Meet a few of our cadets:
Gabriel Verde- Averett University now Piedmont first officer
In 2002, Gabriel’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Peru and flew on an American Airlines flight from Lima, Peru to Dallas, Texas.
“I had never seen or been on a plane before but at 8-years-old, I knew I wanted to become a pilot once I felt the sensation of taking off,” Gabriel said.
Everyone on his dad’s side of the family is a dentist; there’s a family joke that even the dog is a dentist. His parents weren’t enthusiastic about his pilot dream initially, but both of them came around once they realized he wasn’t going to change his mind. They were very supportive throughout his college experience. Gabriel joined Piedmont as a cadet at Averett University before transitioning to first officer in January.
“At this point in my journey, now that I am transitioning to first officer, I am most excited about the growth of the cadet program,” Gabriel said. “My best friend actually just joined the cadet program a few weeks ago.”
When friends and former students ask about his decision to fly for Piedmont, he explains that his cadet interview started his professional career. “I tell them to take it seriously because it’s one interview for three different positions: Piedmont cadet, first officer and then American Airlines first officer. It could be the only interview they ever need.”
Cristian Guardado- Infinity Flight Group
Cristian Guardado’s passion for flying started almost 10 years ago in high school when he became fascinated with the language of aviation.
His first impression with Piedmont is what led him to become part of our Cadet Program.
“I chose to become a Piedmont cadet because of the initial meet and greet,” Cristian said. “Everyone could tell how happy the employees were to be there. They had a lot of positive energy and appeared very family oriented, which I can attest to now.”
From the positive feedback and advice that our employees poured into him, to how he anticipates paying it all forward in the future, Cristian appreciates it all and can’t wait to share his journey. His passion for Piedmont is obvious when he talks about his experience. When asked what he tells aviation friends about Piedmont, he says, “I don’t have to convince them that Piedmont is an amazing company; they can see my passion through my actions.”
Like many of our cadets, Cristian has become an unofficial Piedmont ambassador and tells anyone who will listen of the opportunities available here. Recently, Cristian came out to Salisbury’s Wings and Wheels event to support the cadet program partnership.
John Adams- Liberty University
John Adams flew on commercial flights as a kid and thought it was awesome, but never thought a pilot career was possible. He came into college undecided about a major and took many introductory classes. He finally discovered his passion for aviation during an introductory aviation course at Liberty University. John was initially attracted to the family environment and the mutual interest from Piedmont’s cadet program recruiters and other employees.
“The recruiters were very inviting and I appreciated the special interest they showed in me, as I did in Piedmont,” John said.
Once he learned more about the program, including the opportunities to grow and our fast flow to American, he was sold.
“It’s just a plus that I don’t have to do another job interview [possibly] for the next 40 years, if ever.”
Ben Vining- Infinity Flight Group
Ben Vining is a Piedmont cadet currently flight instructing at Infinity Flight Group. A fun fact about Ben is that he was able to fly a plane by himself before earning his full driver’s license. He obtained his private pilot license while living in Australia. When he came to the United States about three years ago, when he decided to turn flying from a hobby into a career.
Ben enjoys the intellectual satisfaction of learning new flying methods and having to keep up with changing aviation technologies. His father was a private pilot and belonged to a flying club, so some of his best memories are flying to weekend destinations with his family.
“I love the idea of flying as a means of getting to your destination.”
He first learned about Piedmont through his former flight instructor, who recommended our company to him. “I decided to come to Piedmont because my flight instructor, at the time, is currently a first officer at Piedmont and really enjoys it.”