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Next destination: From the legal field to the airfield

At age 75, Piedmont cross-trained agent Larry McClure says that he doesn’t have plans to slow down any time soon. As a former state prosecutor, he brings a wealth of skills that he learned while working in the legal profession to his job at Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) in South Carolina. He plans to continue sharing his knowledge by mentoring new team members and doing his job every day with a focus on safety and successful completion of the task at hand.

Larry shares that as a prosecutor and lawyer in private practice, he was very task-oriented, which is a skill he uses daily in his role as an agent. “Every flight that comes in is different from the number of people, bags, timing, etc. and just as I did when I was an attorney, I have to pre-plan to anticipate what needs to be done to accomplish the goal,” reflects Larry. “Because of my background, I’m able to focus on the primary goal of moving customers and bags safely and on time.” In his previous career, he provided guidance and direction to others, which is something he enjoys doing in his role by mentoring new team members. Larry’s legal background was equally as beneficial when he was previously a union representative.

Originally from a small town in New Jersey, Larry obtained his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rutgers University and Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. After teaching briefly and working as a law clerk, Larry passed the New Jersey bar exam and began working with a law firm in Jersey City. In 1972, a judge that he had clerked for was appointed head prosecutor in Bergen County, New Jersey and asked Larry to join him as assistant prosecutor. Larry accepted the role and tried court cases of all kinds including homicides, assaults and arson. In one of his high-visibility cases, he convicted a home invasion murderer and wrote a book about the trial. “After that case, people started locking their doors,” says Larry. In 1976, he left the county prosecutor’s office and opened a private practice with a focus on criminal defense. He was also an elected district council member.

Several years later, he was appointed head prosecutor and chief law enforcement officer by the governor of New Jersey for a five-year term. As chief law enforcement officer, he oversaw 72 police agencies. When he first took office, he learned that many police agencies had officers who hadn’t fired their weapon in years therefore mandating semi-annual firearms training and other relevant training.

He was successful in his role and was reappointed by the governor for another five-year term. He left before his term was complete to work as an executive director for the Bergen County Utilities Authority. He later reopened his private law practice handling criminal defense cases. “People ask me how I could go from defending criminals to prosecuting criminals,” recalls Larry. “My concept on both sides was that I wanted to make the system work.”

His family of nine had vacationed in Hilton Head, South Carolina and decided to relocate there. He worked as a substitute teacher and taught seventh grade social studies for six years before joining Piedmont as a part-time cross-trained agent in 2006. Larry joined the industry to take advantage of the company travel benefits. He later upgraded to full-time and worked four years in Columbia, South Carolina (CAE) before returning to HHH.

He enjoys working at HHH because of his co-workers and his manager. “You see a lot of turnover in this industry and I enjoy meeting new people and building those relationships,” says Larry. “I also have a positive general manager who is a good person to work with.” He says he is fortunate to be healthy at his age and still do this type of work. “The job saves me from having to get a gym membership,” he says jokingly. His family, including his seven children enjoy utilizing his company travel benefits.

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Next Destination is a Piedmont feature series that highlights our aviation professionals who joined Piedmont after working in a different career field. Piedmont is proud to recognize our team members for their contributions to the success of the airline.