Record-Breaking Year for the 22nd Annual Atlas Charity Golf Tournament

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!

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.

Representatives from Boeing, Apex Logistics, Atlas and Kuehne+Nagel took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The final Queen of the Skies returned to Boeing last week to mark her official delivery to Apex Logistics, a Kuehne+Nagel company. This historic aircraft is the second 747-8F delivery as part of our long-term strategic partnership with Kuehne+Nagel.

“We were delighted to celebrate this great occasion with our valued partners at Apex Logistics and Kuehne+Nagel,” said John Dietrich. “The name of this aircraft – ‘Empower.’ – says it all. It reflects the strength of our partnership with Apex and Kuehne+Nagel, and affirms the bright future we will have together – as this Queen of the Skies begins serving customers for years to come.”

(L-R) Elsie Qian, Tony Song and Michael Steen.

Michael Steen added, “It was wonderful to gather not only with our partners across the Apex Logistics and Kuehne+Nagel teams, but with their customers as well, given the important role we play in their respective supply chains.”

He continued, “We look forward to providing high quality airfreight solutions for the customers of Apex Logistics and Kuehne+Nagel, as well as growing together responsibly for the future.”

Clockwise from top left: Captains Elena Robson, Greg Samson, Bob Ulrich and Tom Swanson piloted the plane from Paine Airfield to Anchorage.

The delivery ceremony included the traditional ribbon cutting and the presentation of keys – the final set of 747 keys to ever be produced – to Elsie Qian, CEO, Apex Americas and Tony Song, Group CEO, Apex Logistics.

The very next day at 9:00 a.m. local time, the final 747 departed for her first revenue flight. Atlas Air’s four most senior pilots – Captains Elena Robson, Greg Samson, Bob Ulrich and Tom Swanson – flew the plane from Paine Airfield to Anchorage. The father and son team of Erik Alba, Senior Manager, Standards and Procedures, and Miguel Alba, Load Control Agent, provided Ground Ops support.

Miguel Alba and Erik Alba.

Atlas Air and Turkish Airlines, along with the Turkish Embassy, partner to carry tons of relief supplies to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria on an Atlas Air 747-8F that departed Washington Dulles International Airport.

Last week, Atlas Air announced that a 747-8F departed from Washington Dulles International Airport carrying tons of humanitarian and relief supplies for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.

The two companies, along with the Turkish Embassy, are working together to expedite this relief mission to support the critical needs of thousands of people impacted by this natural disaster. Atlas Air is providing the aircraft and crew and Turkish Airlines is collecting clothes, shoes, medical supplies and other essentials.

“Through our partnership with Turkish Airlines, we are honored to contribute air freight capacity to deliver critical supplies to this region where they are needed the most,” said John Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide. “We are moved by the heroic work of first responders and humanitarian organizations to provide relief to the communities impacted by this natural disaster.  On behalf of our 5,000 Atlas employees around the world, we are grateful for this opportunity to show our support.”

Every year, Atlas ships over five million kilos of flowers, making the journey from farms to consumers.

Today is Valentine’s Day in the U.S. and many other countries around the world. Chances are, if you sent or received a bouquet today, those flowers were flown in from Colombia and Ecuador and likely on an Atlas Air Boeing 747 freighter. In advance of the holiday, Atlas Air imported 5,370,146 kilos of fresh cut flowers to Miami International Airport (MIA) on 74 flights – 40 flights from El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Colombia and 34 flights from Mariscal Sucre de Quito International Airport (UIO) in Ecuador between January 20 and February 8. All on the B747F.

Since MIA ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of fresh cut flowers, Atlas expanded the cooler facility there by an additional 20,000 square feet for a total of 76,000 square feet of cooler capacity to meet the demand. With this expansion, Atlas Air can now simultaneously handle up to four B747F flights of flowers. The cooler in MIA now has a total of 26 doors to deliver flowers to our customers, and a total of 6 AOA (Ramp doors) to bring Unit Loading Devices (ULDs) with flowers directly to the cooler from the airplane.

Lucas Vargas, MIA Station Manager, notes how the expansion has benefitted Atlas’ operation, and the tremendous team effort that made it possible.

Pallets of fresh flowers are loaded onto an Atlas B747F at MIA.

“In previous years, our main constraint was space, but this expansion has enabled us to handle the high volume of flowers that we move,” said Lucas. “This means a better experience for our customers and upholds our commitment to exceptional customer service.

He continued, “It was really a huge team effort across Ground Ops, Flight Ops and Tech Ops, and our vendor, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS). Once we launched the expansion, everyone came together to brainstorm how we can handle the freight better, how we can improve the process flow and/or mitigate any issues. It’s already a strong season, but for me, it’s been successful because everyone came together to find the best solutions for our customers.”

Check out this video taken at Miami International Airport (MIA).

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

I am Senior Manager, Accounts Payable in Corporate Accounting and I have been with Atlas for 16 years.

Elaine Gardner.

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

I support the Company’s finance and accounting operational functions. My main responsibilities are, but not limited to, managing our supplier invoice and payment processing, reporting, auditing as well as ensuring we are in compliance with the Company’s policies. My favorite part of the job is exploring ways to optimize our processes, reduce inefficiencies, and ensure our suppliers are having a positive experience with the different options provided to enhance the invoice and payment process. I also enjoy finding ways to further strengthen the talent of my team, which I believe is one of the attributes as a great leader.

How did you find Atlas? What interested you most about working for the Company?

A recruiter introduced me to Atlas and during the interview process, interestingly; I learned that Atlas was implementing an e-invoice system, which I was previously exploring. I recognized that Atlas would be a great opportunity for me to grow professionally and make a difference in terms of improving the accounting processes, while advancing my career.

What do you like most about working in aviation?

I think that aviation offers a more fast-paced environment than other industries, and I appreciate that. There is always something different and exciting to experience! I have also enjoyed learning about the industry – there are so many different roles involved in delivering for our customers and moving cargo throughout the world.

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

Black History Month is so important because it calls attention to, and celebrates, the many contributions African American men and women have made to the United States. These contributions must be taught, understood and embraced by all. It is important to recognize that the fabric of this country has been made by all –and Black Americans have played a major role; Black history is not a month, it is centuries of achievement against adversity.

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

Many people were visionaries and paved the way for the Black community. In terms of historic figures, I immediately think of Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, who were so brave and used their voice to take a stand and make a difference. There are also a number of athletes, such as Muhammed Ali, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods, who I think should be commended for the barriers they overcame to triumph in their sports. When you also think of the contributions my community made, you cannot deny how sports have been influenced by the plethora of our African American athletes. I take such inspiration from all of them.

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

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States. She is an attorney, an author, a mother and a wife. She is an incredible role model and has done so much to support military families, encourage healthy eating and living for children and families and promote higher education. Michelle Obama is making a difference in so many ways, yet she is still so relatable. She really gives me hope and makes me proud.

What is your advice to young Black professionals who are considering their career options?

Do your research! Make sure whatever career path you choose, it is enjoyable, and rewarding. It is not always about the money, it is about being passionate about what you are doing. I also think it is important to pursue career path that will give you an opportunity to make a positive difference.

What does having a diverse workforce mean to you?

A truly diverse workforce is one where every voice is heard and everyone is recognized, understood, and appreciated for their contributions. I think Verna Myers’ quote sums it up: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

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

I think my colleagues would be surprised to learn that I have a twin brother. My personality can be described as an ambivert.