The Faces of PSA – Meet Jim Harkema

Faces of PSA JimName: Jim Harkema

Title: Director, Operations Control Center

How long have you been in the airline industry?  I began in the industry in 1983 working on the ramp for Wright Airlines in Cleveland, OH, have worked at Braniff Airlines in Dallas, and will be starting my twenty seventh year at PSA and the USAirways family this coming January.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I’m responsible for the airlines daily operation from the Operations Control Center in Dayton, and the Technical Publications Department.

How many roles have you had at PSA? Which is your favorite? I have been a crew scheduler, dispatcher, the manager of dispatch, and the first Director of Safety for PSA when the FAA created the position in 1996. I don’t have a favorite as I continue to use all of those experiences in my current position.

You are known for putting up a Christmas tree for PSA employees (at whichever building you work in). How long have you done that and how did the tradition start? This year’s tree is the 18th PSA tree in a row that my wife Doreen and I have decorated. The first tree was the way we got to know each other, and even the three years that Doreen and I worked elsewhere within the USAirways and Express family, we still decorated the tree at PSA. We use our own decorations, many of which we make, to create a “decorator type” tree, using coordinating colors as varied as pink and zebra stripe to the retro Pacific Southwest Airlines logos and colors on last year’s tree.

Your wife used to work for PSA. Is this where you met?  Yes, Doreen’s first job in the industry was in the PSA Human Resource Department where, ironically enough, one of her assignments was decorating the Christmas tree.

Tell us something no one knows about you:  I’m married to an on air radio personality for Mix 107.7 in Dayton, and together we played and sang in a band.

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled?  Oshkosh, WI for the Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-in.  My father and I restored a 1969 Citabria (single engine tandem seat private aircraft) which we bought as a basket case project. During the project we vowed that we would fly the airplane to Oshkosh and camp out under the wing upon its completion. We accomplished that goal in 2010 and that trip with my Dad remains one of my favorite experiences.

Why would you recommend PSA? I absolutely would recommend PSA to anyone who wants to gain valuable airline experience or build a rewarding career.  PSA offers employees an incomparable opportunity to hone their skills and pursue personal growth, to whatever level in the company they can dream and work to achieve.  Like me you may even find a personal relationship that completes your life!

PSA Airlines Announces New Crew Base at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

_X6A1719 smallPSA Airlines announced today that it will add an additional crew base at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), opening in March 2017. This will be PSA’s fifth crew base joining Dayton, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

PSA currently operates 55 daily flights from DCA. That number has grown nearly 400 percent since November 2014 and they expect that number to continue to grow. PSA plans to continue adding departures operated for American from DCA, which offers the opportunity to open a new crew domicile, while creating schedule efficiencies for their network.

“This is exciting news for PSA as we grow our crew base footprint and offer new domiciles for our employees,” said Dion Flannery – President, PSA Airlines. “Today’s announcement is proof of our growth and stability and further positions PSA as the airline of choice for the best aviators in the business.”

The wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group has doubled its fleet size and employee base since the announcement of the airline’s imminent growth in December 2013. This will be their second added crew base since the start of this expansion.

PSA is committed to remaining competitive in the dynamic regional marketplace. This announcement comes on the heels of an industry-leading compensation package which attracts and retains the best and brightest pilots in the regional business.

About PSA Airlines

PSA Airlines operates an all-jet fleet consisting of exclusively Bombardier regional jet aircraft. The company’s more than 2,500 employees operate nearly 700 daily flights to nearly 90 destinations. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, PSA also has flight crew bases located in Dayton, Cincinnati, Ohio, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. PSA has maintenance facilities in Dayton and Canton, Ohio and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport and Charlotte, North Carolina. PSA operates 35 Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft, 26 Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft and 54 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. The airline expects to add additional Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft and Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft to its fleet in the next two years, bringing its fleet count to 150.

The Faces of PSA – Meet Kyle Lawrenz

Kyle LawrenzName: Kyle Lawrenz

Title: Maintenance Manager-CVG (Cincinnati/Northern-Kentucky)

How long have you worked for PSA? On Feb 2017, I will celebrate my 10-year anniversary with PSA.

How long have you been in the airline industry? I received my Airframe and Power plant license in 2002. I have been in Aviation going on 15 years.

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I oversee the PSA maintenance operation and personnel at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport.

What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? Starting up the first new maintenance base from scratch has been a challenge, but a very rewarding achievement.

How many roles have you had at PSA? Which is your favorite? I have held 5 positions during my 10 years at PSA (see below). I have enjoyed each and every one of my roles, as I have gained experience and learned a different side of the operation in each position and how it all comes together from a maintenance aspect.

Roles: A&P Technician, Technical Support Specialist, Maintenance Training and Reliability Manager, Reliability and Technical Service Manager, and Maintenance Manager-CVG

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? San Diego

What are some of your hobbies? Wake boarding, water sports, motorcycles, softball and watching my daughters sporting events.

What do you love about working for PSA? Every day brings a new challenge and the people I get to meet/work with.

Why would you recommend PSA? The experiences you can obtain and projects you can get involved in are endless. For motivated individuals that are looking to climb the ladder, this is priceless.

What did you do before coming to PSA? Remote Diagnostic Engineer for GE Engines. In this role, I would troubleshoot engines flying around and look for trends in real time to determine engine health or problems.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: I am learning more about building maintenance and Fire Suppression Systems, then I ever thought I would experience.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? I actually have two answers for this question: 1. Starting a base from scratch and watching it grow to a fully functional maintenance base. 2. Taking a new A&P mechanic out of school and watching him or her turn into an experienced and knowledgeable mechanic.

Tell us something no one knows about you: I taught my English Bulldog how to ride a skateboard.

 

 

 

The Faces of PSA – Meet Randall Parnell

Randal ParnellTitle: First Officer

How long have you worked for PSA? I was a First Officer at Comair for 6 years from 2003-2009. I left there to do other things, but after a year or so, I really missed aviation; however, with no recent experience, I figured I’d never fly Part 121 again. I had lost touch with what the industry was doing, so it came as a big surprise to me to learn late last year that there was a pilot shortage. Since Charlotte is my hometown, PSA was the natural choice. I have since learned that there are many more great aspects to PSA and I am ecstatic to be back in the airline world with PSA!

How long have you been in the airline industry? 6 years

Give us a brief overview of what you do: I help to get customers safely and smoothly to their destinations.

What’s the most challenging part of your job? Since I was already familiar with airline life, the adjustment has been very easy, but I would say that the most difficult part is probably adjusting to reporting early after being on late reports in the same trip. Fortunately, that’s only happened once so far!

Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? It’s not far from home, but Charleston, SC is one of my favorites!

Where is your favorite destination to fly to? Although I haven’t been there yet with PSA, I would say Austin, TX, as I used to live there. What a great city!

What are some of your hobbies? Celtic guitar and running. I have played Celtic and Old Time guitar for over 20 years now. Being a native of the Appalachians, I guess it’s in my DNA. Being based in Knoxville at the moment, I found a great venue uptown with open sessions. PSA has afforded me the opportunity to get to know a great new town. I love Knoxville!

What do you love about working for PSA? The can-do, team-oriented spirit!

Why would you recommend PSA? Industry-leading pay, excellent equipment, stability of an American wholly owned airline, but most of all the great people who make up PSA.

Tell us something about your role that most people don’t know: I was once a certified farrier and equine outfitter in New Mexico and speak 5 languages. Besides English, the languages I speak are fluent German, basic Russian and Spanish and a smattering of Hebrew and Chinese. Being able to say even a few words or simple phrase has often brought a smile of surprise to a customer’s face hearing their native language.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job? Working with a great team and being back in aviation after a bit of a hiatus.

Tell us something no one knows about you: Prior to coming to PSA, I was an entertainer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and had the opportunity to work in over 28 different countries around the world.

PSA Airlines Partners with Wings for Autism® – ‘Most Rewarding Thing I’ve Ever Done’

imagePSA Flight Attendant and Training Specialist Melanie Lopez participated in an event Nov. 12 that has left a lasting impression and created a path for a special group of families to better experience the joy of flying.

Lopez was part of a four-person crew that volunteered at the “It’s Cool to FLY American Airlines Wings for Autism” event at Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). The program, hosted by Arc of South Carolina and featuring volunteers from MYR, American Airlines and TSA, provides families of children with Autism to experience a “flight” from start to finish.

“I have worked with special needs individuals for the past 11 years and they have the same ambitions in life as everyone else. They want to travel and see the world and have these new and exciting experiences that we have,” said Lopez. “What motivates me to work with this event is to be able to help them take that first step to achieving those goals and fulfilling those ambitions. It is so rewarding to see them build confidence in themselves and walk away from the event knowing that they can do this and there is an entire support system behind them cheering them on.”

Joining Lopez on the flight were Captain Jeremy West, Captain Kevin Ambrose and Flight Attendant Britt Roach. This is the second Wings for Autism event PSA employees have been part of this year. Assistant Director Airport Operations, Corporate Security and Emergency Response Sumanth Reddimalla attended on PSA’s behalf as well.

According to Lopez, the best part of the event is always the end, where the children and families have confidence knowing that they can take a flight and have support.

It is such a heart-warming and rewarding event to be a part of, Lopez said. “As the event was ending and all the passengers were deplaning, a mother stopped and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘This is the greatest thing we’ve ever done.’ “

“I am beyond grateful to have this experience and be a part of this event. It is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said.

About The Arc – The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of more than 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.