Justin L., History (Aircraft Dispatcher)
Alumni Advisor
Major:BA History
Grad Year:2006
Career Sector:Aviation
Current Job Title:Chief Dispatcher
Current Employer:Southwest Airlines

What was your career path that led you to your current position?

I started with J.B. Hunt's management trainee program after graduation, managing a fleet of 20 drivers and trucks, delivering loads of pallets to warehouses across Texas. That logistics background opened the door to pilot scheduling at Southwest Airlines. I earned my pilot and dispatcher licenses from the FAA, joined the Air National Guard, went to Air Force pilot training, and returned to Southwest. Upon returning to Southwest I was hired into Dispatch, where we plan and monitor all 4,000+ daily flights. Last year I became a Chief Dispatcher, overseeing our daily dispatch operation.

What kind of credentials, education, training, prior experience are needed?

For my job at Southwest Airlines, an Aircraft Dispatcher certificate (license) from the FAA. Airline operations experience is preferred. As a Captain and pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, a bachelor's degree from any accredited institution is acceptable. 2-3 months of Officer Training School, 18+ months of pilot training, and 3 weeks of survival training are required.

How was your major and/or your degree from UD related to your current work?

The Core requires students to read, analyze, interpret, and explain complex ideas. It requires logical analysis and problem-solving. That's a perfect transition to lead people in a heavily regulated industry like transportation. At Southwest we have tens of manuals and hundreds of regulations to comply with. Some days my job is like being a lawyer without having to go to law school. In the Air Force, I travel the world flying C-130s. I took Spanish at UD and in July I'm going to Chile for a week. We fly through Spain and Puerto Rico somewhat regularly. Knowing history and culture from my time at UD makes it fun to be a tour guide on international stopovers.


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