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!