The Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies hosted over 75 leaders from the aviation industry at its third annual Aviation Career Night, held in the Blackwell Ballroom on February 5.
Despite poor weather, the event was attended by over 100 aviation students, faculty, and alumni. Numerous leaders present were Ohio State alumni as well. Many companies local to the Columbus area were represented, including NetJets, Lane Aviation, L Brands, Cardinal Health, and Landmark Aviation. Representatives from companies such as FedEx, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, as well as the U.S. Navy and Air Force were also in attendance. In total more than 40 companies and organizations were represented.
Dr. Seth Young, Center for Aviation Studies director, opened the evening’s discussion with comments about the state of the aviation industry. According to Young, there is a general consensus among leaders that the aviation industry is entering a period of sustained growth, and that the aviation program at Ohio State is enjoying increased student enrollment as well as the full support of Dr. David Williams, Dean of Engineering.
A panel discussion, moderated by James Oppermann, CAS lecturer, followed Dr. Young’s opening remarks. On the panel were Susan Dugan, of FlightSafety International, Neil Hathi, of InterVistas, Tricia McGuire, of AircraftLogs.com, and Matt Tallarico, a Southwest Airlines captain. The panel unanimously stressed the importance of following a career that you are passionate about, and cited enthusiasm, flexibility, and the ability to engage in effective written communication as key traits sought by the industry in potential hires.
Captain Tallarico, an Ohio State alumnus who spent several years instructing at Ohio State, spoke to the pilot shortage hitting the regionals, and advised students to get as much experience and certifications as possible to be marketable to the next level in aviation.
Following the panel’s thoughts, representatives from other companies present were invited to speak. Adam Stiffler, from Cardinal Health, advised students become as well rounded as they can; welcome news for Ohio State students, who are able to combine their flight education with degrees in business, engineering, and arts and sciences.
After the panel, students were able to speak one to one with the aviation professionals present. This networking opportunity provided students with valuable insight into the aviation industry as well as potential internship and employment opportunities. “I was fortunate to make contact with several people who will undoubtedly prove to be good relationships in the future,” said Josh Fisher, a senior aviation student in the Fisher College of Business.