March 10, 2020

On the eve of the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, 45 students from Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology – a local STEM high school – met at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to learn about the career possibilities available to them in business aviation.

The diverse group of students and volunteers enjoyed interactive learning stations ranging from a Davinci Jets, LLC- owned Bombardier Challenger to a Wilson Air Center fuel truck to unmanned aircraft systems from Duke Energy.

Students also had an opportunity to sit in the cockpit of the Lowe’s Corporation’s Dassault Falcon next to Lowe’s Aviation Chief Pilot Jon-Michael Calhoun. Calhoun, a Tuskegee University graduate and a former U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster pilot delivered an inspiring keynote, urging students to find whatever spark motivated them.

“For most of my career, I’ve always said to myself, “If I see it, I can be it,” said Calhoun. “If you see it, you can be it – all you need is a little spark, and the people you see today are here to help you find your spark.”

The third annual Pay-It-Forward education event was made possible by a team of volunteers from Lowe’s Corporation, Davinci Jets, Duke Energy, Charlotte Air Traffic Control, Pratt & Whitney, In-Flight Crew Connections, Air Service Hawaii, Wilson Air, Air Culinair, Professional Flight Management and the North Carolina Air National Guard.

“Today was especially great as we made some instant connections,” said Aymie Thornton, flight operations manager with Lowe’s Corporation. and a member of the event’s advisory council. “Having Lowe’s support for this event truly took it to a new level, and the volunteers from the advisory council’s work paid off.

“The Pay it Forward education day is always such a rewarding event,” she added. “Today was especially great, as we made some instant connections.”