Spirits high as UMES signs agreement with Alaska Air

PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- Izaiah Brown, a University of Maryland Eastern Shore Sophomore, knew at 7 years old what he wanted to do in life.

“I just want to fly in general, just be able to fly, but I just want to keep going and do as much as I can,” Brown said.

Luckily for him, with the help of the university and a new partnership with Alaska Air, the sky is the limit.

“I am very proud and it all starts with the instructors and teachers because they are our foundation and they got us to where we are now,” Brown said.

On Monday, UMES signed a formal agreement with Alaska Air and discussed a plan that will help aviation science program graduates who want to become pilots.

“I feel like this will bring a lot more people in and make the environment a lot different,” Brown said.

“The spirit here is great, the people here are great, the commitment to their students, commitment to excellence, commitment to safety,” Ron Limes, Seattle Base Chief Pilot for Alaska Air, said.

Brown and the Alaska Air group said their spirits are high for a partnership like this one to take off, and are hopeful the impact that comes from it will make a difference.

“Sponsoring pilots is one, internships in the summer coming out to Seattle intern for us and of course job placement,” Limes said. “Trying to break down or knock down some of those financial barriers that typically prevent African Americans or of pilots of color from entering this career field.”

Another goal is strengthening and diversifying the pilot group.

“You can learn something from everyone and you never know what anyone can bring to the table, somebody might be good at a skill that you may lack on and they can help you with it, diversity is key,” Brown said.

Although this partnership is just getting started, we’re told a relationship like this one will hopefully keep flying high into the future.

“We won’t see the fruit of this for 4 to 5 years, maybe 6 years, but what we are looking for is a partnership which is a win-win, hopefully we bring as much value to UMES as they are going to bring to Alaska Air group,” Limes said.

Categories: Local News, Maryland