Aviation for Women

MAY-JUN 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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AviationforWomen 21 M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 8 first flight in a Cessna 172," she explains. After that experience, Jessi applied for a customer service position, and was interviewed and hired that day. She spent two years in Jackson Hole, then in 2004 moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and was hired at Cutter Aviation. "While I don't have a specific aviation background, I utilize my psy- chology and education classes daily as well as my customer service background that I learned from the jobs I had when putting myself through school," she says. "It's about building relationships," Jessi explains. "We remember what beverages customers like. If they like Diet Coke we have one wait- ing for them on the counter when they walk in. We remember what kind of car they like if they want a rental, we remember what properties they like to stay at if they need a hotel, and we remember the names of their kids, grandkids, and dogs." There is no such thing as a typical day. "Every day it is different air- craft, different clients, different challenges," she says. "You can find me negotiating lease terms and fuel agreements, working the front desk, or out on the line fueling and towing with my line technicians, work- ing a charter and throwing bags out of the belly of a 737, paying bills and going to the bank, at the fuel farm troubleshooting electrical or pump issues, or changing out the alterna- tor on a tug. It's all in a day's work, and fortunately for me, I love it!" There is a component of ongo- ing education as well. "To do this job, you need to keep learning," Jessi says, "because the aviation industr y keeps evolving both in terms of rules and regulations as well as technology." She makes a point not to ask any of her employees to do a task that she herself cannot do, so when a new piece of technology arrives on site she makes sure she learns how to use it. Over the years, Jessi has seen more women enter FBO man- agement, but there is still room to grow. She has the support of Cut- ter Aviation as the company is an active WAI corporate member. "Though it is getting signifi- cantly better in the last several years, breaking into this sector of aviation as a female has been chal- lenging. Aviation as a whole has been a ver y male dominated in- dustry, and my niche is no excep- tion, Jessi says. "I've had to work longer, harder, and smarter in or- der to gain respect from many— simply because I'm a young female. However, I am very fortunate that I have an amazing support structure from my superiors and colleagues in Cutter. They have never been any- thing less than supportive and have given me opportunities in my ca- reer that I will forever be grateful for." "I love the people," she continues. "I have the challenge of know- ing my staff as individuals and tailoring my management of them to fit their individual needs and expectations. My customers are amazing people as well. Having the opportunity to form numerous relationships and friendships is something that is very important to me. Knowing that I'm important to them is also rewarding." One of the best parts of the job is mentoring her employees, learn- ing about their dreams, and helping them get there. Many of them are working at the FBO as they pursue becoming a professional pilot. It's a special thrill when the FBO employees-turned-pilots come back to visit. "They might be the captain of a Gulfstream jet now but when they come to visit they still call me boss!" she laughs. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meg Godlewski, WAI 8165, is a seven-time Master CFI and an ac- tive instructor. PHOTOS COURTEST Y OF JESSI ROWDEN " T o d o t h i s j o b , y o u n e e d t o k e e p l e a r n i n g ," J e s s i s a y s , " b e c a u s e t h e a v i a t i o n i n d u s t r y k e e p s e v o l v i n g b o t h i n t e r m s o f r u l e s a n d r e g u l a t i o n s a s w e l l a s t e c h n o l o g y ."

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