Celebrating our Veterans with a Salute to their Service

Here at Atlas, we are honored to support the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces as the largest provider of their passenger and cargo airlift and are proud to work alongside many team members who have served or are serving. Today, we shine a spotlight on a few of our veteran colleagues and their contributions.

Vivian Cordero, 737 First Officer

Atlas veteran

Vivian Cordero after passing her check ride to become Patrol Plane Commander.

With a grandfather who served in Vietnam and Korea while in the Army, and a stepfather, aunt and uncle who were all in the Navy, Vivian’s family’s ties to the military are strong.

“My stepfather was actually a Navy pilot and he was the one who took me to see the movie, Top Gun, which had a great impact on me,” said Vivian. “Growing up in a family that was mostly military inspired me to serve, while doing what I was passionate about (aviation).”

Vivian enlisted in the Navy in September of 1998. She was commissioned in November of 2009 and began Navy Flight School. After completing her P-3C Orion training, Vivian was deployed to the Middle East. Atlas Air flew her out for that first deployment.

Throughout her 14-year career in the Navy, Vivian served as a Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) and rose to the rank of Lieutenant while also holding Branch Officer positions for Paraloft and Airframers.

“The interesting thing about pilots in the Navy, is that we also have ground jobs and take on leadership roles,” explained Vivian. “I believe that’s the beauty of the Navy – you have a unique opportunity to expand your network beyond the Officers and not only make connections with those who enlist, but also counsel them and play a role in their career development. It’s one of the reasons I selected P-3s instead of jets. My P-3 crew as a mixture of Officers and enlisted.”

One of Vivian’s proudest moments in her Navy career was when her P-3 crew won Crew of the Year in 2014.

“We were a very cohesive crew after being together for two deployments,” she recalled. “This crew went above and beyond every single time. We won because we had the highest rate of mission completion.”

After separating from the Navy, Vivian found her way to Atlas, just as she set out to do, after seeing the aircraft in various locations while serving.

“It was my goal to one day work for Atlas and I’m so proud to work here,” said Vivian. “We do important work. As former military, I take great pride that we are part of CRAF and that we step up and support communities in times of disaster and need.”

Carl Pitts, Manager of Operations Communications

Atlas veteran

Carl Pitts re-enlisting a Staff Sergeant in his unit.

It was Carl’s grandfather’s military service that inspired him to join the military.

“Watching my grandfather serve in the Coast Guard, showed me that I had a greater purpose – even as a young child. Since then, I’ve always wanted to give back and do something bigger than myself,” said Carl.

Carl joined the U.S. Army in November 2012, serving as a short-range air defender in an infantry unit at Fort Carson, Colorado. In this role, he was responsible for providing the team with a radar view of the sky during convoy operations. He continued to move into a variety of roles before he was accepted into Officer Candidate School (OCS), a 12-week program that prepares recruits for becoming a commissioned officer in the Army, where he graduated first in his class.

After graduation, Carl became a platoon leader at Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso. He then moved on to become an Executive Officer in the same unit, as part of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

In February 2018, Carl separated from the U.S. Army before joining Atlas as a Ground Operations Safety Auditor. He spent five years on the Safety team, before moving to the Corporate Communications department in 2022.

“The transition back to civilian life can be challenging for veterans. Atlas has provided invaluable support to those of us who have served as we begin the next chapter of our careers,” said Carl.

Michael Slifer, Loadmaster Supervisor

Atlas veteran

Michael Slifer in Constanta, Romania in 2015. As part of his deployment to Europe and Africa, he traveled to Romania for a week to train alongside the Romanian military.

Just two days after graduating high school, Michael joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a KC-130 Loadmaster. His interest in enlisting stemmed from his desire to be challenged and travel the world.

“I wanted a challenge and I wanted to get out of my hometown and see the world,” said Michael. “For someone like me, fresh out high school, joining the Marine Corps met that criteria by allowing me to travel the world and learn a number of valuable skills while doing it.”

During his five-year enlistment, which ended in 2017, Michael had the opportunity to travel to a number of locations across Europe and Africa. It was during those deployments when he was first introduced to Atlas.

“I had seen Atlas planes all over the world when I was in the military,” said Michael. “I remember seeing Atlas cargo and passenger planes on the ramp when I was deployed in Italy and Africa. It made me curious about what the Company did. I started doing some research and eventually found myself applying for a job.”

He continued, “So much of the work that I did in the military translates to the work that I do now at Atlas. I enjoyed my time in the Marine Corps and always felt like if I could transfer those skills into a job on the outside, I’d do it forever.”

Michael notes that seeing the work that the Atlas team performs for the U.S. military up close during his own enlistment has made his time at the Company that much more meaningful.

“Many of the locations that I’ve been to with Atlas are the same places I traveled to when I was deployed as a Marine. Everything from the equipment we fly to the troops we transport – I experienced that firsthand when I was deployed. I’m proud to be a part of the team that provides that support on the other side now.”

IAWA panel

Panelists during the session “Innovation in Air Cargo: Delivering Change.”

For 35 years, the International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA) Annual Conference have brought together leaders across the industry for discussions that advance their mission: to cultivate and advance women leaders in the aviation and aerospace industries. Founded in 1988, IAWA is an international organization for women who hold positions of impact in the aviation and aerospace industry. As a long-time supporter of IAWA and silver sponsor for the year, Atlas was proud to have Sara Felder, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, represent the company on one of the panel discussions at the recent event, held in San Diego.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Innovation Drivers: Changing the Game in Aerospace.” Conversations focused on how to manage and influence the direction of fast-paced change in the aviation industry, the next evolution that is transforming the aviation industry and how to ensure women have pivotal leadership roles in the next evolution.

Sara joined the “Innovation in Air Cargo: Delivering Change” panel, which focused on the substantial impact of the air cargo industry on how we connect, do business, shop and respond to the needs of communities, as well as the ways in which this essential sector is rapidly evolving to maintain connectivity worldwide.

Atlas employee on panel.

Sara speaks during her panel at IAWA.

Moderated by Gina Zuckerman, Vice President of Legislative Policy, Cargo Airline Association, the panel also included Lauren Haertlein, Aviation Regulatory Counsel, Zipline; Cindy Rocha, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships, Airlink; Lydia Marabella, Chief of Staff, Administration and Planning Officer, Airglades International Airport; and Amber Ritter, Chicago Department of Aviation.

“The linkages and synergies on this panel were tremendous – from Atlas’ partnership with Airlink to ensure humanitarian aid gets to communities in need to operating relief missions for Ukraine out of Chicago, to our robust operation in Miami,” said Sara. “We had so much to share about air cargo’s capabilities to deliver change.”

Katia De Loose, Director, Corporate Counsel, also attended the conference. Currently the Chair of Membership Development for IAWA, Katia has been an active IAWA member since 2017 and was instrumental in ensuring the representation of air cargo within the association. In 2019, Katia planned and moderated the first cargo panel, which has been included ever since.

“It’s been very fulfilling to be part of IAWA over the years,” said Katia. “I am proud to be part of the effort to ensure people understand the value of air cargo and I am also very proud of Atlas’ commitment to the advancement of women in aviation.”

Stepping forward to make a difference in the lives of others is at the heart of the Atlas Charity Golf Tournament.

Gary Wade shares remarks at dinner.

Gary Wade, Senior Vice President, Global Security, has hosted this tournament for more than two decades. And since its founding, many volunteers, colleagues, customers and vendors have returned year after year.

“This was a record-breaking year,” said Gary. “We raised more money than ever before for our charities: K9s For Warriors, Liberty City Optimist Club and the Fairfield County Food Bank, and within 24 hours of sending invitations, the event was sold out.”

“Each year, we hear from attendees how much they look forward to the tournament,” added Julia Crupi, Senior Manager, Legal Administration, who along with Kim Cerny, Senior Manager, Crew Compensation and Administration, volunteered at the tournament for the 20th year in a row. “It brings people together who are passionate and fully support the missions of our beneficiaries.”

This year’s event, attended by almost 250 people, was particularly meaningful as Michael Steen explained in his opening video message.

“The golf tournament is an important event to Atlas. It is taking on even more meaning this year, as we are honoring the lives of Adam Kokas and Wendy Wade. Tragedy struck the Atlas family and their families when these two fantastic individuals left us prematurely.”

In closing the speaker portion of the evening, George Kopcsay, General Counsel, shared, “If Adam were here tonight, he would say thank you. Thank you for coming today and for showing such compassion.”

Donations made in Adam and Wendy’s honor highlighted the tremendous legacies they both leave behind and will help fund K9s For Warriors’ mission to end veteran suicide.

“The support was overwhelming,” said Carly Braun, Development Manager for K9s For Warriors, one of the tournament’s anchor charities. “Through these gifts, you are helping to match veterans struggling with PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma with service dogs. Veterans who despite all of their darkness, want to be better husbands and dads, like Adam, and better mothers and daughters, like Wendy.”

She continued, “I’m honored to share that, at our K9s For Warriors campus in Ponte Vedra, Florida, we will be dedicating one of our Warrior Houses in Adam and Wendy’s honor. These apartments are where the journey begins for our Warriors and where they spend 21 days training with their service dogs, and working to heal. The Adam Kokas and Wendy Wade Warrior House will serve as a place for new beginnings – it will change lives and allow so many men and women to find the light.”

Warriors Zoe and Thomas, along with their dogs Atlas and Titan, were also in attendance and spoke about how these special canines are helping them reclaim their lives.

“I didn’t used to think I would make it to 24,” said Zoe. “And here I am today. I look forward to making it to 25 and seeing you at next year’s golf tournament.”

Similarly, Thomas shared that he truly believed that his wife and sons would be better off without him. “Thanks to your generosity, which helped me match with Titan, my wife has her husband back and my sons have their father back.”

Dedicated volunteers, from left to right: Samantha Patterson, Julia Crupi and Kim Cerny.

Like K9s For Warriors, The Liberty City Optimist Club of Floridalocated just five miles from our Miami Training Center, is focused on driving change. Dedicated to the underserved Miami community of Liberty City, the Club supports thousands of at-risk youth with after-school programming and academic tutoring, sports, meals and more.

“With Atlas’ help, we are able to provide a safe place for our local children,” said Tameika Wiley, Program Manager, Liberty City Optimist Club. “One that offers a small respite from the relentless challenges of poverty, hunger and gang violence. You can’t measure the kind of impact that has had in our community.”

“The Atlas team takes the Company’s commitment to enhance the lives of others very seriously,” said Gary. “They consistently show up for each other and for those whom they haven’t yet met but need our support. I am very proud of what we accomplished at this year’s event and am particularly grateful to our event planning team: Kim Cerny, Julia Crupi and Samantha Patterson. They continue to raise the bar year after year to flawlessly deliver a special event.”

Michael on stage with moderator Lauren Beyer.

“Innovating the Skies, Connecting the World” was the theme of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Aerospace Summit where Atlas Air Worldwide Chief Executive Officer Michael Steen joined Lauren Beyer, President of Cargo Airline Association, for a fireside chat highlighting air cargo’s role in shaping global commerce.

“Air cargo is at the center of the global economy and global supply chain,” Michael told the audience of government and industry leaders gathered from across the world to discuss the latest developments, trends, challenges and opportunities in the aviation and space industries.

Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19, Michael expressed how proud he was of the Atlas team, acknowledging the important role pilots, ground staff and partners around the world played in keeping the global supply chain moving—quite literally saving lives by delivering pharmaceuticals and other supplies where they were needed. He also offered his perspective on navigating disparate government policies and the globalization of trade.

“Our industry was disrupted, and we didn’t have harmonized pandemic-related regulations around the world,” Michael explained. “We learned how to be flexible and nimble to build strong partnerships and create solutions on the fly. Trade is truly global – there is no going back from that. We need to make sure that we support that in all the aspects to ensure the supply chains are running more and more smoothly and can withstand some disruption.”

Michael then addressed the dramatic shift in ecommerce post-pandemic, describing how supply chains around the world are changing to deliver direct to the end consumer. He said the industry will face capacity challenges as aging aircrafts are retired and cannot be readily replaced to meet new demand.

“We see now new companies popping up in fast fashion that are not selling through their stores but selling directly to us as consumers, and the majority of that is airfreight based, even for low-cost products, and that is a significant change from what we have seen in the past.”

To close out the session, Lauren asked Michael about the Open Skies Agreement. Michael shared that the U.S. government has been very successful in building open skies relations and bilateral agreements, which have benefitted the U.S. economy and companies like Atlas through increased trade and operational flexibility.

“Atlas was founded 31 years ago and that was the same year that the United States signed its first bilateral Open Skies Agreement,” said Michael. “We serve economies all over the world and that would not be possible to do, and also support our partners, express carriers and customers, if we did not have those bilateral agreements. I urge governments around the world to really uphold this to increase competition by having more of these agreements.”

Click here for The Chamber of Commerce’s event recap.

Atlas employees

Bricker and Captain Runnette after dipping their wheels into the Mississippi River to celebrate completing their 500+ mile journey! It’s tradition for cyclists to dip their rear wheel in the Missouri River before beginning their ride and dip their front wheel in the Mississippi River at the end.

Atlas’ Bricker Martin, Director of Defense and Government Programs, and 767 Captains Timothy Runnette and Rob Smith know that achieving a goal can sometimes mean going the extra mile – both on and off the job. They recently ventured outside the world of air cargo and onto the ground, joining more than 30,000 cyclists to pedal across Iowa for RAGBRAI 2023.

RAGBRAI, short for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is the oldest, largest and longest bike-touring event in the world. With seven overnight stops, the tour tracks over 500 miles from the western to eastern border of Iowa, beginning on July 23 in Sioux City and ending on July 29 in Davenport. Other towns the bikers trekked through included Storm Lake, Carroll, Ames, Des Moines, Tama-Toledo, and Coralville.

This year marked the event’s 50th anniversary and paid homage to the original routing in 1973. The celebration drew more cyclists than ever before, adorned in colorful jerseys as they journeyed their way through the blistering July heat.

For Bricker, this was his third time participating in this epic eight-day event, described as a “rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie and community,” but for Captains Runnette and Smith, a tour of this kind was all new territory.

bike tour

Tens of thousands of cyclists came out to make the trek.

“It’s a very unique cycling event and something that’s been on my list to do for a long time,” said Captain Runnette. “It’s a rolling circus across the entire state of Iowa. Every town you go to is basically like walking into a small state fair.”

“The highlight for me was being able to ride with people I knew – some I flew with in the Air Force and some I work with at Atlas,” said Bricker.

However, all of the fun certainly did not come without any physical challenges.

“There were a lot of long days with 100-mile plus rides,” said Bricker “It’s probably the most challenging bicycling that I’ve done.”

Captain Smith added, “It’s not just the distance that makes the days long – this was one of the hottest RAGBRAIs in history and the sixth hardest in terms of hill-climbing, over 16,500 feet!”

Atlas employee rides bike

Captain Rob Smith hits the road for RAGBRAI 2023.

In the end, Bricker and Captain Smith completed a total of 536 miles, and Captain Tim Runnette rode 510 miles. However, for each of them, the experience equated to much more than just distance.

“It’s the moments when you really have to dig deep that make you realize how much you’re capable of,” Captain Smith said.

Bricker agreed, “It wasn’t easy, but I think this experienced showed each of us that despite how hard it gets, the ability to persevere can help you overcome any challenge.”

Atlas Air announced that Alpine Air has joined its Pathway to Success Program for qualified pilots.

Alpine Air is one of America’s largest all-cargo regional on-demand contract airlines, including the transport of mail packages and other time-sensitive cargo for the United States Postal Service and the United Parcel Service.

“We have long respected Alpine Air for its strong reputation as a regional air cargo provider that also serves some of the same customers on our own roster,” said Patricia Goodwin-Peters, Senior Vice President, Human Resources of Atlas Air Worldwide. “Partnering with Alpine Air gives Atlas Air the opportunity to tap into a talent pipeline that includes some of the air cargo industry’s most experienced pilots.”

“Alpine Air Express is proud to partner with Atlas Air in their Pathway to Success Program,” said Bob Frisch, Chief Operating Officer of Alpine Air Express. “Atlas Air is a leader in cargo and charters with a large fleet across multiple aircraft platforms. This Pathway to Success Program provides a highly advantageous opportunity for Alpine Air pilots who wish to join an industry leading carrier such as Atlas Air.”

Pilot Pathway to Success Program

Potential candidates selected to take part in the Atlas Air Pathway to Success program will be granted an interview with Atlas Air. To be considered, candidates must meet these and other criteria:

  • Must be an employee in good-standing with Alpine Air
  • Must meet Atlas Air’s minimum qualifications
  • 18 months of service with Alpine (reduced to 12 months with prior military flight training experience)
  • Letter of recommendation from Alpine Air’s Chief Pilot
  • Submit an application to Atlas Air’s careers website
  • Complete an initial phone screening to collect data and schedule Atlas Air interview

Attracting, preparing, building and empowering the next-gen talent pipeline for Atlas is the ultimate investment in company-wide growth and innovation. According to Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook for 2022-2041, there is a need for 602,000 new pilots and 610,000 new maintenance technicians over the next 20 years.

Julia Cabrera in front of Atlas 747 aircraft N863GT.

The Company’s Internship Program is one of several early career pipeline initiatives designed to build deep and lasting campus relationships and to attract and retain talent aligned with both our near and long-term hiring needs.

“Interns are an important part of our talent strategy,” said Leisa Spears Snyder, Director of Workforce Development. “High school internships require Atlas Air team members to be engaged in the students’ learning plan and outcomes. Hiring mangers working with high school interns are committed to student experience and provide feedback throughout by ensuring projects are closely supervised.”

Julia Cabrera, a 2023 graduate of Rye High School in New York, recently finished a four-week internship at Atlas, where she had the opportunity to work with colleagues in Ground Ops, Systems and Development, Tech Ops/Engineering, Human Resources and Learning and Development. The program was designed to showcase the diversity of roles and career opportunities available

Julia and her manager LaVerne Bowman.

within the aviation industry.

“Our team was thrilled to have Julia spend part of her internship with us,” said LaVerne Bowman, Senior Manager Ground Ops Systems and Development. “I had the pleasure of watching her give a presentation about her experience with all the Atlas Air teams, and it was impressive. Her insights and observations demonstrated that she had gained a great deal of knowledge and skills during her time with us. This initiative was rewarding because it allowed us to contribute to the development of the next generation of professionals.”

When asked about the highlights of her experience, Julia said the “field trip” to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) was one of the top ones.

Julia gets an inside look at cargo on the plane.

“Visiting JFK and observing the real-world applications of the work of my Atlas colleagues was really exciting,” said Julia. “Everyone was so welcoming and more than happy to teach me about their roles!”

Julia will attend Purdue University (a school Atlas has partnered with as part of our University Pipeline Program) in the fall, where she will study engineering.

“Fresh minds fuel innovation,” said Leisa. “In addition to new perspectives, the younger generation brings an understanding and interest in emerging technologies, which can help businesses stay ahead of the curve. We do extraordinary things at Atlas Air that requires extraordinary talent. Investing in internships and student experiences ensures we are competitive and capturing top talent.”

K9s For Warriors

Titan with his Warrior Thomas.

Atlas’ commitment to making an impact in the lives of veterans is exemplified through our long-standing and proud partnership with K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs for military veterans suffering from PTSD or other service-related trauma.

In March, we announced that the Company’s second sponsored Service Dog, Titan, was matched with his warrior, Thomas, a U.S. Army veteran from Tennessee. At the time, the pair had just begun settling into their new life, enjoying fun outings and other activities together.

Thomas and Titan enjoying a day at the beach.

Today, we’re happy to report that after just three months together, Thomas and Titan are doing better than ever. From traveling around the world to spending quality time at home, the pair have built an immeasurable bond that’s given them both a fresh start.

Hear an update from Thomas on life with Titan:

“We have settled in at home and he [Titan] is doing very well with the adjustment. The two of us have been exploring the world together and we even recently returned from a cruise to the Bahamas! While we were in Florida, we also attended the Houston Astros final spring training game, where they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 24-1!   

Titan making friends with Thomas’ cows.

Among the things that Titan has become comfortable with at home are the family cows. He also tries to be friends with our cats, but they have not reciprocated those feelings. Luckily, they at least tolerate one another. 

As far as daily life is concerned, Titan has fit in well with our family dynamic and enjoys getting to go places – whether that’s to run errands or go explore a new place together. He does well with his commands and we have become a strong team. He does not enjoy it if I leave him, even to do something simple like take the trash out. He will stand at the window or door and worry about where I am. 

Atlas has blessed me with a huge gift!”

We are so pleased to hear that Thomas and Titan are doing well, and we look forward to learning more about their journey together ahead. Stay tuned for updates on the Company’s third Service Dog, Polar, who is currently in training and will be matched with his Warrior soon!

 

Atlas employee

Michelle Chabot

As Lead Security Engineer in IT, Michelle Chabot’s primary responsibilities include identifying, designing and implementing security systems for Atlas’ network infrastructure.

In other words, she works to ensure that everything – servers, network devices, applications, phones, even planes – that gets connected to the Company’s network can safely “talk” to each other.

And if you know Michelle, it probably isn’t surprising that she is focused on creating a safe space here at Atlas.

“It’s important to me that I use my voice for those who, for whatever reason, are too scared to use theirs,” explained Michelle. “I am driven to help make Atlas a place where every voice, no matter how low, is heard, where every employee, no matter the color of their skin, is seen, and every idea, regardless the gender of the brain that thought it, as it is now or at birth, is considered.”

While Michelle knew at a young age she was “attracted to girls,” she never thought that would be a big deal, or of interest to others. It wasn’t until she was 19 that she learned some people would in fact have a problem with who she loved.

“I was on the phone talking to my girlfriend,” she recalled. “Her mother was listening to our conversation and said some awful things.”

Michelle continued, “I was really confused and asked my mother why this woman would say such hateful things. My mother said, ‘Michelle, you’re gay. Some people aren’t going to like it, they might say mean things and you just have to be prepared for that.’”

Accepting this was complicated for Michelle.

“I didn’t want to wear this label and be judged for who I love,” said Michelle. “And that segued into my first feelings about Pride – it didn’t make sense to me that I had to say, ‘I’m proud to be gay.’”

That changed when Matthew Shepard died in 1998 for, as Michelle describes, “being gay in the wrong town.”

Atlas employee

Michelle with her wife of 30 years, Lori, and their dog Samson.

“Shortly after the tragedy of Matthew Shepard, I was horrified to learn about children who were killing themselves because their families didn’t love or accept them and their sexuality. This was the complete opposite of my experience. I didn’t realize until then that the unconditional love I had from my family wasn’t always the norm for others.”

The seeds of advocacy had been planted and Michelle’s resolve to help others feel welcome only got stronger after joining Atlas five years ago.

“IT Security is the most colorful place I’ve ever worked,” said Michelle. “Nate Maurer has a great eye for diversity and has built a team of people with truly different perspectives and experiences. As a result, I am 100% myself here at Atlas – no one has judged me for how I live my life.”

Michelle is one of the first members of Atlas’ DEI Employee Council and is part of the team that launched PRISM, the Company’s new LGBTQ+ ERG (Employee Resource Group) earlier this month. Participating in both has enabled Michelle to contribute to further building a culture of acceptance at Atlas.

“The biggest reason I do all of this is because I now know that some people don’t have a loud enough voice or they are afraid to make their voice be heard. I’m lucky enough that I have nothing to fear by saying out loud, I’m gay. Nothing can make me afraid of speaking my truth. And if speaking my truth makes it easier for my colleagues to feel welcome at Atlas, then I’m happy to keep doing it.”

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. AAPI includes cultures from the entire continent of Asia—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. We are grateful to Anna Nguyen sharing her story and heritage with us.

Atlas aircraft

Anna on a tour of an Atlas aircraft during a visit to our MIA station.

What is your current title and how long have you been at Atlas?

I am a Senior Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Specialist in Human Resources and I have been with Atlas for four years.

What are your primary responsibilities in your role at Atlas and what is your favorite part of the job?

In my role, I am primarily focused on supporting Ceridian, our Human Capital Management (HCM) platform, which manages and maintains employee information. My favorite part about my role is collaborating with my team and particularly, working together to overcome challenges as that experience enables us to develop and grow as a team, as well as individually. I also love that I’m constantly broadening my knowledge in my role.

What do you like most about working in aviation?

It is incredible to witness the positive impact Atlas has, all over the world. To be a small part of helping people and countries when they need it most, is simply amazing.

 How did you find Atlas?

I found Atlas when I was looking for another opportunity that provided career growth. I am so thankful for the incredible team here that continually encourages me and for the leaders who have provided the tools and support to help progress and advance my skills and knowledge in HRIS.

What does Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month mean to you? Why is it important?

As a child growing up in the United States, I was embarrassed because I was “different.” I have since grown to love and embrace my culture as it makes me who I uniquely am. As I reflect on AAPI Heritage Month, I think it’s an important opportunity for Asian and Pacific Islanders to  celebrate our roots and the contributions of our ancestors as well as share our cultures and traditions, so that others may learn from us.

What does having a diverse workforce mean to you?

A diverse workforce means having various types of representation. I believe having a diverse workforce is critical because it gives an organization the ability to be challenged by various perspectives that can ultimately drive towards better outcomes.

What would your colleagues be most surprised to learn about you?

I think my colleagues would be surprised to learn that in addition to English, I can speak Laotian and Vietnamese.

 

Earth Day Mountain Range

Photo taken by Atlas Air 747 First Officer Brian Ruby.

Each year, Earth Day is observed on April 22 to celebrate the achievements of the environmental movement and raise awareness for environmental protection. The theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Invest in Our Planet.”

For Atlas, Earth Day is not just one day, it’s a 365-day commitment. We are continuously striving to lower our aircraft emissions and improve our fuel efficiency in an effort to address climate change and promote a cleaner environment.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re reflecting on the actions we are taking to reduce our impact in the regions and communities where our business takes us.

Fleet Upgrades

In 2022, we initiated the integration of four new 747-8F and four new 777-200F, both of which will enable us to optimize resource consumption. The 747-8F offers 20% higher payload capacity and 16% lower fuel consumption than previous 747 models, while meeting or exceeding the strictest ICAO (United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization) emissions standards. It also reduces noise by approximately 30% compared with the previous generation of aircraft.

Improved Fuel Management

FuelPlus is our fuel administration and management software that enables us to better track global fuel purchases with the goal of enhancing our own system. We continue to enhance our fuel management processes, including the procurement of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), to drive efficiency in our operations and for our customers.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Investments

Currently, 13% of our vehicle fleet is comprised of hybrid and electric vehicles, with plans to increase this percentage to approximately 50% by 2030.

Additionally, we are transitioning other equipment, including forklifts, to hybrid and electric options where possible. 20% of our equipment is hybrid or electric, and we are exploring opportunities to increase that percentage as part of our efforts to replace older equipment with more modern alternatives. Our Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Los Angeles teams exclusively use electric forklifts to reduce carbon emissions in our ground operations.

Understanding where and how we can reduce our environmental impact is a priority embraced across our organization. From industry-leading fuel efficiency innovations to modernizing our fleet, Atlas will drive improvements for the planet we all share.

To learn more about our commitment to safeguarding the environment, check out our most recent ESG report here.

On February 23, Atlas welcomed youth leaders from Greater Cincinnati’s Regional Youth Leadership (RYL) to our Global Operations Center in CVG with the goal of enhancing their educational experience through community engagement. While at Atlas, the students visited our state-of-the-art Global Control Center, where they learned about a variety of career paths in aviation, tips for resume writing, and how to further develop their personal and professional skills.

Students from Regional Youth Leadership (RYL).

RYL is a seven-month leadership development program that uses the community as an extension of the classroom to educate students on opportunities across numerous industries. The visit to Atlas was part of RYL’s Life Success Skills session, where students learn about financial literacy education, career and personal development, college programs and pathways, and the college application/acceptance process. Students are also given opportunities to improve various professional skills such as networking, fostering a personal brand, goal setting, social capital and mastering the art of conversation.

Jamie Handley, Vice President of Express Operations, kicked off the event with a brief overview of Atlas’ business to the students. Andrea Davenport, Senior Manager of Pilot Support; Cheryl Kuebelbeck, Senior Manager of Dispatch Training; Dennis Gerber, Director of Dispatch and Chelsea Fisch, Pilot Support Agent, then led the students on a tour of the CVG facility and the GCC.

Additionally, the students sat in on a panel discussion where Atlas colleagues shared insights into aviation and STEM related careers as well as their personal career journeys. Participating on the panel was Lillian Dukes, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations; Leisa Spears-Snyder, Director of Workforce Development; Whitney Link, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition; Taylor Montgomery, 767 Captain; Shawn Montgomery, 767 First Officer; Graham Josephson, Reliability Engineer and Teslim Balogun, Line Training Scheduler.

While on a tour of CVG, the students snapped a shot with the Atlas Air Worldwide sign.

Atlas’ dedication to encouraging the next generation of aviation professionals could not come at a more critical time. With severe shortages across all aviation professions, working with organizations like RYL is essential to the long-term growth of the Company, and the aviation industry as whole.

In the 2022-2041 Pilot and Technician Outlook, Boeing reported that 602,000 new pilots, 610,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians and 899,000 new crew members will be needed to “fly and maintain the global commercial fleet over the next 20 years.”

Leisa Spears Snyder, Director, Workforce Development, notes the value in engaging with students at this phase in their education.

“Atlas’ intentional investment in pipeline development creates important opportunities for students to explore the industry and the numerous paths into aviation,” she said. “We are so excited to host programs like Regional Youth Leadership and to provide students the exposure needed to stimulate interest in a variety of roles across the industry.”

Tracy Duwel participates on the Employers in Aviation & Logistics Panel.

Atlas recently took part in the Educator’s Guide to Industry Event, hosted by the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in partnership with the Kentucky Chamber Foundation. Led by the CVG Strategic Workforce Collaborative, this event brought together educators, students and community partners on CVG’s campus to engage with aviation employers, learn about industry opportunities and discuss workforce development efforts. The day consisted of an aviation employer panel, an overview of CVG career opportunities, a recent graduate success panel and a presentation about the state of the workforce report.

The CVG Strategic Workforce Collaborative is a group of employers in and around the CVG airport who work to organize, promote and implement initiatives designed to welcome and retain diverse talent. Established as part of the Kentucky Chamber’s Talent Pipeline Management Initiative, the group comes together quarterly to discuss pressing issues and challenges related to workforce development in the area.

Thomas Martin speaks on the Recent Graduate Success Panel.

Tracy Duwel, Atlas Air’s Director of Human Resources, participated on the Employers in Aviation & Logistics Panel, providing an overview of Atlas and the career opportunities available to students. Additionally, Thomas Martin, Warehousing System Intern, participated in the Recent Graduate Success Panel, which focused on pathways to aviation in high school and how educators and employers can better communicate industry opportunities to aspiring students.

“It’s crucial for Atlas to participate in these events to build a strong talent pipeline,” said Tracy. “This was an opportunity for us, along with our partners and vendors, to educate local schools on the wide variety of career opportunities we have to offer and to build relationships in our community that will continue to foster growth across our organization.”

She added, “During Thomas’ panel, he gave attendees a firsthand look at his path to Atlas and everything he’s learned throughout his journey. As a result, many of the schools that participated are interested in continuing these discussions with their students.”

A sign in the lobby welcomed visitors to CVG.

On March 10, Atlas Air hosted local chapters of Women in Aviation at our Global Operations Center at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

Students and aviation professionals, ages seven to 81, heard from key leaders across the aviation, maintenance and supply chain industries on the many different career opportunities available to them.

This is the second year in a row Atlas has hosted Women in Aviation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation and aerospace career fields and interests.

The day included many networking opportunities for attendees, as well as tours of Atlas’ Global Control Center and the CVG campus. Guests visited the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Control Tower and the FEAM Hangar to learn more about Atlas Air’s collaboration and partnership with these organizations.

The “Power Panel” featuring: (L-R) Laverne Bowman, Althea Arvin, Nancy Escobar, Stacey Brown, Cheryl Kuebelbeck, Taylor Montgomery and Patricia Goodwin-Peters.

The day also included a “Power Panel” of female leaders, featuring Laverne Bowman, Senior Manager, Ground Operations, System and Development; Althea Arvin, Senior Director, Supply Chain Operations; Nancy Escobar, Manager of Stores, Material Management; Stacey Brown, Senior Director, Maintenance, Americas; Cheryl Kuebelbeck, Senior Manager, Dispatch Training; Taylor Montgomery, 767 Captain; Patricia Goodwin-Peters, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. The panelists spoke about their backgrounds, what led them to Atlas and how they navigate challenges in their field.

These events are part of the Company’s ongoing efforts to recruit and retain top talent and invest in our current and future workforce. Thank you to the local chapters that participated and we look forward to welcoming you back next year!

Atlas Air Worldwide Becomes Privately Held Company

PURCHASE, N.Y., March 17, 2023 – Atlas Air Worldwide (“Atlas,” “AAWW” or the “Company”), a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services, today announced that the investor group led by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo (NYSE: APO), together with investment affiliates of J.F. Lehman & Company (“J.F. Lehman”) and Hill City Capital (“Hill City”), has completed its previously announced acquisition of the Company.

The Company will continue to maintain its global presence, continue to operate under the Atlas Air Worldwide name and be led by President and Chief Executive Officer John Dietrich and the Company’s current executive leadership team.

“Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Atlas, and we are eager to begin our partnership with Apollo, J.F. Lehman and Hill City,” Mr. Dietrich said. “With the support and resources of our investor partners, we are well-positioned to achieve our growth objectives while continuing to serve the increasingly complex global supply chain. I want to thank the entire Atlas team, whose customer focus and dedication made this milestone possible. I look forward to the opportunities this next phase provides for our Company and our employees.”

On behalf of the investor group, Apollo Partners Antoine Munfakh and Jason Scheir, J.F. Lehman Partner Alex Harman and Hill City Capital Chief Investment Officer Chip Frazier said: “We are thrilled to partner with the talented Atlas team and build on the Company’s strong foundation as a leader in the airfreight industry. We have long admired Atlas’ reputation of providing high-quality service to its customers, as well as the financial and operational excellence the team has established. Atlas is poised for continued growth and expansion as it capitalizes on the long-term demand for global air cargo services.”

Pursuant to the terms of the transaction announced on August 4, 2022, the investor group acquired all of the outstanding shares of Atlas Air Worldwide stock. Atlas Air Worldwide shareholders are entitled to receive $102.50 in cash for each share of Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW) common stock owned. As a result of the transaction completion, Atlas Air Worldwide’s common stock no longer trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Atlas. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP served as Atlas’ legal advisor. Evercore acted as lead financial advisor to the investor group. Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and Mizuho Bank served as financial advisors to the investor group, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal advisor to Apollo and the investor group entity, and Jones Day provided legal advice to J.F. Lehman & Company and Hill City Capital.

About Atlas Air Worldwide

Atlas Air Worldwide is a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services. It is the parent company of Atlas Air, Inc. and Titan Aviation Holdings, Inc., and is the majority shareholder of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc. Our companies operate the world’s largest fleet of 747 freighter aircraft and provide customers the broadest array of Boeing 747, 777, 767 and 737 aircraft for domestic, regional and international cargo and passenger operations.

About Apollo

Apollo is a high-growth, global alternative asset manager. In the asset management business, Apollo seeks to provide its clients excess return at every point along the risk-reward spectrum from investment grade to private equity with a focus on three business strategies: yield, hybrid, and equity. For more than three decades, Apollo’s investing expertise across its fully integrated platform has served the financial return needs of its clients and provided businesses with innovative capital solutions for growth. Through Athene, Apollo’s retirement services business, it specializes in helping clients achieve financial security by providing a suite of retirement savings products and acting as a solutions provider to institutions. Apollo’s patient, creative, and knowledgeable approach to investing aligns its clients, businesses it invests in, its team members, and the communities it impacts, to expand opportunity and achieve positive outcomes. As of December 31, 2022, Apollo had approximately $548 billion of assets under management. To learn more, please visit www.apollo.com.

About J.F. Lehman & Company

J.F. Lehman & Company is a private equity investment firm focused on the aerospace, defense, maritime and environmental sectors. This investment strategy reflects the firm’s deep experience in and commitment to these sectors since the firm’s founding three decades ago. Headquartered in New York, NY, the firm currently has approximately $4 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2022. To learn more, please visit www.jflpartners.com.

About Hill City Capital

Hill City Capital is an investment firm led by Chief Investment Officer Chip Frazier. With investment research focused primarily in Industrial, Aerospace and Transportation, Hill City’s investment strategy is characterized by a long-duration investment horizon, a rigorous fundamental investment process and active engagement with management. Hill City Capital was founded in 2019, with its principal place of business is Boston, MA.

Forward-Looking Statements

This communication contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. AAWW intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and includes this statement for purposes of complying with these safe harbor provisions. Those statements are based on management’s beliefs, plans, expectations and assumptions, and on information currently available to management. Generally, the words “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “continue,” “believe,” “seek,” “project,” “estimate,” and similar expressions used in this communication that do not relate to historical facts are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this communication. They are and will be, as the case may be, subject to many risks, uncertainties and factors relating to the operations and business environments of AAWW and its subsidiaries that may cause the actual results of AAWW or its subsidiaries to be materially different from any future results, express or implied, in such forward-looking statements.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, (i) the risks discussed in AAWW’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 (the “Annual Report”) filed by AAWW with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and, in particular, the risk factors set forth under the headings “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in the Annual Report and (ii) other risk factors identified from time to time in other filings with the SEC. Filings with the SEC are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results.

Other factors and assumptions not identified above may also affect the forward-looking statements, and these other factors and assumptions may also cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed.

AAWW assumes no obligation to update such statements contained in this communication to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such estimates other than as required by law and expressly disclaims any obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statement to reflect future events or circumstances.

Contacts

Atlas Air Worldwide

Eric Camadeco
Director, Investor Relations
InvestorRelations@atlasair.com

Meghan Glynn
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
CorpCommunications@atlasair.com

Apollo on behalf of the investor group

Joanna Rose
Global Head of Corporate Communications
Apollo Global Management, Inc.
(212) 822-0491
Communications@apollo.com

Noah Gunn
Global Head of Investor Relations
Apollo Global Management, Inc.
(212) 822-0540
IR@apollo.com

J.F. Lehman & Company, LLC
Karina Perelmuter
Head of Marketing & Investor Relations
(212) 634-1197
IR@jflpartners.com

*   *   *

737 First Officer Vivian Cordero

What sparked your interest in aviation?

My family’s ties to the military are strong – my grandfather was in the Army and served in Vietnam and my stepfather, aunt and uncle were all Navy. My stepfather, was actually a Navy pilot and he was the one who took me to see the movie, Top Gun, which had a great impact on me. Growing up in a family that was mostly military inspired me to serve, while doing what I was passionate about (aviation).

International Women’s Day (IWD) is recognized annually on March 8 and is a global holiday celebrating the economic, political, cultural and social achievements of women. What does IWD mean to you? Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

It is important to acknowledge the many obstacles women have had to overcome in the last century to start making progress towards gender equality. Most people don’t know that when women won the right to vote in 1919, it took over 70 years to ratify. The Equal Rights Amendment, which is designed to provide legal rights for all regardless of sex, has yet to be ratified. As of today, it has only been ratified by 38 states. It wasn’t until 1973 when the first American woman was hired at a major U.S. airline, which coincidently, was the same year the U.S. Navy accepted the first class of six female naval aviators. Fast forward to this year’s Super Bowl, where the flyover was the first to consist of all female pilots. Progress has been made, but there is still much to be done.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, what does this mean to you?

To me, the term Embrace is synonymous with Acceptance. Women in the workplace have yet not been truly embraced, or accepted, as they are still not being afforded the same opportunities and benefits as our male counterparts. The saying goes “Acceptance is half the battle.”  While there have been scattered victories in the last centuries, equality for women has not yet been won.

That said, we have come a long way and women are fortunate that in certain industries there are set pays scales, such as pilots under contract and in the military. Unfortunately there are countless women in varying workplaces who do not enjoy those same circumstances.

What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career and what’s one lesson she taught you?

Vivian in the cockpit.

The woman who has had the most impact on me was my first female instructor in Navy Flight School. We were introduced about seven years earlier when I was in college, and she was in her first operational squadron flying the P-3C Orion. She mentored me through college and flight school and the timing worked out that she was the very person to teach me how to fly the P-3C. Her sense of purpose, empathy, and sheer passion is extremely unique and it is a great example for me – these are the qualities that I want to embrace as both a pilot and a leader. She leads by example, but with an extraordinary level of kindness and understanding that enables her to draw out the best in anyone with whom she interacts. We have become lifelong friends and she is like a sister to me. 

At Atlas, we are proud of our culture of inclusive diversity, and we are committed to making even further progress to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the workplace. How can we get more girls interested in aviation? 

In order to get more girls interested in aviation, it’s important to start interacting with them as early as the middle school through career days and scholarship opportunities that provide monetary assistance for flight training. The outreach must also include inner city schools, because often girls in these communities are not aware of aviation as a career possibility.

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message or piece of advice you want to send out to young women?

There are still so few of us in aviation. We have been underrepresented for a very long time. In the United States, women make up just under six percent of the pilot population. It is so important that women always remember to support one another and work together to continue the fight for full equality.

We will never be fully equal in the workplace until we have the same opportunities, legal rights, and benefits as men. We need to work together to achieve that.

Atlas’ Ongoing Support of K9s For Warriors Makes a Difference in the Lives of Military Veterans

Titan with his Warrior Thomas.

Atlas has a long-standing and proud partnership with K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. Last year, the Company’s first sponsored Service Dog, Atlas, graduated the program and was matched with his Warrior, U.S. Army Veteran, Zoe.

Thomas and Titan head out on a mini golf outing.

In January, we announced that the Company sponsored two more dogs, Titan and Polar, who were currently in training and would be matched with a Warrior upon graduation.

We are happy to report that Titan graduated from his training program on January 26 and has been matched with his Warrior, Thomas, a U.S. Army veteran from Tennessee.

Thomas served in the Army as a combat medic for 15 years and shared with us that although the job was incredibly rewarding, the exposure to unprocessed trauma led to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and a loss of self-worth.

Titan enjoying a day out with his Warrior.

He explained, “I applied to K9s For Warriors because I wasn’t sure what else could be done to help me. I tried medications, went to countless therapists, and had essentially withdrawn from living a normal life by giving up friendships and even sacrificing some of my relationships with my family. The final straw was the seemingly never-ending battle with suicidal ideation and feelings of worthlessness that led me to withdraw from those who I love the most, my wife and sons. I truly believed they would be better off without me.”

Thomas and Titan at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Although it’s only been a month since being matched, Titan and Thomas are well on their way to building a strong bond and have enjoyed outings that have included mini golf and the Jacksonville Zoo.

When asked how K9s For Warriors and Titan specifically have already made an impact, Thomas said “Titan has brought me an inner peace that I haven’t felt for some time. He has given me hope that I can get my life back.”

Gary Wade, Senior Vice President, Security attended Titan’s graduation and met both Thomas and Titan.

Thomas and Titan with Atlas’ Gary Wade.

“Thomas was so grateful to Atlas for sponsoring Titan,” said Gary. “I’m so glad I had a chance to meet them both and I look forward to seeing Thomas and Titan in September at the Atlas Air Worldwide Charity Golf Tournament.”

“K9s For Warriors is an incredible organization to work with, not only helping me get paired with a Service Dog, but also showing me what doors having a Service Dog can open back up for me,” said Thomas. “The opportunity to be paired with a Service Dog as a veteran who suffers from PTSD allows me to not only resume parts of my life that I had given up on but to also pursue happiness again. Since Titan has entered my life, I find myself laughing more, engaging with people that I did not previously engage with, and spending more time in public than I have in years.”

Thomas added, “I didn’t think that it was possible to build such a strong bond with Titan in such a short amount of time but I was wrong. He truly has given me a new lease on life and being part of the K9s For Warriors family not only gives me strength to be the person that I want to be but gives me hope that I can be the person that I once was before.”

Polar, Atlas’s third Service Dog, is currently in training and will be matched with his own Warrior later this year. Watch this space for more updates!

737 First Officer Danielle Jones

What sparked your interest in aviation?

When I was a kid I went on my first flight as a passenger for a family event. I was so amazed by the size of the aircraft and I couldn’t stop staring out of the window the entire time. The clouds were so beautiful, the turbulence was so much fun, and the crew was so nice. I just knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

International Women’s Day (IWD) is recognized annually on March 8 and is a global holiday celebrating the economic, political, cultural and social achievements of women. What does IWD mean to you? Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate and recognize all the achievements and sacrifices women have made over the years. It’s a chance for young ladies to see women in incredible positions doing incredible things to inspire and encourage them to reach their goals. There have been many inventions, scientific advancements, and record breaking achievements made by women that have often been hidden by history and kept out of educational systems. It’s amazing to be a part of the educating so others can have the same opportunities and know that it is possible to follow their dreams.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, what does this mean to you?

Being a young African American, Japanese woman, I have realized that I have the same opportunities as anyone else, regardless of my age, gender, and race. Equity means being fair and impartial and I am fortunate to have exactly that.

What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what’s one lesson she taught you?

My Grandmother came to the U.S. from Japan, learned English on her own, and raised five kids by herself. She always told us, it doesn’t matter what job you have, you always work hard and do your best because at the end of the day, you can look in the mirror and know that you did your best and you have your own self achievement. Knowing this helps get you through any hard work day. I have worked every job since then, including, farming, landscaping, child care, cashier, sale associate, flight instructing, and now airline pilot, with this in mind. With every one of those opportunities I’ve reached my achievements, got the raise or promotion, learned a new skill and went home feeling accomplished.

At Atlas, we are proud of our culture of inclusive diversity, and we are committed to making even further progress to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the workplace. How can we get more girls interested in aviation?

I think that it comes down to educating and advertising women in aviation to other women. In very basic terms, “normalizing” females as aviators. For a long time, most people thought of aviation as a male-dominated career. Showing people that there are many female aviators of all races and ages, allows room for growth and accepting that it is perfectly okay to be a female in aviation. Let’s make this the new normal.

Edgar Clinton

What is your current title and how long have you been at Atlas?

I am a Senior Maintenance Controller and I have been with Atlas for ten years.

What are your primary responsibilities in your role at Atlas and what is your favorite part of the job?

As a Maintenance Controller, my primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of Atlas’ aircraft. I provide assistance to the field technicians by way of reviewing technical manuals and parts, and with my knowledge of the functionality of aircraft systems. I also coordinate with other departments to ensure a safe, on-time departure for our aircraft. My favorite part of the job is being able to troubleshoot and resolve various issues with the aircraft system.

How did you find Atlas?

Edgar on-site at the Company’s CVG location.

I was referred to Atlas by Anastasio Mongalo, who is currently Manager of 747 Flight Maintenance. We’ve known each other for many years and have worked together at various aviation companies, dating back to 1996. Shortly after he started working at Atlas, he reached out to me. We always seem to follow each other!

How did you find your way into aviation? What prompted you to consider aviation as a career? 

During my first year of high school, I had the opportunity to explore several vocational programs. During this time, one of my instructors, Mr. Jackson, was working at Eastern Airlines. Mr. Jackson was also Black and he became both my mentor and advocate. He is largely responsible for my decision to pursue a career in aviation. After listening to him explain the ins and outs of the aviation industry, I was hooked. My decision was made and I’ve never looked back.

What does Black History Month mean to you? Why is it important?

To me, Black History Month is an important time to celebrate and acknowledge the significant contributions the Black community has made to our country. It’s an opportunity to recognize those who have come before us and paved the way. It’s also a time to celebrate those who are continuing to build on that legacy today, while acknowledging that there’s still progress to be made.

Does anyone or anything come to mind when you think of the contributions made by the Black community throughout American history?

The Black community has made many invaluable contributions to our country.  Since I have worked in aviation all of my adult life, I have immense respect for the Tuskegee Airmen, who fought for our country in World War II, despite the racism and prejudice they faced. They are considered to be the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces, and learning about them gave hope to many people like myself that we could also pursue a career in aviation.

Edgar poses in France on a family vacation.

Who do you consider to be the strong Black leaders of today who are currently making history, and how have they impacted you?

A strong Black leader that immediately comes to mind for me is Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. I also admire Victor Glover, the first Black astronaut to live on the International Space Station (ISS). While their stories may not have a direct impact on my life, their accomplishments inspire me and they will continue to inspire Black boys and girls for generations to come, teaching them that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

What is your advice to young Black professionals considering aviation as a career?

My advice to young Black professionals considering a career in aviation is to believe in yourself and to not be distracted by the naysayers. I would also tell them to not be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up. When I first began working in aviation, I  took what some would consider to be the lowliest of jobs, but I knew that I would not have to stay there forever. I used those opportunities to learn and perfect my craft, and now I hold a senior position.

What does having a diverse workforce mean to you?

To me, having a diverse workforce means seeing people of all races and ethnicities in various positions throughout a company. This representation is crucial for morale and to foster a sense of belonging among everyone. When I first started in the aviation industry, people of color were often only associated with certain types of roles. I am glad that is changing.

Touring the Flins Renault Factory in France.

What would your colleagues be most surprised to learn about you?

When I’m at work, I tend to be quite serious. Therefore, I think my colleagues would be most surprised to learn how much I enjoy relaxing at home, listening to music or having a good laugh while watching a comedy movie. Additionally, I have a passion for cars and their mechanics. I learned about basic aircraft mechanical theories when I was in high school. At night, I would put those theories into practice by assisting a local auto mechanic. This early experience helped me hone my technical abilities, which I use every day in my role at Atlas.