Darrin Marks started at Southwest Airlines 19 years ago. After receiving a warm welcome to the Company and experiencing its legendary Culture, he knew he was at home. Darrin brings his expert knowledge about aircraft structures to his role as a Maintenance Supervisor and works closely with Southwest’s Phoenix-based Mechanics to ensure that planes are ready for takeoff.
Always one to put others first, Darrin is often recognized by his peers for his strength as a Servant Leader. “Darrin leads his Teams with professionalism, compassion, and humor,” says Mike Everly, Manager of Line Maintenance. “He exemplifies the characteristics of a great Southwest Employee: a Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart, and Fun-LUVing Attitude.”
This year, Darrin was accepted into the Manager in Training program, a high honor for top-performing Southwest Supervisors, Managers, and Team Leaders looking to continue their Leadership growth. “Doing things the Southwest Way is not necessarily always the easy way,” Darrin says. “Delivering positive Leadership, maintaining a strong work ethic, and creating a satisfying work environment takes a little more work, but it’s what has kept our Culture alive and well all these years.”
Another staple of Southwest’s Culture is sharing delicious food with Coworkers, and Darrin is known for serving Team Phoenix his specialty: pulled pork. His wife and three children are fans of his culinary skills too, and the family enjoys spending time trying out new recipes. They also use their flight benefits to travel to Southwest’s international destinations, such as the Bahamas or Cancún, to go scuba diving.
Whether he’s cooking up a fun event for his Team or overseeing a repair project, Darrin goes above and beyond in all that he does. Thanks for sharing your kindhearted spirit, Darrin!
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Whether he’s camping under the stars, biking up mountains, or traveling to state parks, Brad Foote LUVs being outdoors. It comes as no surprise that he has felt at home on an airport tarmac since the first day he set foot on one. "Working on the ramp is the ideal job for me. Even in bad weather, it beats working an office job," Brad says. "My dad worked in aviation, and I listened to him talk about the business while I was growing up. I knew I would someday work for an airline." Brad joined the Southwest Family at the Portland International Airport (PDX) in August 1997. As a Ramp Agent, he ensures that Customers’ bags are loaded onto the correct aircraft and enjoys sharing his kindhearted spirit with Customers as he collects strollers and wheelchairs to be loaded into the plane’s belly. "Not only do I get to talk to Customers and Employees, but I get to assist those who need a little extra help getting on and off the aircraft," Brad says. From the beginning, Brad’s friendly disposition and dedicated work ethic quickly earned him the reputation of a top Employee at PDX. Several times, he’s been honored as Agent of the Quarter—a distinction that’s well-deserved. "Brad has had perfect attendance during his nearly 16-year career at Southwest Airlines," says PDX Station Manager Brendan Korsgren. "He helps his Peers in all Departments while still taking care of his regular duties. Brad’s energy and passion have made him a great asset to Team PDX and Southwest." Brad’s Warrior Spirit and Servant’s Heart shine outside of work, too. He and his wife, Shannon, have been married for 14 years, and they are the proud parents of two dogs they adopted from an animal shelter. Whether he’s hiking around Portland with his four-legged friends or sharing a laugh in a Southwest Breakroom, Brad is always surrounded by those he LUVs. "I’m very proud to work for Southwest because they have always treated me like Family," Brad says. "And that means a lot to me."
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Whether it’s with her smile or sense of humor, Akron-Canton (CAK) Operations Agent Vicky Horne ensures that Customers boarding her flights are always in a cheerful mood. With a restaurant background, providing great Customer Service—both Internally and Externally—comes naturally to Vicky. “I LUV how everyone in the Company has the same desire for a great and FUN work environment,” Vicky said. “We are all different and come from different backgrounds, but regardless, we all make the most of work and help each other when times are tough, even if it’s with just a laugh.” If Herb Kelleher is ever on one of her flights, Vicky is prepared to get a few chuckles from SWA’s legendary funnyman, too. “If I ever met Herb, I would ask him a couple of things,” Vicky said. “Why is Wild Turkey your favorite bourbon? Would you like to arm wrestle me for a bottle? And when can you come drink it with us here at CAK?’” Vicky first brought her kindhearted SPIRIT to the AirTran Family in December 2011. When Southwest began service at CAK, she applied for a SWA Operations Agent position and officially transferred in September 2012. Although still relatively new to the airline industry, Vicky’s AirTran experience made her an instrumental resource for her Fellow Operations Employees. “Vicky has fantastic enthusiasm, knowledge, and a can-do attitude,” said CAK Operations Supervisor Brian Kelly. “She is a pleasure to work with.” Building meaningful relationships with people is certainly a passion for Vicky, as is displaying her dedication to excellence. “I take a lot of pride in my work: in getting flights out ontime and in making as many people as I can step onto a plane smiling,” Vicky said. “It’s nice to work for a Company that appreciates and reciprocates that same sense of pride and appreciation in their Employees.” We’re glad you’re a Member of our Southwest Family, Vicky! Learn even more about our Fun-LUVing CoHeart in the Q&A below! 1. Tell us about your family. I have a beautiful little girl, Zoey, whose attitude definitely mirrors mine! 2. Share an interesting story about yourself. I am a huge Cleveland Browns Fan (regardless of their performance). Being a die-hard fan, on December 10, 2009, I tailgated all day and went to the stadium in the minus-14-degree wind chill to see the Browns beat the Steelers. Honestly, that doesn’t happen often, and even though I couldn’t feel my arms or legs, it was worth it! Needless to say, on Sundays I always tell Pittsburg Steelers fans that they board last (Don’t worry, I always follow that with a “just kidding!”)! 3. What do you like to do when you’re not at work? I like to cook and bake, as well as spend time with family and friends. I LUV to make people feel special and laugh, which means I’m usually getting in some sort of trouble. All in good FUN though!
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James Clapé, Administrative Supervisor of Customer Service at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), is known for going the extra mile—both figuratively and literally. Throughout his 17-year career at Southwest Airlines, he has saved the day for many Customers, even when it meant dashing across the airport in record time to get a wedding dress to a bride-to-be preparing to board an international flight.
“A Customer’s bag was misplaced, and she was going to a little town in South America to get married,” James said. “She only spoke Spanish, so I helped her. She told me that her wedding gown was in the missing bag. I located the bag in Oakland (OAK). However, the next flight from OAK was scheduled to arrive 45 minutes before her international flight.”
With the Customer in tears, and the next flight to her destination not departing until two days later, James promised to reunite her with the bag before she left.
“I met the plane, got the bag, ran like I had never run before, and gave her the bag,” James said. “The other airline agent took the bag, checked it right away, and put it on the plane. The Customer could not believe that an airline employee would go to so much trouble to get her bag to her. She gave me a huge hug and asked me what she could do to pay me back for what I did. She had tears in her eyes. I told her I was very happy that I was able to help her and that I wanted her to enjoy her wedding day to the fullest. It made me feel so good to bring so much happiness to a person.”
James has been delivering Positively Outrageous Service his entire career at Southwest. He started in October 1995 as a LAX Customer Service Agent. In January 1997, he was promoted to Customer Service Supervisor. Within this Leadership role, James has served as a floor Supervisor, BSO Supervisor, and for the past ten years has been the Administrative Supervisor.
“Being an Admin Supervisor can be a thankless job, as you're always behind the scenes,” said Melissa Chun, LAX Manager of Station Administration. “But James doesn't work for the ‘glory.’ He truly cares about the Company and his Fellow Employees, as is evident in his strong work ethic and perfect attendance record.” Because of his superb efforts, James has been honored as an Agent of the Quarter and Supervisor of the Quarter. He has also been a spokesperson for the LAX Southwest operation on the news several times. Being on camera comes naturally to James. Prior to joining the SWA Family, James was a professional model and actor in Barcelona, Spain, which is his hometown. When he was 18, he even starred in a commercial with Shirley MacLaine. Although he’s currently not performing, he still maintains a passion for the entertainment industry. “I enjoy writing, and I’m currently writing a sitcom,” James said. “I also LUV sports, such as playing tennis, skiing, and running.” James displays his Fun-LUVing SPIRIT on a daily basis. This attitude, combined with his dedication to our Customers and Company, has made him an integral part of the LAX Team. “He helps at Culture Events, such as our Station BBQs and charity golf tournament, and is very cost-conscious,” Melissa said. “He works creatively to staff our operation to need, while minimizing overtime. We’re lucky to have James!”
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Leprechauns are known for their mischievous pranks, but one with a Fun-LUVing Attitude joined the ranks at Southwest and AirTran during St. Patrick’s Day weekend! From working hard to playing hard, our “Flat Pat” had a memorable time exploring the ins and outs of the airline business. Check out these photos from some of his favorite adventures! Chicago Midway Provisioning Agents Latoya Williams and Mary Lebarre hang out with Flat Pat in the liquor store room. Flat Pat in Ft. Myers shows his Servant’s Heart and ensures our Customers checking in all have their names and telephone numbers on their checked luggage. Flat Pat welcomes Customers onboard with a little help from Oakland-based Flight Attendant Judy Heddlesten. Flat Pat went to Austin, walked around, made new friends, felt the LUV and the music, and was a changed man...a red-headed stranger if you will. As Willie Nelson (with his guitar), Flat Pat prepares to board the plane! Flat Pat makes a splash with Dallas-based Flight Attendant Rebecca Hickey during Overwater Training. Flat Pat kisses his middle seat goodbye at Greenville-Spartanburg, thanks to upgraded boarding! For only $40, he was able to upgrade to an A1-15 boarding pass. Thanks to Corey Pettit for wrangling photos with me!
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When Steve Langhart, Southwest Cargo Customer Service Manager, describes Houston Hobby (HOU) Ramp Agent Tan Nguyen, the first word he uses is Warrior. The description is well deserved, in both his personal and professional life.
Tan was born in Vietnam and was drafted into the South Vietnamese Air Force as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. After seven years of service, Tan was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War.
“They used many methods of torture against me and my fellow prisoners,” Tan said. “I escaped many times and was recaptured many times. Braving hunger, thirst, and even death, I was one of the lucky boat people who managed to escape to freedom in Thailand.”
After moving from Thailand to Indonesia to Singapore, Tan was granted admission into the United States in September 1982. With his flying background, Tan was interested in pursuing a career in aviation and came across Southwest in the phone book.
“Every week, I sent letters to Herb's office regarding my interest in applying for a position as a Pilot until I got an answer telling me that I still needed a commercial flight license and a 737-type rating before I could be considered for the job,” Tan said. “I didn't have enough money to acquire the training needed. I sent Herb another letter telling him that I desperately wanted and needed a job, and that I would take any job available. At the time, I had been mugged of all my money and needed what little income I could get. Finally, in March of 1983, I received a letter from Herb's office for a chance at a job interview.”
Tan traveled to Dallas for an interview. There, he met with a Chief Pilot, who also flew in the Vietnam War, along with a People Department Representative. Although he learned that he still couldn’t afford a commercial license, Tan was interested in other opportunities within the Company.
“The interviewer invited me to have lunch with him,” Tan said. “I was wary, for I had no money to pay for my share. He told me that it was on him, and I accepted his offer. Afterwards, he had my ID made.”
Tan was hired on April 1, 1983, as a HOU Provisioning Agent. He worked in Provisioning for five years before transferring to HOU Ramp. Currently, he works in the freight warehouse.
“Tan ensures our Customers are greeted with a big smile and given expedited service,” Steve said. “As the primary warehouse person, his organization skills have set a very high standard for all to follow. Tan can be found routinely keeping the entire facility clean and assisting Customers with loading and unloading shipments. He can also be counted on to translate Vietnamese with this very important Customer base.”
Tan has been honored numerous times throughout his career for his work ethic and integrity. Even when he was still relatively new to the Company, Tan was named Provisioner of the Year. With his $100 cash reward, he treated his Department to homemade Vietnamese eggrolls. One of his favorite memories, though, was when he helped return a valuable piece of luggage to an anxious Customer.
“I was passing by the breezeway in Concourse B at about eight or nine at night when I noticed a Customer's dropped luggage,” Tan said. “I saw that the suitcase had opened and that large sums of money in the case had fallen out. I immediately notified the Ramp Supervisor of the situation. He and I gathered all of the money into the suitcase and brought it into his office, where he made an emergency report. A few weeks later, I received memos from my Supervisor, Hobby's Station Manager, Jim Wimberly, Herb, and Colleen, all commending me for my honesty and prompt action.”
When Tan isn’t busy supporting his Southwest Family and Customers, he enjoys gardening, fishing for flounder in the Gulf of Mexico, and sharing stories about his wife and two children, who are both successful doctors. No doubt they learned about dedication and passion from their proud father.
“Warrior Sprit runs so very deep with Tan,” Steve said. “We are incredibly fortunate to have him our Team.”
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Starting a new job often invokes mixed feelings of excitement and intimidation. At Southwest, though, we’re known for making everyone feel like an important part of the Team from day one. At the Nashville International Airport (BNA), our new Employees quickly find a friend and mentor upon meeting Operations Supervisor McQuiddy Bragg. Since 2001, McQuiddy has served as a BNA Station Training Supervisor, and welcoming New Hires is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“I enjoy introducing new Employees to Southwest Airlines and giving them the tools to succeed,” McQuiddy said. “Also, the training world is constantly changing, and I like the challenge of keeping up-to-date with the most current information and delivering it to existing Employees.”
On June 6, 1987, McQuiddy was a Southwest New Hire himself. While he was in school, he worked for a baggage delivery service and another airline, where he met several Southwest Employees. He liked the Company atmosphere, so after he graduated, he applied for a job. McQuiddy began his SWA career as a BNA Ramp Agent, and a year later moved to work at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). While in PHX, he joined the Operations Team. He again headed west in February 1991, when he transferred to San Diego International Airport (SAN) and was quickly promoted to SAN Operations Supervisor. McQuiddy then moved back to PHX as an Operations Supervisor in July 1992. He remained at the Station until September 1998, when he returned to BNA.
“After 25 years with Southwest, I have so many memories; it is really hard to narrow it down to one favorite,” McQuiddy said. “Southwest has given me, a person from a small town in Tennessee, the opportunity to work and live all across the country and make many fabulous friends.”
One Fellow Employee who is fortunate not only to work alongside McQuiddy, but also to call him a friend, is BNA Operations Supervisor Johnny Miller.
“McQuiddy is a go-getter and does whatever is needed to get the job done without any complaints at all,” Johnny said. “When needed, and if training and Operations Admin duties allow, McQuiddy freely jumps in to help fill any voids that the Operations Supervisor Group may be experiencing. McQuiddy could easily just be an Operations Supervisor and let some other Supervisors take over these jobs, but he has basically taken on two jobs at once and runs with it. This not only sets an example to the New Hires whom he trains, but it is also a sense of inspiration to his fellow Supervisors that have been with the Company for a number of years.”
McQuiddy’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. He was named Supervisor of the Quarter both in 2003 and 2006, and he was Co-Supervisor of the Quarter in 2008.
“He is a perfect example of someone who goes above and beyond on a daily basis,” Johnny said.
When he’s not at work, McQuiddy enjoys camping, cycling, traveling, going to University of Tennessee football games, and spending time with his wife, Beth.
McQuiddy certainly knows how to Live and Work the Southwest Way, and his involvement with Southwest has taught him quite a bit.
“One thing I’ve learned is to be good to the Company, and the Company will be good to you,” McQuiddy said.
We appreciate you and all your hard work, McQuiddy!
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April showers brought us May flowers—just in time for Mother’s Day! At Southwest, we LUV moms, and we want to make them feel extra special during Mother’s Day weekend. To accomplish this, our Flight Attendants will pass out Avanti greeting cards while supplies last on Friday, May 11; and the lucky moms flying on Sunday, May 13 will be treated to a free cocktail onboard our aircraft! Or, be the “favorite” son or daughter, and give your mom the gift of a destination with a southwestgiftcard! Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! LUV, your friends at SWA.
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First comes the desperate searching. In the moment you realize you’re missing a ring, a cell phone, or something else, there’s always a glimmer of hope that maybe you just forgot where you last placed it. Then comes the uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach—it’s lost.
At Southwest Airlines, we’re dedicated to providing our Customers with the highest quality of Customer Service, which is a mission that extends far beyond your experience with us in the air. Central Baggage Services, a department located within Ground Operations, is devoted to caring for our Customers by proactively reducing baggage irregularities and donning detective gear to reunite you with your lost item.
Laura Koepke, a Southwest Employee at Spokane International Airport (GEG), is one of the standout members of the Baggage Service Office (BSO) Team. Ask any of her Coworkers, and they’ll tell you that she works hard every day while maintaining a positive attitude. To GEG Customer Service Supervisor Laralynn Stevens, Laura’s Warrior Spirit really shined through one day last year when the Station experienced numerous delays and cancellations.
“Laura worked independently in the Baggage Service Office with many bags coming from the cancelled flights,” Laralynn says. “We were unable to send her help due to the overwhelming lines at the ticket counter and gate. She did a fantastic job of organizing the bags by cancelled flight in sections of the baggage claim. This helped locate the Customers’ bags as they came to pick them up.”
Laura, a former Morris Air Employee, started working at Southwest on June 1, 1994. She has served as a GEG Customer Service Agent for her entire SWA career and LUVs her position in the Baggage Service Office.
“It is my own little space, and I rely on my own independent skills,” Laura says.
Throughout her years in the BSO, Laura has learned how to adapt to even the most unpredictable situations, including one time when a snowstorm hit and the Station had more than 300 bags in baggage claim. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“Time and time again I hear from our Customers about how Laura has been the greatest and has turned their trip around,” says GEG Station Manager J Evans. “She is everything that Southwest could ask for.”
When she isn’t delivering Positively Outrageous Service in the BSO, Laura is spending time outdoors, gardening, or working on projects at home. Her husband, Roger, and she LUV animals, and the couple has five horses, numerous cats, and a dog named Lilly. Her caring demeanor is present both at home and work, and we’re so glad she’s a part of our Southwest Family!
Did You Know? You can now self-report any “unchecked” items lost onboard a Southwest Airlines plane on southwest.com! Just visit southwest.com and click on “Baggage Policies” at the bottom of the page. From here, select “Lost and Found,” and you’ll be directed to our “Lost Item Report.” By providing us with your e-mail address and phone number, we’ll be able to keep in touch with you regarding the search for your lost item!
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