Although Rick Pelc is fairly new to Southwest Airlines, he is no stranger to the airline industry. Rick is one of thefolks Southwest luckily discovered when the carrier acquired AirTran Airways, and he officially became a Southwest Employee in March 2012. He currently works as a Station Director of Ground Operations and oversees all Southwest and AirTran ground operations in Atlanta, as well as ground operations at nine other stations. Rick grew up in Pittsburgh. Before working for AirTran and now Southwest, he was employed at US Airways for 26 years. His long career in the airline industry has taken his family to many different cities, the most recent being Atlanta. Rick and his wife, Claudia, celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in October. They have two grown children: Their son, Bob, lives in Philadelphia, and their daughter, Stephanie, resides in Fairfax, Virginia. Rick is a passionate golfer, and he and Claudia enjoy traveling. They have played golf at Pebble Beach, Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, and Harbour Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina. With a master’s degree in human resources, Rick prides himself on being a People-oriented Leader who ensures that Southwest supports its Employees positively. He stays involved in the industry and his community by serving on various boards, including the Atlanta Airport Area Chamber of Commerce and Atlanta Technical College, and he is an alumnus of Leadership Atlanta. “I’m very impressed with how the AirTran Employeeshave been welcomed into the Southwest Family,” Rick says. He is excited to be part of an organization with such incredible potential. “When I saw the first Southwest plane taxi to a gate in Atlanta, I realized this was a momentous occasion, and I was very proud to be a part of it. It’s exciting to see these two great airlines coming together.” This passion drives Rick every day, and his enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience are appreciated by his Southwest Coworkers. Rick, in light of all the places your career has taken you, we couldn’t be happier that you finally landed at Southwest. —Shelley Logan Although Rick Pelc is fairly new to Southwest Airlines, he is no stranger to the airline industry. Rick is one of the folks Southwest luckily discovered when the carrier acquired AirTran Airways, and he officially became a Southwest Employee in March 2012. He currently works as a Station Director of Ground Operations and oversees all Southwest and AirTran ground operations in Atlanta, as well as ground operations at nine other stations. Rick grew up in Pittsburgh. Before working for AirTran and now Southwest, he was employed at US Airways for 26 years. His long career in the airline industry has taken his family to many different cities, the most recent being Atlanta. Rick and his wife, Claudia, celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in October. They have two grown children: Their son, Bob, lives in Philadelphia, and their daughter, Stephanie, resides in Fairfax, Virginia. Rick is a passionate golfer, and he and Claudia enjoy traveling. They have played golf at Pebble Beach, Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, and Harbour Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina. With a master’s degree in human resources, Rick prides himself on being a People-oriented Leader who ensures that Southwest supports its Employees positively. He stays involved in the industry and his community by serving on various boards, including the Atlanta Airport Area Chamber of Commerce and Atlanta Technical College, and he is an alumnus of Leadership Atlanta. “I’m very impressed with how the AirTran Employeeshave been welcomed into the Southwest Family,” Rick says. He is excited to be part of an organization with such incredible potential. “When I saw the first Southwest plane taxi to a gate in Atlanta, I realized this was a momentous occasion, and I was very proud to be a part of it. It’s exciting to see these two great airlines coming together.” This passion drives Rick every day, and his enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience are appreciated by his Southwest Coworkers. Rick, in light of all the places your career has taken you, we couldn’t be happier that you finally landed at Southwest. —Shelley Logan
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Since we hired our eight Culture Ambassadors last May, these talented and creative folks have been hard at work spreading the famous Southwest LUV to Employees across the country. They have been traveling from coast to coast planning Employee appreciations; helping with Local Culture Committee meetings; hosting Frito chili pie fundraisers; and everything in between. In conjunction with the countless visits they've made to many of our Southwest Airlines cities, our Culture Ambassadors have been hard at work with their "Get Hooked" get-hooked-doc.pdfcampaign, which encourages Employees to become involved in the Local Culture Committees at their locations.
The life of a Culture Ambassador is never dull, and the variety of projects they work on is vast. I've included just one example from each Ambassador to show you the wide array of projects these folks work on!
Valerie, Dee Dee, & Davern, our Ground Operations Culture Ambassadors, along with Mallory, our Provisioning Ambassador, spearheaded an effort to show all of our Ground Ops and Provisioning Station Employees a little extra LUV this past Holiday season. With the help of several volunteers from HDQ Ground Operations, Central Baggage Services, Ground Ops Training, Provisioning, Culture Services, Marketing, and the Corporate Culture Committee, these Ambassadors assembled over 12,300 goodies bags for our Employees at our 64 cities. Now that's a lot of LUV!
Shelly, our Maintenance & Engineering Culture Ambassador, helped plan the annual Christmas Party for Maintenance Employees' children and grandchildren. This year's event took place on December 8, in Dallas, and there were approximately 1,000 people in attendance. The party was every child's dream come true, complete with fire truck rides; a petting zoo; pony rides; bounce houses; train rides; and, of course, Santa himself!
Lacey, our Inflight Culture Ambassador, along with our Las Vegas Inflight Base, participated in a Share the Spirit event with the Mayor's Office on December 17. Several of our SWA Flight Attendants spent the day playing host/hostess during the Mayor's Holiday Dinner for Senior Citizens. Over 400 People attended the event, and our Employees spread the Holiday cheer during dinner by singing with Flight Ops and Station Employees.
Char, our Flight Operations Culture Ambassador, helped orchestrate a "Cutting Edge" event in Baltimore/Washington, in which our Pilots work side by side with the Ramp Agents to better understand their daily duties. Southwest Airlines' Cutting Edge program has been in place for many years and provides a terrific opportunity for our Pilots and Ramp Agents to work together and better appreciate each other's jobs. Of course, every Southwest Airlines event includes food, and Cutting Edge is no exception...the Pilots also typically provide a great spread for their Coworkers!
Mallory, our Provisioning Culture Ambassador, along with Brody, our Reservations Culture Ambassador, created a virtual scavenger hunt for all Provisioning and Reservations Employees. The mission was to watch the "Tail of Southwest" history DVD and answer questions about the colorful history of Southwest Airlines. Winners received a trip to the San Diego Spirit Party in August! Not only was it a great way for Employees to learn about SWA's rich history and Culture, but it was also FUN!
Brody, our Reservations Culture Ambassador, helped his Department organize a charitable effort in lieu of exchanging gifts for the Holidays. The Reservations Department "adopted" two needy families for the Holidays, and provided them with gifts for all members of the families. After asking the families for a list of their needs and wants, our Reservations Employees donated a variety of items over the course of a month. Gifts given to the families included cash, gift cards, clothes, toys, MP3 players, a TV, a refrigerator, a queen sized bed frame with mattress set, and much more. Now that's what we call Living the Southwest Way.
As you can see, no two days are ever the same in the life of a Southwest Airlines Culture Ambassador. Whether it involves community service, Southwest Airlines history, appreciating our Coworkers, or just plane FUN, the "Great Eight" stay busy spreading the Southwest LUV to Employees and Customers across the nation. Thank you, Culture Ambassadors, for the terrific work you do each and every day. We LUV and appreciate you more than you know!
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...the Graphic Design and Creative Services Team! This small but mighty group works tirelessly to design Company posters, flyers, newsletters, and various publications. They are highly talented and specialized, and they save Southwest Airlines a lot of money by designing many of our creative publications inhouse. Please help us congratulate Sonia Avila, John Jones, Quyen Dong, and Trent Duran for their well-deserved win! You ARE the Heroes of our Hearts!
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It's time again for our annual Heroes of the Heart celebration, which is an event at Southwest Headquarters each Valentine's Day to honor a hardworking behind-the-scenes group of Employees. The nominations have been reviewed; the committee has voted; and the suspense has been building! Who will the deserving winners be this year? We will soon find out!
Past winners of this coveted award include:
2007: Internal Customer Care 2006: Legislative Awareness 2005: Schedule Planning 2004: People Benefits 2003: Fuel Management 2002: Finance Payroll 2001: Pass Bureau 2000: Revenue Management & Pricing 1999: Maintenance Control 1998: Systems 1997: Reservations Administrative Coordinators 1996: Customer Service Coordinators & FLIFO Agents 1995: Flight Ops & Inflight Planning, Scheduling, & Payroll 1994: Technical Services 1993: Station Administrative Coordinators
As you have probably learned, Southwest Airlines Employees LUV a reason to celebrate, and it is only fitting that Valentine's Day is a monumental occasion for the LUV Airline. If you're flying on Valentine's Day, you're sure to feel the LUV on our flights and at our airports across the nation. After all, what better way to show our appreciation for our Customers than with a little help from Cupid? Happy Valentine's Day!
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Just a note to our New Hires who are still in a pool or are still waiting to clear a background check: Messages to the Field are events that are really intended for our Active SWA Employees. (In fact, we require everyone to bring his/her SWA ID badge to each event!). So...if you're an active Employee at the time of the Message to the Field in your city, we would LUV to have you join us. If you're still waiting on a start date, we'll see you at next year's Message (or just as soon as you officially start working with us!). So sorry for any confusion...we're looking forward to having all of you on our Team one day soon!
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Brian - thank you for the kind note! It's definitely a Team effort, and we LUV doing it!
Carl - Our Culture Ambassadors are our newest addition to my Team, and are responsible for keeping the SWA Culture alive and well in each of our work groups. See my post from May titled "The Ambassadors of Culture!" for more details, and keep your eyes peeled for another blog soon with an update on what all of these hardworking and talented folks have been up to!
Billy - SWA Retirees are most definitely welcome, and we'd love to have you join us! Unfortunately, the fabulous prizes are only for our Active Employees, but we'd love to have you join the FUN!
Chris - we would LUV to have you join us at the BWI Message! As soon as you clear background, check SWALife for all of the details. Also, find out about the LUV at First Bite Luncheon, too! Welcome to the Family!
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It's time again for Southwest Airlines annual Employee Message to the Field events, and this year's Message is sure to be another informative and exciting event! The Message tour will kick off this year in Chicago, and our CEO, Gary Kelly, and President, Colleen Barrett, will visit a total of five Southwest cities before the grand finale in Dallas.
Southwest Airlines Message to the Field is kind of like the President's State of the Union address. It's a time for our Leaders to review the past year; state our goals for the upcoming year; and answer questions from Employees across the country. We hold these events in six cities, and typically have anywhere from 500 to 3,000 Employees attending.
As soon as we receive the dates for each of the Messages, our Team is responsible for many of the behind-the-scenes details. We reserve a venue in each city; coordinate shuttle service for our Employees; secure group rates for hotels; and work with our talented Graphic Design and Creative Services Department on posters to publicize the event to our 33,000+ Employees. No Southwest Airlines event would be complete without fabulous prizes, so we also work with our Pass Bureau Friends to collect several travel packages to give away to this year's lucky winners. The grand prize is the coveted trip to Seattle to pick up a brand-new Boeing 737!
The theme of this year's Message is "Every One Matters." It's important for us to remember how important each individual can be to the bottom line of our Company...whether we're talking about an individual Employee, a singular Customer, a solitary bag, just one minute, or even a single penny.
Our enthusiastic Culture Ambassadors will attend every Message and will be encouraging all Employees to "Get Hooked" into the famous Southwest Culture. In addition, our OnBoarding Team will host luncheons for our New Hires to celebrate the newest additions to our Southwest Family.
2008 is sure to be another exciting year for the LUV Airline, and what better way to kick it all off than with our annual Message? We're looking forward to seeing all of our hardworking and fun-LUVing Employees at a Message to the Field one day very soon!
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One of our Customers recently emailed us about a wall in Chicago Midway Airport that Southwest Airlines Employees have dedicated to our U.S. military service men and women. It is such a neat tribute that I thought you might enjoy seeing some photos of the wall. Have you seen other gates in Southwest cities that have been similarly decorated? We'd love to hear stories of how you've experienced Southwest Employees showing our LUV for the troops!
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On Friday, November 9, Southwest Airlines Employees gathered in front of our Headquarters building in Dallas, Texas, to honor two of our Fellow Employees who lost their lives while serving our country. Michael Fuga, Kansas City Provisioning Agent; and Charles Kitowski, Finance Ticketing Operations Analyst; were both killed while on active military duty in Afghanistan. In honor of our two fallen heroes, we planted a live oak tree on the front lawn of our Headquarters campus. Beside the tree is a granite stone that reads ... In LUVing memory of our Fellow Employees who gave their lives while serving our country. Sgt. Charles B. Kitowski III, U. S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael T. Fuga, Army National Guard Dedicated Veterans Day 2007. Our President, Colleen Barrett, and our CEO, Gary Kelly, both spoke at the ceremony, which was concluded by a touching rendition of ”God Bless America” by Valerie La Grone. We were honored that the families of both Michael and Charles joined us for this touching tribute. On this Veterans Day, we salute our Friends and Family who are serving, or who have served, in the military, and we honor those who have fought to ensure our freedom. We are so appreciative of the sacrifices these men and women have made, and we also honor their loved ones. Below is a video honoring one of these men, Charles Kitowski.
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Nikki - Don't give up! Sometimes it's just a matter of timing...making sure that we have an opening that fits your background. Please know that our hardworking Recruiters are doing their best to find the best folks for all of our openings! You are right...everything happens for a reason, and when it's meant to be, it will happen! =)
Tim - As I told Nikki, don't give up! Keep checking www.southwest.com for job openings that match your qualifications. Many, many SWA Employees interviewed time and time again before landing a job at SWA. We are fortunate to receive an overwhelming amount of resumes (approx. 250,000 each year!) and we are able to hire only a small percentage of those folks who apply (last year we hired just under 4,000 People!). So...please don't get discouraged...it isn't easy to get hired, but it is worth the wait. Many People get their foot in the door with an entry-level position and then move around the Company (I'm living proof!).
I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of you, but please keep on doing what you're doing...and be sure to keep checking www.southwest.com for the latest and greatest openings!
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I am a prime example of the fact that Southwest Airlines gives its Employees the Freedom to move around the Company. I've been at Southwest for nearly seven years, during which time I've held three very different jobs.
I started my career at Southwest as a Recruiter. While in the People Department, I interviewed candidates for open positions in Finance and Internal Audit here at Headquarters. I enjoyed meeting potential New Hires, and I loved being the first point of contact for the folks who were hired at Southwest. I can honestly say that the hardworking People in the People Department are some of the best folks with whom I've had the honor to work. Plus, one of the perks of being a Recruiter is that it's a terrific way to meet People. I still see familiar faces every day around Headquarters that I met during my Recruiting days.
After nearly two years in Employment, I decided I was ready for a change and interviewed for the Compensation Analyst opening. The hiring Managers (and later two of my favorite bosses), Brent Wolfe and Michael Curtis, are true believers in the "hire for attitude and train for skill" mantra, and thankfully they decided to give me a shot. Although I did not have previous Compensation experience, they taught me the trade of evaluating job responsibilities; completing market surveys; and helping to administer Southwest's salary administration program. Needless to say, I learned a lot during my tenure in Compensation, and I grew to LOVE Excel spreadsheets!
After over three years of analyzing and evaluating, it was once again time for me to "move my cheese." I had spent most of my career thus far in human resources, and was ready for a career change. One great thing about SWA is that you can change careers without changing companies! SoÃ¢â‚¬¦when fellow blogger Sunny Abercrombie posted an opening for a Culture Activities Rep, I thought I'd be crazy not to apply.
Here I am, nearly two years later, and I still pinch myself when I come to work. Our Team's primary responsibility is to keep the Southwest Culture strong by planning Spirit Parties, Messages to the Field, and the Annual Awards Banquet. In addition, we support the Local and Corporate Culture Committees in their quests to enrich the SOUTHWEST SPIRIT in their departments at a local level. I'm happy to report that I feel like I've finally found my niche.
I'd love to hear stories about other SWA job hoppersÃ¢â‚¬¦where did you start your career? And where are you now?
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If you're a food junkie and often find yourself checking out the Food Network as you're channel surfing, then you've probably seen a show called Ace of Cakes. Duff Goldman is the Baker/Owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Maryland, and he and his Team create some of the most amazing cakes I've seen.
So, what does Duff have to do with Southwest Airlines? Well, back in May when we were planning our Spirit Party at Camden Yards in Baltimore, one of our Customer Service Agents, Lisa, thought it would be cool to see if Duff and Team could reproduce our unique Maryland One plane with batter and icing. To make a long story short, Duff and his Team came through with 'flying' colors (red, white, yellow, and black, to be exact).
The true "icing on the cake" was that Duff himself delivered the cake to the party! The Ace of Cakes film crew was on hand to interview our very own Marilee McInnis, and the big reveal aired last Thursday. The episode is titled, "Wishes Granted" and also has another great story about how Duff and his Team made a little girl's Make-a-Wish Foundation dream come true by inviting her to join them in the bakery.
If you missed the show last week, check out the Food Network's website for additional air times.
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Yes, unfortunately, this was "our" Charles who was killed Sunday in Afghanistan. We are all in shock and mourning, and will miss him dearly. Please send your thoughts and prayers to Charles' family and his girlfriend, Berri, who is also a Southwest Employee. Words cannot express how sad we are...Charles was truly one of the kindest, most genuine, thoughtful, and FUN people I had ever met. I am a better person for having known him, and our lives will never be the same. We LUV you and will miss you, Charles.
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Once again, Southwest Airlines Employees showed their SOUTHWEST SPIRIT by volunteering their time at the North Texas Food Bank during Hunger Awareness Day. On Tuesday, June 5, 80 Employees donned their Share the Spirit T-shirts; loaded on buses; and headed to the North Texas Food Bank for a day of packing meals for those less fortunate. Thanks to volunteers from Southwest, KPMG, and EDS, the Food Bank was able to provide 162,500 meals to those in need.
This was an extra special day for the folks at the North Texas Food Bank, as they celebrated their 25th Anniversary, and their recently completed renovation and expansion. Hunger Awareness Day, once again, reminded us of those in need, and Southwest Employees were proud to be part of this terrific cause.
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Personally, I love it when our Pilots chat on the PA...especially when it's small tidbits of interesting information (i.e.: "On the left hand side of the aircraft, you can see the Grand Canyon..." or "The score of the Cowboys game at halftime is..."
One of my favorites was when I had just boarded a flight bound for Austin, and our Captain got on the PA and said, "Well, folks, it's an hour and a half flight to Kansas City." Just when I started to second-guess myself and worry that I had accidentally boarded the wrong flight, he came back on and said, "but we're not worried about that b/c we're going to Austin!" It was pretty funny, and those of us who were paying attention got a pretty big chuckle. Keep up the great work! 😃
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I couldn't agree more, Jim. We had heard that same request from several of our Employees and/or friends & family members who are serving overseas, which is why we decided to collect stuff for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan, too. Kudos to Marissa, our summer intern, who originally made the suggestion to incorporate the kids' stuff into our LUV Rations drive! (Be sure to check out her post from a few days ago, Interning With LUV)!
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At the end of June, I posted Let Freedom DING!, which described a few of the FUN initiatives that Southwest Airlines had planned for the Independence Day Holiday. We've reached the end of our Share the Spirit efforts, and I thought I'd give a quick update to share the exciting results!
Operation Phone Home: We announced this program on June 28 at the 500th Aircraft DeliveryÃ¢â‚¬¦Let Freedom DING! celebration. Our goal was to raise $20,000, in order to donate pre-paid calling cards for U.S. troops through the USO. Little did we know what a huge success this program would be! On our first day of collections, we raised $5,621! We reached our $20,000 goal on July 6, and because of the enormous success of the program, we decided to extend the donation deadline until Tuesday, July 31. We have now raised a total of more than $55,000, which will purchase nearly 4,000 300-unit calling cards (a total of over one million units!) for our heroes overseas. I'd like to extend a heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone who has donated to this terrific cause.
LUV Rations: On June 28, we also kicked off LUV Rations, our Companywide supply drive for the troops. We divided the country into nine sections and assigned each Department in each Location one specific item (foot powder, razors/shaving cream; hard candy; sunscreen; wipes; soap/deodorant; crew socks; toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss; and powdered drink mix). In addition, several of our very generous vendors donated additional items, including playing cards, pens, note pads, envelopes, and even the boxes in which these items will be shipped (a special thanks to Catalyst Marketing, Office Depot, and Lovan Industries!). In addition to the troops' supplies, we also collected items for children in Iraq and Afghanistan... we had countless donations of stuffed animals, activity books, colored pencils, chalk, and various games and toys.
On Wednesday, August 1, we sorted and organized all of these donated items, and on Thursday, August 2, the Corporate Culture Committee packed each of the items for the troops into individual goodie bags. Each bag also contains a handwritten note from a Southwest Airlines Employee. All in all, we packed over 1,000 individual goodie bags, and over 60 boxes of items for the children in Iraq and Afghanistan! On Friday, August 3, thanks to Dallas-based Mechanic (and my personal hero), Dale Dixon; several members of the Navy Reserves came with a military truck to pickup our donations. We had around 50 Southwest Employees, including several who have served in the military, loading the boxes onto the truck. Hundreds of additional Southwest Employees wore their red T-shirts; lined the fence; waved American flags; and cheered as the truck drove the supplies back to the military base. From there, a military plane will deliver our LUV Rations to our U.S. heroes serving in the Middle East on the first available opportunity.
In my nearly seven years at Southwest, this project has been one of my hands-down favorites. I can't think of a more deserving group to support than the heroes serving our country and defending our country's Freedoms. Watching our Employees come together as one huge Team to make this effort happen makes me proud to work for such an incredible Company. Thank you, Southwest Airlines Employees, Customers, Family, and FriendsÃ¢â‚¬¦for helping us to Share the Spirit and show our LUV and support to our country's heroes.
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Marissa, you have done such a fantastic job for us this summer and I will miss having you around! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and great ideas. You have been such an asset to our Team, and I hope that you'll be working at SWA fulltime one day soon! LUV you!!
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WOW!! Another great Awards Banquet at Southwest Airlines. I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Awards Banquet this year as it was also my ten-year anniversary with the GREATEST Company in the WORLD. Before the banquet started, we all had the opportunity to walk down memory lane and check out the many variations of the uniforms that our Customer contact Employees wore. Then it was time to eat!
The night started out with some words of encouragement from our very own Colleen Barrett followed by a fabulous dinner of steak and crab cakes smothered in a creamy, shrimp sauce. Then I made myself sick on dessert which was a chocolate and white mousse cake with whipped cream and raspberries! Can you say "YUM!"?
Herb, Gary, and Colleen then presented awards to the President's Award winners from each department followed by Herb presenting this years Founder's Award. The Founder's Award was presented to the remaining 17 original Employees at Southwest Airlines. I personally would like to thank them ALL for fighting the good fight those many years ago so that the almost 32,000 Employees now have a place to work, a place to play, and a place that we can hopefully retire from! Once the awards portion ended we were treated to some entertainment which was hilarious as it took us back in time like a time capsule celebrating the music and the triumphs of the last 10, 20, 25, 30, and 35 years here at Southwest Airlines. Then it was time to PARTY! We had a great band, and we all hit the dance floor. I asked how many people were there and I think it was close to 2700 people in attendance.
Thanks to Colleen and the Culture Chicks (Sunny, Lori, Mary Ann, Lacey, and Marilyn), as well as to all of the Volunteers that made this party a TOTAL BLAST!
I look forward to many years to come! Cheers!
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Southwest Airlines gives me the Freedom to be myself; the Freedom to have FUN at work; and the Freedom to visit my family more often than I would otherwise be able to. Southwest has also offered me the opportunity to have three very different (and all exciting!) jobs; it has allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things; and it has given me some of the most amazing experiences of my life. This Company has introduced me to some of my dearest friends; and has given me the Freedom to travel to fun, new places with my friends and family. But most of all, I LUV this Company because it gives me the Freedom to be me!
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If you fly Southwest Airlines over the 4th of July holiday, you'll notice that the LUV Airline will be celebrating Independence Day in a big way. Here are a few FUN things you can look for when you travel in July!
If you fly Southwest on July 2, look for all kinds of fun, festive decorations inside our airplanes. You might also see some patriotic decorations at our airport gates - part of a Companywide gate decorating contest! On July 4th, we'll be handing out American flag stickers to all of our Customers. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for special Independence Day trivia and games tooÃ¢â‚¬¦our Employees might be testing your knowledge and/or singing ability!
Another way we are celebrating our Country's independence is by showing our LUV to our troops overseas. Starting on June 28, we are coordinating a Companywide supply drive, called "LUV Rations," for our troops. Employees across the country will work together to collect certain items, which will then be combined into individual goodie bags for our soldiers. Each bag will also contain a hand-written note from one of our Employees.
In addition to "LUV Rations," we are also working with the USO to provide a website where Employees can donate money to Operation Phone Home. Once we reach our goal of $20,000, the USO will send pre-paid phone cards with the Southwest Airlines logo to troops overseas. If you'd like to contribute to this very worthy cause, please visit our link on our Share the Spirit web page on www.southwest.com.
We LUV to celebrate anything and everything at the LUV Airline, and we're especially excited to celebrate our Country's birthday in a big way! Happy Birthday, AmericaÃ¢â‚¬¦let Freedom DING!
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Rachel, word on the street is that the cake will be on Ace of Cakes on the Food Network in July/August...keep your eyes peeled! Don't worry...the film crew only filmed the first 20 minutes of the party. 😃
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Our Culture Services Team in the Executive Office is dedicated solely to ensuring that the Culture of Southwest Airlines is alive and well. In order to fulfill our mission, a few of our duties include: coordinating the yearly Messages to the Field; planning Spirit Parties; writing and responding to Employee commendations; organizing the Company's Annual Awards Banquet, and supporting our Corporate and Local Culture Committees.
To better service our Internal Customers across the country, we recently created several new positions called Culture Ambassadors, which are exactly what their title impliesÃ¢â‚¬¦representatives in each of our operating departments whose primary responsibility is nurturing the SOUTHWEST SPIRIT. These Ambassadors will help to ensure that our Local Culture Committees have the resources they need to foster the Southwest Culture at each of their Locations; they will plan and coordinate Departmental celebrations and appreciations; and they will act as a liaisons between the field offices and Headquarters.
Please help us welcome the newest members of our Culture Services Team: Mallory Messina (Provisioning Culture Ambassador); Brody Zucker (Reservations Culture Ambassador); Lacey Waldrep (Inflight Culture Ambassador); Shelly Wright (Maintenance & Engineering Culture Ambassador); and Dee Dee Dover, Davern Sandoval, and Valerie La Grone (all Ground Ops Culture Ambassadors). We are thrilled to announce our newest Teammates, and we have no doubt that they will be plenty busy carrying out this most important mission!
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(Note, what Shelley isn't telling you is that she was the primary planner for the Baltimore Spirit Party. Way to go, Shelley!)
Twice a year, Southwest Airlines invites all 32,000+ Employees to eat, drink, and yesÃ¢â‚¬¦party! Our President, Colleen Barrett, selects the cities and the dates, and then hands it over to Sunny Abercrombie and Team to coordinate the details.
Our most recent Spirit Party took place on Wednesday, May 2, in Baltimore at the legendary Camden Yards. The weather was perfect; the Anheuser-Busch beverages were free-flowing; and the food was the perfect mix of ballpark fare and Maryland favorites.
More than 2,200 Employees attended the event (keep in mind that someone has to run the airline!), and it seemed at one point like all of them were on the dance floor! The band, BiggerBetterFasterMore, played every dance song imaginable, and covered artists ranging from the Commodores to Aerosmith; from BareNaked Ladies to Kool & the Gang; from Neil Diamond to 50 Cent, and just about everything in between.
One of the highlights of the event was the Maryland One cake, which was made and hand-delivered by none other than the Ace of Cakes himself, Duff Goldman, from Charm City Cakes. Not only was it a spitting image replica of our real-life airplane, but it was also delicious!
Our friends at the Orioles and Aramark (the catering company) were perfect hosts, offering "behind-the-scenes" tours of the Oriole Park and autographs by the MVP first baseman, Boog Powell. Colleen, our President, and Gary Kelly, our CEO, were also on hand enjoying themselves while meeting and greeting Employees.
All in all, it was a fantastic night. We LUVed seeing everyone there and look forward to partying with our Fun-LUVing Employees at the next Spirit Party in San Diego!
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On Sunday, April 1, a group of enthusiastic Southwest Employees woke up early to cheer on the runners participating in the Big D Texas Marathon in Dallas. Armed with pom-poms, giant foam "#1" fingers; airplane hats; and motivational signs; our Team did its best to encourage the runners as they neared their goal of 26.2 miles.
Our water station was at mile 21, which was the last water stop for the marathon runners before crossing the finish line. Needless to say, most runners were very appreciative of the water, Gatorade, candy, and encouragement we provided! Just for volunteering to host the water station, we raised $300 for the SWA Employee Catastrophic Assistance Charity!
Cheering for marathoners holds a special place in my heart. I ran my first marathon in April 2004 before my 30th birthday, and I ran my second (NYC) later that year. I've since given up marathon running but have adopted cheering for marathon runners as my new favorite hobby. I'll never forget how much it meant to me to have friends, family, and countless other supporters there cheering me on!
Congratulations to everyone who finished the Big D Texas Marathon...what an accomplishment!
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We at the LUV airline are a patriotic bunch. We LUV our country; we give America the Freedom to fly; and we support our troops who fight for our country's many freedoms.
One way we express our LUV is by encouraging our Employees to wear red shirts on Fridays to show our support for the troops. In addition, our Internal Customer Care Team (this year's Heroes of the Heart!) sends LUV packages to all of our Employees or immediate family members who are called for military service. Many times, individual departments also keep in touch with Employees who have been called for military duty.
The attached photos show several of our Southwest Airlines Family Members who are currently serving overseas. Mike Clanton is the husband of my friend, Tina, who works as a Recruiter in the People & Leadership Development Department. Mike is in the Marine Corps Reserves and has been serving in northwest Iraq, near the Syrian border, since early November. Several departments have 'adopted' Mike during his deployment, and have sent goodies for him, as well as backpacks, school supplies and shoes for Iraqi children.
Another friend of mine who is currently serving overseas is a SWA Finance Department Employee named Charles Kitowski. His girlfriend, Berri, also a Southwest Employee, works in our Flight Operations Department as a Crew Accommodations Specialist. Charles left in January for Afghanistan and will be there until November. Here are a few photos that he sent to us recently. If you look closely at the photo titled "My Room," the photo in the calendar on his wall is of Charles and Berri from our trip to Seattle in August to pick up a new 737 (see Sunny's blog, "Can We Bottle That Smell?")
Another great story came to us from Bernadette Maldonado, a Baltimore-based Flight Attendant, who was also deployed to Afghanistan in January of this year. Shortly after arriving, she met Bill Mountcastle, another SWA Employee, who works as a BWI-based Pilot! They had not met each other before, but both found comfort in the fact that they had a Fellow SWA Employee serving alongside them! Attached are some photos that Bernadette sent to her friends at home.
I'm so grateful to all of these folks for serving our country, and I'm proud to call them my friends. It makes my heart happy to know that even though they are far away from home, they can feel the LUV we're sending their way.
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I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but I have to admit, my pet peeve is loud cell phone talkers...especially when the F/As have told them that it's time to hang up and they just can't stop talking! One of my favorite announcements is "If you have a cell phone, we are impressed, but time to turn them off..."
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