Piedmont Dispatcher Kaci Risser began her career in Ground Handling. However, when an opportunity arose to join the Dispatch department, she jumped at the chance to advance her career and learn more about the operation. After earning a scholarship from the company, Kaci became a flight dispatcher. In her new role, she has the opportunity to learn about the company’s operations as she grows with Piedmont.
“I learned about the Ground Handling operation as an agent, but I wanted to learn more and felt that becoming a dispatcher was a great opportunity to do that,” shares Kaci. “I wanted to learn about the airline side of the operation for my overall knowledge and how the departments work together. It’s a fascinating industry.”
Originally from Texas, Kaci obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Wayland Baptist University before moving to Lubbock, Texas. She had always been intrigued with the airlines and felt the industry had many opportunities to offer. While working two other jobs, she decided to see what was available at her local airport in Lubbock. She joined American Eagle (later becoming Envoy) in 2007 as a part-time cross-trained agent.
After conversing with a former dispatcher, Kaci was given more insight about the position and was encouraged to check it out. She learned that dispatchers are responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft journey using software tools and advising the flight crew of any circumstances that might affect flight safety. To learn more about dispatching, Kaci was able to job shadow the American Eagle’s Dispatch department on a few occasions. It piqued her interest, but there were no dispatcher openings at the time. She later transferred to Columbia, South Carolina (CAE) and was promoted to Customer Service Supervisor. Eventually, she left her role and began working as a cross-trained agent for Delta Global Services in CAE, where she worked for nine years.
Kaci received a call from a Piedmont team member in CAE advising her of a part-time Customer Service Agent position opening and asked if she was interested in coming back. She applied and joined Piedmont in May 2019. Shortly after joining, she became an Operations Agent where she shared with her manager that she eventually wanted to pursue a career in dispatching.
“One day, Eric Morgan was visiting CAE and my manager told him that I was interested in dispatching,” shares Kaci. “Eric said I should get in touch with Jerry Nowak, the Senior Manager of Flight Operations.” She spoke with Jerry and expressed her interest, but no dispatcher positions were available. In March 2020, Kaci was awarded a scholarship from the company and underwent a five-week dispatcher training course at the Sheffield School of Aeronautics in Florida with hopes of landing a future dispatcher position. In the meantime, Kaci returned to work at CAE. Unfortunately, due to COVID, she could not join the new dispatcher class until April 2021. After completing her on-the-job training, she was signed off to work the desk in July.
In her new role, Kaci enjoys seeing how both the ground and airline procedures affect the entire operation. Each day presents different challenges, from bad weather to maintenance issues, but Kaci enjoys finding solutions. She credits her knowledge from her previous role in ground handling to helping her see the big picture and better understand how different departments interact with each other. “I’m more aware now of how departments depend on each other for the airline’s success.”
Kaci shares that she enjoys working for Piedmont, both in the station and the Dispatch department. “Overall, there is a real family feel here because we are a smaller company and that makes a big difference,” Kaci says. “I’ve worked for other airlines and they are not all the same.” In addition, Kaci says her coworkers look out for each other both at CAE and in Dispatch. “In CAE, I had a supportive manager who encouraged me to progress in my career and when I moved to Salisbury, Maryland and joined Dispatch, my coworkers helped me get acclimated to my role and the surrounding area.”
Growing up in a small town, Kaci enjoys living in the rural Salisbury, Maryland area. “It’s nice that I can get to work quickly and not have to deal with traffic,” she shares. In her spare time, she enjoys driving to New York City to see Broadway shows and using her company travel benefits to fly to new destinations.
Piedmont is hiring dispatchers at our Salisbury, Maryland headquarters location. To learn more, visit www.piedmont-airlines.com/careers.