Atlas concluded its month-long Women’s History Month activities with focus on the women of Atlas’s Technical Operations team, whose leadership and innovative ideas inspire us and make us stronger.
The Tech Ops team’s work is critical and continuous, happening behind-the-scenes to ensure Atlas’s 24-7 operation runs efficiently. The team is successful, in large part, because it benefits from the ideas and perspectives of people from varying backgrounds.
Senior Vice President of Technical Operations Lillian Dukes took on the leadership of the department in the summer of 2020, bringing more than 25 years’ experience in Tech Ops and supply management in the aviation industry. Prior to Atlas, she held roles with companies including American Airlines, American Eagle Airlines, Spirit Aerosystems, Beechcraft Corp. and General Electric.
Lillian is a champion of Atlas’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion philosophy and efforts to bring more women to careers in aviation, especially in Tech Ops.
“I think it all goes back to diversity of thought,” said Lillian. “Women, I think, bring a different thought process to things, just like people of different backgrounds do. This diversity of perspective is needed to change the dynamics of the conversation and decision making.”
Lillian holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Villanova University. She was inspired by her parents, who modeled tenacity and hard work – qualities she has carried with her.
Lillian advocates for the next generation of women in aviation as a mentor and through her role as a board member of AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management and Education), the most active and prominent organization focused on advancing women’s supply chain leadership. She also serves as adjunct lecturer in the Haslam College of Business within the Graduate and Executive Education Aerospace and Defense programs at the University of Tennessee.
Althea Arvin, Senior Director of Materials Management, shares Lillian’s determination to encourage other women to pursue a place in the industry – and to have a voice when they get there. She hopes to set an example for other women in tech ops, as others have been an example for her.
“My very first boss after I got out of aircraft maintenance school just seemed very comfortable,” Althea said. “I could see myself as a leader because I could see myself in her. I could look up and see a woman there and think, it’s possible for me to be in that chair one day.”
Althea joined Atlas in October 2020, bringing nearly 25 years of experience in aviation maintenance, beginning with a 12-year career in the U.S. Air Force. Althea’s father and uncles were active-duty air force pilots, and she dreamed of following them into the cockpit.
She was a distinguished graduate of ROTC, and had her first choice of career paths, but pilot training was closed to her because of a back injury from a skiing accident. Undeterred, she chose a career in aviation maintenance instead.
In the few months that she has been at Atlas, Althea has been impressed by the women on her team.
“The women I have in my department are very strong and very effective,” she said.
To highlight just a few:
Ana Archie, Manager of Stores and Material Operations, Miami
“I have worked in the supply logistics industry since 2009, when I enlisted in the military. I did not initially know this field of work existed, but once I was introduced to it, I fell in love with it and have continued to focus on logistics in my professional journey. I found aviation when I worked as a Logistics Liaison for the U.S. Military. I became familiar with the C-5, C-130 and C-17, as well as commercial aircraft. In my current role at Atlas Air as a Material Operations Manager in MIA, I run the Material Stores operation. The MIA Stores department is a critical part of Atlas Air Tech Ops and I am proud to have built a strong and well-run operation here. My most significant achievement has been earning the respect of my colleagues by delivering great results in a male-dominated field.”
Nancy Escobar, Supervisor of Materials Stores, Houston
“I am a first generation Mexican American, born and raised in Northern California. I served in the Army for eight years, and because of the values instilled in me, I was drawn to roles that tended to both more challenging and male-dominated. During my military service, I flew home from a 12-month deployment in Afghanistan on Atlas. Fast-forward five years later; I am a Materials Supervisor for that very same company. I am passionate about my job and dedicated to helping others pursue their passions and dreams like I have as a mother, veteran and logistician.”
Luna Liu, Regional Manager of Stores, Asia
“I was born and raised in Beijing and I am from an aviation family. My passion for aviation comes from my parents. My parents inspire my perseverance and work ethic. When the opportunity came to join Atlas as a contract store clerk in Shenzhen in 2000, I accepted it. After eight months of working in this role, I went to Singapore to support the heavy checks. Seven years later, I was asked if I was willing to assume the Regional Manager of Asia position, and I accepted it. I embrace the challenges and adventure that comes with this industry as they help me grow as a leader.”