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Gaining knowledge of airline operations while climbing the career ladder

Dispatch Supervisor Kate Pennewell has worked in crew scheduling, maintenance planning and dispatch to progress her career with Piedmont Airlines. In each role, she gained knowledge of airline operations which helped her to become successful in her current role.

Kate is originally from a small town near Salisbury, Maryland, but she left the area to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Management at Eastern Kentucky University. After graduation, Kate returned to Maryland to search for employment. Eventually, she saw a hiring ad for Piedmont Airlines, but she didn’t know a lot about the company. “I knew I wanted to work in aviation and Piedmont was the closest airline to my home,” shares Kate. “Piedmont was the perfect fit.”

In July 2008, Kate began working for Piedmont as a crew scheduler. Shortly after that, she worked in Maintenance Planning, later becoming a Maintenance Planning Supervisor. Although she enjoyed her job, she wanted to advance in her profession and learn more about the industry. After five years as a supervisor, Kate discovered that the company provided scholarships to send interested team members to dispatch school. Flight dispatchers are responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft’s journey by using software tools and advising the flight crew of any events that might affect flight safety. “Dispatching was something new to learn and it sounded like a good opportunity.” She attended the Sheffield School of Aeronautics in Florida on a company-paid scholarship and obtained her dispatch certificate in 2014.

“I love dispatching,” Kate says proudly. “When you start your shift, you never know what the day will bring and each day is different. Also, the fast-paced environment is exciting.” Every six months, dispatchers bid for work schedules that include four days on and three days off in a row.

After two years of dispatching, Kate was promoted to her current role as Dispatch Supervisor. She attributes her performance as a dispatch supervisor to her past work experience in crew scheduling. When crew scheduling issues arise, Kate is notified, and she collaborates with the scheduler to find a solution to ensure flight coverage.

Kate enjoys her job as a dispatch supervisor and says her experience working for Piedmont has always been positive. “Working for a smaller airline does contribute to a family feel,” Kate shares. “The people I work with are great and there is a good team environment in the Operations Control Center. Working for a small airline, I don’t feel like just a number and my supervisors are also friends.”

Growing up in the Salisbury area, Kate enjoys the country life that it provides. “I grew up here and I am thankful to have so many career opportunities with an airline so close to home,” says Kate. “It’s great living in close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean and my family enjoys camping, going to the local beaches and visiting Assateague National Seashore to see the wild ponies.”

Does a job in dispatching sound interesting to you? Piedmont is hiring dispatchers at our Salisbury, Maryland headquarters and looking for team members ready to take the next step in their career. To view our job openings, click here.