both inside and outside the cockpit; there’s much to be done in the office and if you can make your flight department a safer and more efficient operation, do it.

What is your favorite part about your job/ aviation?

Where should I begin? Everything!! I love being able to help clients get where they need to go comfortably, whether for business or pleasure (it’s extremely rewarding to be a part of this). Of course, flying incredible aircraft and seeing sunrises and sunsets from the cockpit are additional benefits. As with any career, you’ll have days that are more challenging than others and I use these to make myself better overall. Additionally, I truly look forward to work every single day and enjoy everyone whom I work with.

What do you dislike about your career?

In all honestly, nothing.

Anything else you would like to add?

You will definitely stand out simply for being a graduate of KSU; I strongly believe that it’s the best aviation school in the world. Be relentless in your pursuit of excellence in the aviation industry and your efforts will definitely be recognized and rewarded.

One final word of advice: Don’t take a job offer simply because it’s an offer. In other words, wait for the right one. Make sure that where you’ll potentially be employed is the right fit for YOU and that the company has respectable individuals working there, a clean safety record, and all of the values that you’d want to be a part of for long-term employment.

Our In the Trenches series provides a resource of advice and information from current Aviation Professionals for those about to enter the field.

David Little, 2007 K-State Graduate and Corporate Pilot

Jan 29, 2013   //   by admin   //   Mentoring & Development  //  No Comments

What do you do?

I am a pilot for Justiss Oil Company. We are based in central Louisiana in the town of Jena.

What aviation journey did you take to get to your current position?

I began flying at 14 years old. I would take a lesson here and there on the weekends. Aviation sparked my interest from the first lesson. For me, it was not a difficult choice when it was time to graduate high school, I knew where I was headed, K-State @ SLN! I started as a Freshman at K-State with my private pilot license. In two years, I had finished my CFI. That was a big step for anyone in aviation. It is the first time that you get paid to fly. My career had begun while I was a Junior in college teaching students how to fly. I continued to pursue my degree in Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Technology. I would flight instruct before class, in between classes and after class. In order to make ends meet I also worked on the line at a FBO on the field at KSLN.

I graduated in December 2007 after attending K-State @ SLN for 3 1/2 years. I began interviewing for jobs during my last semester of college. I had interviewed with several regional airlines and also attended a job fair in Dallas. All of the interviews and effort put forth was well worth the stress. At the time, the economy was doing very well. Little did I know, the economy was taking a turn for the severe worse in less than a year. I decided to accept an offer from Air Wisconsin Airlines. I graduated on a Friday and started work the following Monday (In hindsight, take a little time for yourself!). I began training in Appleton, WI studying the CRJ-200 from top to bottom and front to back. It was nearly 3 months of training after the Simulator Training was completed at US Airways Training Facility in Charlotte, NC. It was the most intense and thorough training I had ever imagined. It was such a great foundation for my career. It had taken everything that K-State taught me and compounded it and I was able to build a great base for everything from learning aircraft systems to flying the most difficult and fun approaches to communicating with all types of personalities from crew members. I really enjoyed flying the CRJ-200 for Air Wisconsin but it would not last forever as the economy was on its downward spiral. I was furloughed on 9/11/2009.

As good fortune would have it along with a sold work ethic, I was able to find another job. I began working for Justiss Oil Company on 9/15/2009 (only out of work for 4 days!). I am very blessed to have found a job where you are treated with respect and trusted as a professional. I have been with Justiss Oil for nearly 4 years and have enjoyed working for a great group of people.

What would you do differently?

I could not be where I am today without going down the path that I did. With that being said, it was not a smooth path as a great deal of effort and stress were encountered amongst moves and job changes. Looking back, I appreciate every step that I took to get to where I am today and would not change anything.

What advice would you give a current college student?

Absorb any information you can that pertains to flying. Work hard while you are in school, it will pay off for you.

What advice would you give to a new graduate?

Prepare and plan for your future. Start researching what jobs are available and pursuing all available opportunities. You never know which door will open without trying.

What is your favorite part about your job/ aviation?

I feel that as situations and circumstances change in your life so do your favorite qualities of a job. At one stage in my life the greatest thing about my job would have been the flying and the places that where we spend time. Now I believe I would say that my favorite part of my job is the amount of time I am able to spend with my children and wife.

Tom Thibaud, Southwest Airlines Captain

Jan 29, 2013   //   by admin   //   Mentoring & Development  //  No Comments
February 9, 2010

Speaker: Tom Thibaud, Captain, Southwest Airlines, Boeing 737

Tom grew up in Wichita, Kansas and knew before he could throw a baseball that he wanted to fly.  To pursue a career in aviation, Tom attended flight school at American Flyers in Oklahoma.  Throughout his training and career, Tom earned his CFI, MEI, CFII certificates and type ratings on Boeing 737, Beechjet, Learjet, and King Air 350.

Tom started his flying career as Flight Instructor in 1979 at United Beechcraft in Wichita.  Tom then became a corporate pilot and flew Beech Bonanzas, Barons, King Airs, a Beechjet, and a Lear 35.  Following corporate aviation, Tom joined the airline industry and has spent the past 10 years at Southwest Airlines, four of them as Captain.

Tom’s son, Jarod, graduated from K-State’s Aviation program in 2005 and is currently flying for the military.  Tom was a flight instructor with Connor Burton and a friend for many years.

Tom’s mentoring talking points:

•Careers in aviation

•What he sees as opportunities in aviation

•Pro’s and con’s of different aviation careers

•What students should do to prepare

•His top recommendations for students

Jan Burton, Business Entrepreneur and Pilot

Jan 29, 2013   //   by admin   //   Mentoring & Development  //  No Comments

November 5, 2009

Speaker: Jan Burton, Business Entrepreneur, Chief Advocate for Connor Burton Aviation Foundation

Jan grew up in Kansas, graduating from Kansas State with a B.S. in Business.  She became a Private Pilot to cover her large sales territory in her first job at IBM, and Connor Burton was her flight instructor.  She married Connor is 1986 and has remained an aviation enthusiast and frequent flyer.  After Connor’s death in 2008, she set up the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation and advocates for pilot education. She initiated the Speaker Series and will continue to find future speakers.

Jan’s mentoring talking points:

•Connor’s career in aviation

•The future opportunity in aviation

•Dangers of alcohol

•What companies look for in students