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NBAA Scholarship Helps Open Doors for Recent College Graduate

Owen Woodland won an NBAA training scholarship that enabled him to obtain his dispatcher certificate after graduating in May 2015 from the University of Dubuque. That scholarship – along with college coursework, internships and mentoring – helped Woodland land a full-time job as an operations and account specialist at Delaware-based Fireside Partners, an aviation emergency response services provider.

“Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to obtain my dispatcher certificate,” Woodland said. “This qualification complements my private pilot’s license and instrument rating to ensure that I have a well-rounded view of the business aviation industry.”

Woodland, 22, also attributed his success to summer internships at a business aviation services provider at New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN), and mentoring he received over the past few years from industry professionals such as members of NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee. 

The mentors “provided introductions to other individuals,” said Woodland. “Their insights enabled me to tailor the remainder of my college education effectively, with an eye to future employment in business aviation.” One of those mentors, Tom Stewart, an official at a Northeast business jet operator, said he encouraged Woodland to take advantage of NBAA opportunities, including conferences and scholarships.

Woodland’s breadth of industry knowledge has impressed his new employer. “Owen's unique combination of skills as a private pilot and a licensed dispatcher, coupled with his experience working in the fixed-base operator environment, certainly fits the bill,” said Donald Chupp, Fireside president and chief executive officer. “Owen has quickly become a valuable asset to our team and our customers.”

Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA’s director of educational development and strategy, said that when she met Woodland at the 2015 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, he displayed the kind of business-like demeanor that aviation employers want new hires to have. 

“He was well-spoken, made great eye contact and had a firm handshake,” said Damato. “He was prepared, with professional-looking business cards, and he asked great questions, which made people want to ask him for his resume.”