Trans States Mechanics Form Local Floor Hockey Team

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The type of hockey that most of us are familiar with has few non-negotiable requirements.  Ice, for one, and skates.  And knowing how to skate is usually pretty helpful.  However, a group of Trans States mechanics has discovered that you don’t have to know how to skate, or even own a pair of ice skates, to play hockey.  They play floor hockey as part of a local St. Louis floor hockey league.

While floor hockey players use sticks to get a puck into a net guarded by a goalie, that’s where the similarity to ice hockey ends.  There’s no ice in sight in floor hockey – teams typically play in gymnasiums – and floor hockey players simply wear shoes and run around, rather than using ice skates.

Heavy Check Supervisor Mark Hicks got the idea to start the team after seeing a video for St. Louis Floor Hockey on the internet.  Our maintenance hangar is in St. Louis, home of the Blues professional hockey team, and Mark knew that a lot of mechanics were interested in hockey, even if they’d never played before.  Mark first pitched the idea of a team to Line Lead Mechanic Levi Mcquery, who initially thought that he was too old for floor hockey.  However, once he watched the video, which explained that most of the teams were comprised of college students or co-workers, and that some of the players had never even played hockey before, he was sold.  Before long, Mark had rounded up a team of 10 mechanics, all from the St. Louis hangar.

Half of the team had never even touched a hockey stick before, let alone played on a team. “One mechanic had never played hockey before in his life,” says Mark, “and he still tried it out, and loved it.”  But even with so many hockey newbies, Line  Inspector Bill Reese is confident that their team is making progress, remarking, “I think we get better every game!”

“I would never bet on us, though,” chimes in Levi, laughing, “and I’m always making stupid bets on professional ice hockey, like having to shave ‘Red Wings’ in the back of my head.”

The league’s no checking rules means that floor hockey isn’t nearly as physical as ice hockey, which Mark points out is great for people who have day jobs.  “We can’t exactly get too physical at a night game when we all have work the next day.”

The team has already experienced some memorable plays. “I got us our first ever penalty,” laughs Bill, “and I still don’t agree with it.

Other mechanics from the hangar don’t play, but still come out to watch.  And if they want to try it for themselves before committing to a team, league rules make it easy for them to give it a shot and see how they like it  – anyone can play a single game as a substitute for only $10.

Feel up to the challenge?  Check out the St. Louis Floor Hockey website to get started.

Retiring Accounts Payable Supervisor Looks Back at her Years with Trans States

If a group of people was asked, “What jobs are most important to airline operations?”, the top three responses would probably include pilots, mechanics and flight attendants.  However, there’s a lot more to airline operations than what you see at the airport or on a flight.  Most people don’t realize that our planes wouldn’t fly without the efforts of another important department – Accounting.

Accounting pays the bills, for everything ranging from building utilities and aircraft parts, to fuel expenses and uniforms.  After 26 years on the job, retiring Accounts Payable Supervisor Terry Boswell knows the importance of ensuring that vendors are paid in a timely manner.  For example, if fuel invoices go unpaid, fuelers could refuse to service our aircraft, which could lead to a delay or even a cancellation.  Unpaid bills could delay shipments of important aircraft parts, which could lead to cancelled flights.

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Retiring Accounts Payable Supervisor Terry Boswell

“Without making sure that bills are paid on time, the process of keeping the airline running on time, let alone at all, could be hindered,” Terry explains.  “You can’t delay in making sure that you bring in needed aircraft parts or engine rents.”

Controller Bob Varwig agrees.  “To run an efficient airline, you have to ensure the quick flow of parts and services.  Terry understands that Accounts Payable has to maintain good relationships with our vendors to make that happen.”

Change is the only constant in the airline industry, and Terry has seen a lot of changes in her 25+ years with the company, including our transition from turbo prop aircraft to an all jet fleet in the 1990s, as well as a period of tremendous growth from 2014 t0 2016 that added 52 additional aircraft to our fleet.  With change comes new challenges for our accountants – new aircraft types mean new vendors, and an expanded fleet means more bills to pay – but Terry says that change is easy with the right team.

“I’ve had lots of fun with my coworkers, and we’ve shared many good times, even when tackling new challenges.  Adapting to something new can be stressful, but it’s much easier when you enjoy the company of those around you.”

Terry says that her 25 years at Trans States have flown by, remarking, “I have always enjoyed working here.  Time really goes fast when you’re in a good environment surrounded by great people.”

With retirement on the horizon, Terry is looking forward to traveling around the country and visiting all the National Parks with her husband.  We are grateful for her years of service, and wish her all the best!

Trans States VP of Safety Marks 70th Birthday by Flying 70th Aircraft Type

Trans States Airlines Vice President of Safety Craig Tompkins recently accomplished a pretty lofty goal that he’d set for himself in 2014 – to fly 70 different aircraft before his 70th birthday.  Craig reached his milestone right on time, flying aircraft type #70, a Cessna 170 on floats, just before his 70th birthday in October.

Craig’s love of aviation started over 50 years ago, when he was still in high school and already a fixture at his local airport.  “I had my private pilot’s license,” he remarks, “but my parents wouldn’t let me get my driver’s license until I graduated high school. So I could fly planes, but I had to bum a ride from somebody else to get to the airport.”  After graduating from high school, Craig enlisted in the Army and became an air traffic controller, and later spent 15 years flying charters and air taxis, as well as flight instructing.

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Trans States Airlines Vice President of Safety Craig Tompkins, in the cockpit of a Cessna 170 seaplane

Craig’s commercial airline career began in 1977, when he was hired by Command Airways, one of the very first regional airlines.  Command Airways is historically significant because it was one of the first three American Connection carriers and was the first airline in the United States to fly the ATR 42. Before bringing the ATR to market, Command sent a group of pilots, including Craig, to Toulouse, France, to train at the actual ATR factory, making Craig one of the first pilots in the U.S. to fly the aircraft.

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Craig spent 11 years at Command, eventually becoming the Director of Flight Training and running its entire ATR operation.  In 1988, Resort Air (now Trans States Airlines) purchased the ATR portion of Command’s operation, and Craig has been with Trans States family of airlines ever since, holding positions including Director of Flight Ops, Director of Safety, and Vice President of Safety.

In 2013, Craig was a recipient of the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which recognizes pilots “who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years.”  Prior to receiving the award, Craig had to figure out just how many different aircraft he had flown, and realized that he was 67 years old and had flown 67 different aircraft.  It was then that his goal of flying 70 different aircraft in 70 years was born.  “When I saw that, I just wanted to make the numbers match up – 70 in 70,” he explains.

Here are just a few of the planes that Craig has flown over the years:

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To most people, flying 70 different aircraft types before your 70th birthday would be a pretty big deal, but Craig is nonchalant about it, remarking, “My stepbrother has probably flown over 100 aircraft types at this point.”  Of all the planes he has flown, Craig’s favorites are the DC-3 and the Twin Otter.  Craig says that he doesn’t have any immediate plans to top his recent feat of 70 in 70 but there are several seaplanes that he’d like to fly, so he’s not ruling it out.  “My wife tells me that I should shoot for flying 80 planes by the time I’m 80, but maybe I’ll start with flying 75 aircraft by the time that I’m 75 years old.”

Anyone who knows Craig has no doubt that he’ll do both.

Maintenance Controllers Critical Component of Operational Success

At any given moment, there are hundreds of Trans States Airlines employees working behind the scenes to ensure the safe operation of our airline. Unlike more visible front-line employees, like pilots or flight attendants, our passengers will never meet these employees or have the opportunity to thank them for their efforts.  But every day, these un-sung heroes are working tirelessly to make sure that our passengers get to their destinations safely.  One of these individuals is Maintenance Control Supervisor Chris Hoover.

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Maintenance Control Supervisor Chris Hoover

Maintenance Controllers are licensed A & P mechanics who troubleshoot aircraft mechanical issues for pilots flying the line and mechanics at out stations.  If a pilot encounters a mechanical issue with an aircraft, their first call is to Maintenance Control. Often, Maintenance Control can walk the pilot through the issue over the phone, which frees up out-station mechanics for more involved repairs.  If it’s a more complicated problem, Maintenance Control will diagnose the likely source of the problem and recommended a course of action to local mechanics.

“Maintenance Controllers are critical to on-time performance, ” said Trans States Airlines Director of Maintenance, Matt Wright.  “In addition to assisting and providing detailed information to our technicians in the field, the Maintenance Control group is responsible for all deferred maintenance activity, scheduling short-term preventative maintenance, monitoring and repair of repeat maintenance activity, troubleshooting and repair of outstation aircraft, and a host of other less visible maintenance activities. The decisions made by this group don’t just affect a single aircraft but the entire fleet.”

Unlike our hangar and line mechanics, who are outside fixing aircraft in the snow, the heat, and everything in between, our Maintenance Controllers are part of Systems Operations Control (SOC) in our St. Louis headquarters building.  That’s because the other departments in the SOC, including Crew  Scheduling and Dispatch, rely on information from Maintenance Control to make important decisions that affect the operation. For example, if a flight is delayed due to a maintenance issue, Maintenance Control communicates the estimated back in service time to Crew Scheduling and Dispatch so that the departure can be re-scheduled and re-crewed, if necessary.

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Chris started working for Trans States as a licensed A & P mechanic right out of college, and spent his first three years with the company working in the St. Louis hangar facility.  He then spent two years as a mechanic on the flight line before making the move to Maintenance Control.  He says that a few different factors, including pay and the opportunity to work indoors, led him to made the move to Maintenance Control.

“I thought about staying on the line, but I was ready for a change, and there was a pay increase with the Maintenance Controller position,” Chris remarked.  “Plus, I get to do the same work as a mechanic in the field, but I’m away from the elements, which is nice.” Chris takes a lot of pride in his position and says that the Trans States Maintenance Control group is, “top-notch and knowledgeable, and has a real understanding of the Embraer 145 aircraft.”

Vice President of Tech Ops, Rob Truax, agrees.  “Our Maintenance Control team represents some of our very best maintenance talent.  You really have to be at the top of your game, professionally, to work in Maintenance Control.”

If you’re a licensed and experienced A & P mechanic and are looking for a new challenge, there’s never been a better time to explore career opportunities in Maintenance Control.  In fact, Trans States is currently offering a $12,000 retention bonus to all current and new hire Maintenance Controllers.  To learn more or apply online, please click here.

Former Marine Turned Aircraft Mechanic and College Student: Meet Brandi Rector

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Trans States Airlines Aircraft Mechanic Brandi Rector

Before becoming a aircraft mechanic for Trans States Airlines, Brandi Rector spent six years in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter aerial gunner and mechanic.  Now she dedicates her time to ensuring that our aircraft operate safely and efficiently, all while attending full-time classes at Saint Louis University.

Brandi didn’t originally plan on an airline job when leaving the military.  After her last deployment, Brandi returned home to St. Louis with plans to become a police officer. However, she soon found herself back in aviation after being hired by helicopter manufacturing company Sikorsky. “It was a desk job,” explains Brandi, “and after coming home from my deployment, sitting at a desk all day was making me stir crazy.  Then I learned about Saint Louis University’s helicopter pilot program.”

Saint Louis University, in partnership with Midwest Helicopter, offers a helicopter training program that can be paired with any undergraduate degree. Brandi began the program in the fall of 2015, and is set to graduate in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics, with a focus in Aviation Management.  When she graduates, she will also be an FAA-certified helicopter pilot, with private, commercial, instructor and  instrument ratings.

While Brandi receives much of her academic funding through the G.I. Bill, it doesn’t cover everything.  Luckily, Brandi had earned her Airframe & PowerPlant license while in the military, which enabled her to  supplement her G.I. funding by becoming a Trans States Airlines aircraft mechanic. There’s no danger of Brandi going stir crazy from sitting behind a desk at this job – she’s up and moving throughout her entire shift. As a heavy check mechanic, Brandi performs scheduled inspections on aircraft once they reach a certain number of hours.  “We perform top-to-bottom aircraft checks and inspections on everything from oxygen masks and engine components, to flight control cables and hydraulic systems,” she explains.  “We check everything to make sure the aircraft continues to stay safe for flight.”

Brandi enjoys the variety that her job brings.  “In the Marines, I worked strictly on engines and gear boxes,” she said.  “But at Trans Sates, I get to work on everything.”  She went on to remark, “I’ve got to say, I really enjoy my job.  Everyone that I work with is incredibly nice, friendly, and helpful.”

Brandi is busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.  “It’s tough,” she says, “but it doesn’t matter if I don’t have much free time, because I love what I do. I feel rewarded knowing that all the work that I do provides safety for so many people who travel, and I feel accomplished when I make straight-A’s after studying so much and so hard.” Brandi also emphasizes the importance of having a strong support system.  “My dad provided a lot of encouragement that helped me when I needed it. So, no matter what you decide to do, make sure you have the support you need.”

When she’s not working or studying, Brandi has several animals that she enjoys taking care of. “I’m working on building a barn right now,” she explains, “which will be for my horse. I also have two huskies, and I recently rescued a kitten.”  She also became a member of Women With Wings, the St. Louis chapter of Women in Aviation, in April. “It’s a great group for networking,” she says,” and they’re starting to do a lot more charity events.  After I receive my instructor rating, I’ll hopefully be able to pilot some charity flights for them, as well as for the Whirly-Girls, an association of women helicopter pilots.”

We’re proud that Brandi has chosen to share her talents with us, and we couldn’t be more impressed by everything that she’s accomplished.  If you’ve got an A & P license and a desk job isn’t for you, give us a call.  We offer skilled maintenance professionals like Brandi top-tier pay, and we pay extra for experience.  We’d love to talk to you about everything our company has to offer.  Click  here to learn more.

Honoring Captain Tim Gerrels

Trans States Airlines has a long and storied history, all thanks to our great family of airline professionals. Captain Tim Gerrels recently completed his final flight before reaching his retirement, after flying with Trans States for over three decades! During that time, Captain Gerrels has racked up quite a few flight hours, along with impressive knowledge. In fact, Tim was the #1 pilot on the seniority list at Trans States Airlines for seventeen years.

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Trans States Airlines Captain Tim Gerrels poses with his First Officer after his final flight.

According to Tim, he didn’t originally consider flying as a career. Tim received a degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota, through their Agricultural Aviation program. “There weren’t really any jobs available right after I got out of school,” he explains, “But, after I finished school, I continued flying.”

 

After completing school, Tim began flying in Greely, CO and then Tulsa, OK, then became an instructor in Minnesota. Afterwards, Tim became a Fixed Based Operator in Vernal, UT, where he did charter work with oil companies and the Bureau of Land Management. Later on, he taught at Saint Louis University’s Parks College, before eventually landing a job flying Cessna 402 aircraft out of Jefferson City, MO for a company called TRANS-MO Airlines.

In March of 1984, Tim was offered a position flying for Trans States Airlines, where he spent more than three decades. “I originally intended to stay only three to five years,” Tim elaborates, “but I was having too much fun flying to leave.” Tim began flying ATR aircraft in 1990, and the Embraer 145 in 2000. His favorite plane to fly was the Metroliner.

Tim’s favorite part of his job has always been flying into small towns, “I was never a big city boy. I don’t like flying into big cities. When I first started flying with Trans States, St. Louis was the biggest town that we would fly into, and that was just fine by me.” Tim has also seen a change in his St. Louis domicile, “St. Louis used to be a lot busier, and that’s no longer the case. We don’t have those two to three-hour delays that we used to have when Lambert Airport was a hub for Trans World Airlines.”

With experience comes wisdom, and Tim has some advice for the next generation of pilots. Tim emphasized the importance of a pilot doing his or her research before they go on their first check ride. “Always make sure that you do everything that you have to do, and get that down early. This way, you can make sure that you avoid any problems in the future.”

Tim says that landing his final flight with Trans States Airlines on June 10, 2016 was the best day of his life. “I don’t consider my best moments to be ‘proud’ moments,” Tim admits, “because I’m just not that kind of a guy. But I felt so appreciated when I came into the terminal, and there were people waiting to thank and congratulate me. I felt that I always got along with management, because it was always important to me to simply do my job, and make sure that it got done right. So, it was great to see that that made an impact.”

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Captain Tim Gerrels’ final flight receiving a ceremonial water cannon salute.

Tim plans on spending his retirement continuing to work on his farm, and spending time with his family. He will also be doing some traveling, as well. “We’ll be going to Hawaii next February,” he added, “and, we will renting a guide service to do some lake trout fishing in Lake Superior.” Tim revealed that he’s looking forward to this fishing trip again, after enjoying it the first time.

But if you think that Tim will no longer be flying during his retirement, think again. Tim also said that he will continue flying in a small airplane, in order to help his friends monitor their crops. “Now, he best part is,” Tim continued, “I only have to fly on my terms. Which means, only when the weather is nice.” Tim admits that it has already been an adjustment not having to check the weather when he wakes up every morning. “Sometimes I catch myself doing it, but then I remember that if I don’t like the forecast, then I don’t have to fly.”

Trans States Airlines is so honored and thankful to have had Captain Tim Gerrels fly for us for the past thirty plus years! Thank you so much for all you’ve done, Captain Gerrels! Enjoy your retirement!

Growing Number of Employee Referrals Underscore Pilot Opportunities at Trans States

At Trans States Airlines, we love employee referrals. No one can better speak to the Trans States experience than those who have experienced it first-hand—our employees. Employee referrals tell us that we’re doing something right and that our employees are happy. And employee referrals are exactly what brought new hire pilots Casie Schaffer, Brooke Willis, and Monique Gagnon to Trans States.

Trans States Airlines' newest pilots, all hired by employee referrals (from L to R): Brooke Willis, Monique Gagnon, Casie Schaffer.
Trans States Airlines’ newest pilots, all hired by employee referrals (from L to R): Brooke Willis, Monique Gagnon, Casie Schaffer.

“Trans States was highly recommended to me by my friends, who were Trans States pilots,” says Casie, a recent flight instructor making the transition to commercial aviation. “Plus, Trans States recruiters were continuously visible on campus when I was in college, so it’s always been on my radar.” After flight instructing, which is typically done individually, Casie says that she’s looking forward to being part of a flight crew, remarking, “Being part of a team effort is important to me.” When asked for her first impressions of Trans States, Casie enthused, “I love the efficiency of the training department—and I especially enjoy my instructor’s enthusiastic teaching style!”

Monique, another recent flight instructor, also arrived at Trans States by way of a recommendation. “Some friends recommended Trans States to me, and I trusted their judgment. During my first interview, I was immediately impressed by the recruiter’s sincerity and helpfulness. I knew right away that applying with Trans States had been the right decision.”

In addition to the high pay and fast Captain upgrades that Trans States offers, Monique says that an additional factor that brought her to Trans States is the opportunity to be one of the first pilots in the world to fly the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). Trans States is the domestic launch customer for the MRJ and expects to begin taking deliveries of the highly anticipated new aircraft in the second quarter of 2018. “Being one of the first to fly a new aircraft type is any pilot’s dream,” she said. “I feel like I got here at just the right time.”

“I didn’t even bother looking at any airlines other than Trans States,” says new hire Brooke, who has flown for two 121 carriers, as well as a 135 operator. After a number of years as a pilot, Brooke took a break from the flight deck to start a family and pursue an advanced degree. Later, when she was looking to return to flying, friends recommended Trans States. “I really missed the camaraderie among crew members, and even interactions with passengers,” Brooke said. “I’m excited to be back!”

The airline isn’t the only one benefiting from these awesome referrals—Trans States makes sure that employees who submit quality nominations are well compensated. Employees can earn $1,500 for each pilot candidate they recommend that is hired and completes training. Additionally, there’s no limit to the number of recommendations that someone can submit, which means that employees who know a lot of pilots have the opportunity to earn a lot of extra money!

Welcome to the family, Casie, Monique, and Brooke! And a big thanks to the employees who brought you here!

To learn more about our incredible pilot career opportunities, please click here.

Chicago Crew Base Welcomes New Inflight Supervisor

 

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Chicago Inflight Supervisor, Hernane Diniz

Trans States employees are a talented and accomplished bunch, and Hernane Diniz, the new Inflight Supervisor at our Chicago crew base, is no exception.  An industry veteran with a diverse array of aviation experience, Hernane moved from Brazil to the United States when he was 18 to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot.  He earned his Private Pilot License from American Flyers Flight School, and went on to study Aviation Management and Safety at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  After finishing school, he became an International Customer Service Agent for United Airlines in Chicago, gaining valuable experience in airline operations.

In 2014, Hernane decided to further diversify his aviation resume by becoming a Flight Attendant.  He interviewed with several airlines, but chose to join Trans States, a decision that he is quite proud of.  Hernane has fond memories of the time he spent as a Chicago-based Flight Attendant, and says that it was a year full of fun days on airport reserve, trips to new places and great laughs with his crews.

After a year as a Flight Attendant, Hernane was selected as the Inflight Supervisor for the Chciago crew base.  In his new role, Hernane supervises the Flight Attendants based out of the Chicago base and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Inflight department, as well as for monitoring Inflight operational performance.  Of his new position, Hernane says, “I feel humbled and thankful for the opportunity Trans States Airlines has given me. I am looking forward to providing guidance and support to my co-workers, and as a team, delivering excellent service to our customers, while keeping safety as our number one priority.”

At Trans States, we want to give our employees as many opportunities as possible to grow their careers, and we promote from within whenever we can.  Hernane’s promotion from Flight Attendant to Supervisor is a perfect example of our commitment to our employees’ professional advancement.  We want to make sure that Trans States a great place for them to build careers and call home!

Warren Crotty Celebrates 20 Years with Trans States

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Congratulations to Warren Crotty, who celebrated his 20 year anniversary with Trans States last Tuesday!

Warren has worn many hats during his years with the company.  He was hired in 1995 as Manager of Revenue Management, with responsibilities including managing the Trans World Express system (20+ markets), the American Connection system, and four analysts.  He later oversaw a successful implementation of PROS Revenue Management system software.

His current responsibilities include forecasting passengers and revenue, managing the company’s charter operation, and providing assistance to Crew Payroll.  He is also the Project Manager for the Trans States Airlines Expansion Project.  It takes a lot of coordination between various departments to take on 52 additional aircraft, and Warren is behind the scenes, facilitating communication and making sure that everything runs smoothly.

Of his years at Trans States, Warren says,

The last 20 years have been a pleasure, and it’s been a great experience to work alongside so many talented professionals! I am grateful to be part of the team that has grown our small regional airline into a large one, and look forward to more exciting times for our company.  As far as I’m concerned, the Trans States family of airlines and its employees are the best!

Before joining the Trans States team, Warren graduated from Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach with a degree in Aviation Business Administration.  After graduating, Warren worked for Trans World Airlines for six years, holding multiple positions, including Flight Deck Crew Scheduler, Aircraft Maintenance Router, Analyst, and Senior Analyst Bulk Pricing.  In 1992, Warren joined Atlantic Coast Airlines as Manager of Revenue Management & Pricing.

Outside of work, Warren enjoys home improvement projects, traveling, church, and choir.

Congratulations, Warren!  Thanks for calling Trans States home!

Communications team welcomes summer intern

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Please join us in welcoming Janet Crotty to Trans States Airlines!  Janet will be interning with our Communications team over the summer, and you will no doubt see many articles written by her here on the blog.  Janet is very excited to begin her senior year at Saint Louis University, where she is majoring in French and minoring in Communications.

Some fun facts to know about our summer intern:

  • She is a proud member of the Delta Delta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity.
  • Janet is a huge lover of books, and you can usually find her at the local library.
  • She considers the week she spent helping rebuild after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA (as part of her fraternity’s spring break service trip in March of this year) the best experience of her life.
  • She is also a self-proclaimed coffee addict and almost cried when she came home for the weekend and remembered that her parents drink decaf.
  • One last fact about Janet (one that she is very proud of) is that she participated in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Missouri for four years straight (raising $400 her last year, a personal best). For those who are unfamiliar with this event, it is a fundraiser held in February every year, where participants “take the plunge” into Creve Coeur Lake.

Janet will be writing articles covering a variety of topics this summer, so if there’s something you’d like to see covered here on the blog, please let us know!  Topic suggestions may be submitted via the tab at the top of the blog or sent to stacey.ross@tshstl.com.

If you happen to see Janet around the STC building this summer, be sure to say hello!

Employee Spotlight: Captain Randy Zehnder

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While now he can’t imagine himself as anything other than a pilot, Randy Zehnder didn’t initially consider flying as a profession.  Randy started flying while in high school in Jefferson City and received his pilot license when he was 17.  Flying was something fun that he enjoyed, but not something that he had considered as a career path.

Randy joined the Air Force after high school and was part of an inter-continental ballistic missile launch crew, spending the majority of his Air Force career in an underground bunker in Kansas.  While in the Air Force, he started to think about flying as a career, and used the GI bill to get certified to fly commercially.  After leaving the Air Force, Randy moved back to Jefferson City and started doing flight instructing and charter flying.  He also joined the National Guard and continued to expand his flying expertise by learning to fly helicopters.

Flash forward to 2014.  For someone who hadn’t initially considered flying professionally, Randy has spent a long time in the aviation industry.  Randy is now the number two pilot on the Trans States seniority list, having joined the company 30 years ago when it was still Resort Air.  He has flown a diverse range of aircraft for Trans States, including the Metro II & III, the ATR 42 & 72, and the E145.

During his 30 years with the company, he spent 20 of them in Management, holding positions including Flight Manager, Assistant Chief Pilot, Chief Pilot, Acting Director of Flight Ops, and Line Check Airman on the ATR.  He has also been a ground school and SIM instructor for all of the airplanes he’s flown for Trans States.  Instructing is Randy’s favorite part of his job, and he enjoys helping others by passing his knowledge along.

Randy is something of an anomaly in the airline industry, having stayed with the same company for his entire career.  Randy says that the decision to stay with Trans States for so long was a quality of life decision.  He knew everyone at Trans States, and working for Trans States allowed him to be based near where he wanted to live without having to uproot his family.  Another factor that has contributed to his decision to stay has been the stability offered by Trans States.  While other regional carriers have come and gone over the years, Trans States has continued to persevere.  And the very high position he occupies on the seniority list certainly isn’t an incentive to leave.

Randy continued his National Guard service for much of his career at Trans States and has been mobilized for active duty twice.  He completed two tours of duty in Iraq, one in 1990-91 and the other in 2003-04.  Randy retired from the National Guard in 2005.

When asked what his favorite thing to fly is, Randy says that’s something that he gets asked a lot.  He says for just messing around, helicopters are really fun to fly.  But if you actually need to get somewhere, airplanes are the way to go.  He’s enjoyed flying all of the planes he’s flown for Trans States and can’t pick a favorite.

When he’s not flying, Randy enjoys riding his Harley, spending time with his family, and playing Texas Hold’em Poker.