Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania (AVP) general manager Jose Rivera retired after a 25-year career as a corrections officer before joining Piedmont where he worked his way up from ramp agent to general manager. Jose brings a wealth of skills and knowledge from his previous career to his current position. From his focus on safety, his ability to manage stressful situations and his knowledge that teamwork is essential to the operation’s success makes him a well-rounded leader.
After working a few jobs and seeking something more fulfilling, Jose joined the New Jersey State Prison system as a corrections officer in 1989. He recalls an incident where an inmate stabbed him during a prison riot. “Corrections officers are not armed so I had to defend myself without weapons,” says Jose. He was out of work for six months due to the injury. His quick actions saved his captain’s life and as a result, he was awarded the Medal of Valor, Life Saving Award and Blue Heart.
Jose was an active member of the Special Operations team, honor guard, and acted as a union representative for 20 years and State Trustee for the Fraternal Order of Police. On September 11, when the second plane hit the tower, Jose and the Special Operations team deployed to Ground Zero. He served eight months at both Ground Zero and Newark Liberty International Airport.
After more than two decades, Jose retired from corrections and moved to Scranton. After enjoying retirement for two years, he began looking for a job and a ramp agent position sounded interesting. In 2013, he joined Envoy as a ramp agent at AVP and later joined Piedmont on the ramp in 2015 where he also acted as a regional union representative. Six years later, he was promoted to ramp supervisor. In July 2021, Jose was promoted to AVP general manager.
“In my long career in corrections, I gained many skills that I use in my current job,” says Jose. “At the prison, you had to always be aware of your surroundings which is something that helps me while working at the airport. I brought with me an understanding of the importance of safety from corrections from working safe to making sure to wear proper personal protective equipment.” Jose has experience in de-escalating situations, which comes in handy at the airport when dealing with upset passengers.
As a corrections officer, Jose and other officers had to work as a team to accomplish their daily tasks. “When working in the prison system, one thing that always stood out is that we are a team; and that team mentality has definitely carried over to Piedmont,” says Jose. “I love good teamwork and working in an atmosphere that encourages working together.”
Jose’s role as general manager means he has to be organized, stay calm in stressful situations and communicate successfully with his team and customers to maintain a successful operation. “Being a leader means making sure your team are working safely and completing their daily tasks,” says Jose.
Jose likes being on the ramp and the challenge of managing a station. “I love working for Piedmont, the team atmosphere at AVP and the company culture,” says Jose. He enjoys traveling and uses his company travel benefits to travel often to Calabria, Italy.
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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.