Finding the Right Aviation Career for You
February 21, 2023
Aviation plays a significant role in the world becoming increasingly connected as its one of the fastest-growing transportation industries. As the industry continues to grow and impact society, more unique career opportunities become available, including flying and non-flying positions.
It is estimated that the air transport industry offers a total of 87.7 million jobs worldwide within the airlines, air navigation, service providers, airport operators and more. While the general aviation industry offers an additional 1.2 million jobs and supports $150 billion annually in economic activity.
As the global leader in personal aviation, Cirrus Aircraft is excited to join the 2023 Women in Aviation International Conference in Long Beach, California, to share the different types of career opportunities available within the general aviation sector. Cirrus Aircraft is a long-time supporter of Women in Aviation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests.
This year, Cirrus Aircraft will hold a roundtable discussion on ‘Finding the Right Aviation Career for You,’ which dives into different jobs available in the aviation industry.
Following that same spirit, we have interviewed Cirrus Aircraft’s very own to share the different types of career opportunities and how they got started in aviation. We hope this inspires and helps you discover your next aviation career opportunity!
Alanna Lee, Director, Environmental Health and Safety, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Manage employee safety, employee relations, governmental relations & compliance (OSHA/EPA/MPCA/ATF/FAA/DOT), wellness, environmental.”
How did you get into aviation: “I am originally from Northern MN; I spent 10 years of my career in Southern MN and wanted to get back north. I started as an Environmental Compliance Specialist and was promoted to the Director role about 7/8 months ago.”
Why you enjoy your job: “The people and culture. I am truly grateful to be here and in a company that believes in me and wants me to grow. Although I am still learning, the world of personal aviation is fascinating, and I enjoy that every day is different and there are always new and exciting challenges.”
Kelly Kaseno, FAA Designated Manufacturing Inspection Representative/Organization Designation Authorization Inspector, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “I work with Cirrus Aircraft’s experimental department to inspect the installation of prototype builds and to ensure the safety of the aircraft for our test pilots, and I also issue the Certificate of Airworthiness to our production aircraft.”
How did you get into aviation: “I applied a long time ago as a wrench turner, and made my way to an FAA inspector! I started flying when I was 16 and helped my stepdad restore his 1940’s Champ.”
Why you enjoy your job: “I love working with airplanes, and watching our pilots and customers have confidence in my inspections as they fly safely is a pretty rewarding feeling.”
Mickie Naperala, Commodity Lead Senior, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Strategic sourcing, negotiations, supplier relationships.”
How did you get into aviation: “I’m always looking up!”
Why you enjoy your job: “The relationships I get to build and diverse amounts of interactions daily.”
Beth Duff, Regional Sales Director (Northern California, Northern Nevada, Hawaii), Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Responsible for selling new aircraft, servicing clients and being the ‘face of Cirrus Aircraft’ in my territory for all things related to aviation.”
How did you get into aviation: “My father introduced me to aviation when I was a child. He retired his career working as a Captain for United Airlines. He was formally trained in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force), and as a result, I was surrounded by aviation throughout my life.”
Why you enjoy your job: “My job allows me to share my love of aviation and Cirrus Aircraft with all those interested in aviation and Cirrus Aircraft. I enjoy meeting such incredible people, hearing their stories and representing what I believe is the best general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world. This position allows me to combine my love of aviation, my skills as a CFI, CFII and MEI and my previous background as a sales executive in order to represent this incredible lifestyle and aircraft. It is truly a privilege to be a part of this amazing company.”
Alysha Jussila, Financial Analyst, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Accounting for the fixed assets and leases at Cirrus.”
How did you get into aviation: “I have always enjoyed flying and was excited to get the opportunity to start my career at Cirrus right after graduating college.”
Why you enjoy your job: “Cirrus feels like a family. The day-to-day work of accounting can be mundane, but it’s the people that make the job fun.”
Linda Myers, Paint and Detail, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Schedule work for painters and detailers according to the schedule, train technicians and oversee operations on the floor.”
How did you get into aviation: “Enlisted in the United States Air Force as an aircraft mechanic after graduating high school.”
Why you enjoy your job: “We work as a team to ensure delivery aircraft are ready for the customers – we touch every aircraft delivered from Knoxville (TYS). Every day holds something different and an opportunity to make both aircraft and people shine!”
Ivy McIver, Director, SR Product Line, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Manage a team responsible for General Aviation industry analysis, marketing and sales support, competitive aircraft analysis, product pricing and packaging, and aircraft order and delivery forecasting relating to the SR Series product line. Oversee cross functional roadmap development for multiple piston product lines, and maintain efficient, effective communication between the Marketing Team, the Design Team, the Sales Team, and the Engineering Platform Team. Collaborate with key strategic supplier partners to identify opportunities for product enhancements, and work with the Platform & Marketing Teams to develop product requirements and objectives to define the future of the product line. Oversee strategic media relationships including product demonstrations, air-to-air photo and video missions, and aviation media support.”
How did you get into aviation: “I saw Top Gun (the first one) when I was little and decided I wanted to be a pilot. After college, I found a flight school and started taking lessons in a Piper Archer.”
Why you enjoy your job: “Every day is different. I work with smart, driven and passionate people who all share the goal of growing the general aviation industry. I work with the leaders in the industry, both within and outside of Cirrus, on a daily basis and I play a huge part in evolving the SR Series aircraft to continue to be the best-selling, most comfortable, safest, and most advanced single-engine piston aircraft on the market. On top of all that, I get to fly the plane all over the world and demonstrate the capabilities of the Cirrus to a wide variety of pilots and not-yet-pilots.”
Laura Henry, Executive Director, HR Business Partner, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Supporting employees and our leaders across all locations – employee relations, talent acquisition, engagement and retention, benefits and compensation.”
How did you get into aviation: “Opportunity at Cirrus was available when I was looking to leave my prior employer. Immediately fell in love with the people and culture of the company; plus it’s a really cool product!”
Why you enjoy your job: “The people!”
Jenna Achtzehn, Delivery Pilot, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Showing clients their new airplane for the first time.”
How did you get into aviation: “I took a discovery flight at my local airport and was hooked from there.”
Why you enjoy your job: “I love being around and flying new airplanes, and working with the best team and customers throughout the process.”
Anna Greatens, Propulsion Engineer, Cirrus Aircraft
Describe your position: “Some of the responsibilities for my position involve technical design of powerplant systems, creating 3D models and drawings, coordinating with suppliers, developing test plans for components and systems, and writing design and test reports.”
How did you get into aviation: “I went to school for mechanical engineering, but I had considered getting into the aviation industry since high school. I have always found aircraft interesting, and it is very cool to be able to be part of their design.”
Why you enjoy your job: “I really enjoy being able to be involved in every part of the design process and not just one portion of it. I like that I can be involved from the initial design, see installations be built and tested, and then, in the end, see a design come to completion and eventual certification.”
We look forward to connecting with you at the show! Please stop by our booth at #452. For career opportunities, please apply at cirrusaircraft.com/careers.