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Growing from the gate to Ground Safety

With aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon, Ground Safety Manager Jessyca Peeler began working as a customer service agent for Piedmont Airlines to help pay her college tuition. Being around aircraft and helping customers as a gate agent sparked her interest in pursuing a full-time career in aviation and as a result, she switched her major from chemistry to aviation and was committed to advancing in her career. “When I joined Piedmont, I was 19 years old and had a lot to learn about the industry,” shares Jessyca. “After taking an interest in aviation, I learned different aspects of the business which made me appreciate my role and how I contributed to the company’s success.”

Originally from Philadelphia, Jessyca joined Piedmont as a gate agent in October 2016 and three years later was promoted to training supervisor. In June 2021 she was promoted to Ground Safety Manager in Phoenix, Arizona and six months later transferred back to her hometown.

While growing in her career, she recalls the first time she applied for a promotion and was rejected. “I was frustrated that I didn’t get the position, but I contacted the hiring manager to learn why I wasn’t selected and what I could’ve done differently. After that conversation, I left with a better idea of how to prepare myself for the next opportunity and it worked.”

Now, as a Ground Safety Manager in the Safety department, Jessyca takes pride in her role to educate Piedmont’s more than 1,500 Ground Handling team members in PHL and the Central Division on the importance of safety in the workplace. “Starting my career off as a gate agent gave me insight into the work the Ground Handling Team does and helped me learn skills like time management and being detail-oriented that I use in my Safety role every day,” shares Jessyca.

In her current role, she is responsible for on-the-job injury (OJI) and aircraft damage investigations, responding to violations from federal regulatory agencies on the company’s behalf and encouraging agents to work safe and use the Safety Management System (SMS). “Everything I do in my job is reported to Piedmont’s senior leadership, so I have to ensure I am doing my best to keep our team members, passengers and aircraft safe.”

Jessyca’s advice to others who are seeking career advancement is to continue to pursue it, learn from any rejection and grow from it. “We are fortunate that we work for a company that gives team members so many opportunities to further their career and grow as an aviation professional. There is nothing stopping you from finding a position that challenges you more.”

Jessyca enjoys working in the Safety department where she says everyone supports each other and works as a team. “I want to help someone from getting an OJI, save aircraft from being damaged and continue to interact with our team members to keep them safe.” Jessyca continues to progress toward her bachelor’s in Aviation Safety at Liberty University and hopes to someday work for an airport board creating safety and security regulations.

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