“Their life is in my hands.”
That’s how Jill Grable describes her role as a flight instructor at Purdue. Jill will graduate in May with a double major in aviation technology and management….but that was not her original intent.
“I came to Purdue for the flight program,” she says. “I’ve always had an interest in flying. When I got on campus, I started to take some business courses, and I realized they were a very good complement to what I was doing.
“I liked the idea of being able to mix my technical skills with business knowledge. I went from a business minor to a major, and with the help of advisors at both schools I was able to finish both the aviation and management degrees in four years.”
Jill’s combination of skills made her a hot commodity on the job market. After an internship at Boeing in Seattle, she landed a full-time position with the company. She’ll go to work in St. Louis in the Business Career Foundation Program, which will provide rotations in the core areas of supplier management, procurement cost analysis, accounting, contracts, estimating/pricing, financial planning and program cost management.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” says Jill, a native of Floyds Knobs, Indiana. “It gives me exposure to a number of executive mentors, and it will give me a tremendous base of knowledge within the company.”
Jill had several options out of high school, including the Air Force Academy, but had her heart set on being a Boilermaker. “I love the atmosphere and environment here,” she says. “I always felt it was the best route to what I wanted to do.”
She has made the transformation from student to teacher in her flying classroom. While she is aware of the responsibilities that come with the role, she is appreciative of the rewards.
“Like any teacher, I get really excited when I see my students succeed,” she says. “There is no greater feeling than watching one of your students fly solo for the first time or get their license.
“We approach flying the same way you would approach any other business function. We try to prepare for every possible conceivable emergency or situation. When those arise, you go through your checklist and try to come up with a solution.”
While she has decided to pursue the business side of flying, Jill isn’t ready to give up her seat in the cockpit just yet. “I never want to lose the flying aspect,” she says. “I have a passion about flying and I always want to be a part of that community. Maybe someday I’ll own my own plane.”