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Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: First Officer Gabriel Garcia

January 10, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: First Officer Gabriel Garcia

National Hispanic Heritage Month honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans and their influence on the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. During this important observation, we are pleased to spotlight our team members who show how our different backgrounds contribute to The PSA Way.

For Ecuadorian-born Gabriel Garcia, his love for flight began as a child flying over the fields of Ecuador. He, along with his mom and brother, would make trips on a small plane to visit his dad, who worked as a civil engineer. Garcia said back then, the pilot would let you in the cockpit, and that’s where his love of aviation began. Now he’s a First Officer at PSA with ambitions of soon becoming a Captain. Garcia spoke with us about his journey to flying, how he almost became a doctor, and what he cherishes the most about his culture this Hispanic Heritage Month.

How did your official aviation journey begin?

I graduated college with a biology and chemistry degree, went to medical school, then decided it wasn’t for me. As a kid, it was always between being a pilot and a doctor. I was able to get a loan, and since then, the first flight I took as a student pilot was a dream come true. I’ve been flying for five years. I started at ATP flight school and instructed for one year at Flight Carolina in Rock Hill. Then I came to PSA in August of 2019.

What attracted you to PSA?

My biggest thing is the culture. PSA is family-oriented, and they care about the individuals that work here. It was also home base. I lived in Charlotte, grew up in Charlotte, and PSA has a significant presence there. It was also the people — many good friends have come through PSA, so I decided to give PSA a shot and have no regrets.

As a Hispanic pilot, do you feel you impact PSA’s culture of diversity and inclusion?

I do. On my lanyard, I have an American and Ecuadorian flag, so a lot of people say, “Oh, you’re from Ecuador,” or “What country is that?” I’ve also seen many Spanish-speaking people struggle at the airport, so it’s always nice to help. We get minors that can’t speak English, and it’s nice to talk to them because you see the reaction on their face when they see a pilot who speaks Spanish and is from Ecuador.

What are some Ecuadorian traditions and customs you hold dear to you?

Family is very important. Growing up, I was always close to my parents, brother, and sister. When we cook, we always try to make it a big family thing. We love seafood. We’ve kind of adapted to the American way, but we do as much as we can to stay close to family.

In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, what is it about being Ecuadorian that you cherish the most?

My values. My roots. I know where I came from to where I am now. That’s one of the things that I value. My family didn’t come from much to what we have now. That’s something that I cherish that I was able to continue my career here, thanks to my parents.

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