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Kern Award Winner Sheryl Clarke Knows Safety Demands Maturity, Commitment

After a distinguished military and Part 121 career, Kern Award winner Sheryl Clarke, director of safety and security for Jet Linx Aviation, is helping raise the bar on safety practices and culture not just at her company, but for the entire charter industry.

April 7, 2021

Sheryl Clarke has only been in the Part 135 industry for two years, but she’s already having a big impact. After a distinguished military and Part 121 career, the director of safety and security for Jet Linx Aviation is helping raise the bar on safety practices and culture not just at Jet Linx, but for the entire charter industry.

“I’ve always wanted to instill and promote safety programs and help in mentoring other aviation professionals so that they have the right skills to maintain adequate safety margins,” says Clarke. “Nothing should be left to chance.”

At Jet Linx, Clarke has started a Part 135 operators group, which meets regularly to discuss safety and other improvements. She also is collaborating with NBAA, FAA, the National Air Transportation Association, safety and human factors consultants, and others to try and quantify safety management system (SMS) metrics.

A former U.S. Air Force KC-135 and T-37 standards and instructor pilot, Clarke, after leaving the military, went on to become the FAA Part 119 accountable safety employee at ExpressJet Airlines. Prior to being recruited by Jet Linx, she was managing director of airport operations safety and compliance at United Airlines, where she led a team of 50 safety professionals.

“I’m hoping to bring my Part 121 experience to Part 135 and become more of a mentor to others,” says Clarke. “It’s become part of my MO because contributing to safety is contributing to our profession.”

As one of the recipients of the 2020 Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award, Clarke exemplifies many of the award criteria, including continuous improvement and professional engagement. In addition to her position at Jet Linx and collaborating with the industry on quantifying the value of SMS, Clarke makes presentations on safety and is a guest instructor for the DOT Transportation Safety Institute SMS course for Part 135/145 and Part 91 operators.

“To me, professionalism is that commitment and dedication to maturing yourself, as well as the industry you work in,” says Clarke.

Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award

Nine individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2020. Created in 2015 to honor Dr. Tony Kern, this peer-nominated award recognizes individual pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, dispatchers and other aviation professionals who excel in leadership in the areas of professional ethics, vocational excellence, continuous improvement, professional engagement, professional image and selflessness.

Learn more about the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award.

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