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Laura Laster

Title: Director of Flight Operations

E-mail: LauraLaster@letu.edu

Began working at LETU in Fall 2011

Background

I grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which becomes the center of everything aviation each year at the annual AirVenture event held by the Experimental Aircraft Association. My love of  aviation was fostered by several flights on  airplanes that my family took while I was a young girl. A teacher in high school suggested I combine my interest in aviation with learning to fly and make a career out of aviation, and so I got my first job at the Experimental Aircraft Association in their museum gift shop. Each year, I was able to work at annual AirVenture events and explore aviation. I decided to attend LeTourneau University to further my passion in aviation because I knew it provided one of the best aviation degree programs available anywhere.

After graduation from LeTourneau University, I flight instructed in the Department of Aeronautical Science. After gaining hours and experience, I was hired by Dynamic Aviation and moved to Virginia to work as a King Air pilot doing aerial survey operations all over the United States and Canada. I was promoted to a management position at Dynamic Aviation, and I became responsible for our fleet of airborne data acquisition King Air aircraft and all associated pilots and customers. The projects I managed took place on every continent around the world with the exception of Antarctica.

In 2009, Dynamic Aviation announced that they were going to start a charter airline, called Dynamic Airways, utilizing several MD-80s and eventually B767s. I changed positions within the company to become deeply involved in the certification process as the airline became a FAA-certificated 121 Supplemental charter airline. I moved to North Carolina to help build the airline from the ground up. It was fascinating work that brought together my interest in airlines as well as my desire to improve processes and help organizational efficiency improve. I served as the Manager, System Operations Control, hiring our team of dispatchers and overseeing flight operations at our System Operations Control (SOC).

My family felt led to return to the East Texas area in late 2011, as my husband's family is still in this area. I became the Dispatch Manager at LeTourneau University and began working directly with student dispatchers and flight students. In my role as Director of Flight Operations, I pledge to serve with the best of my abilities to foster excellence in all our flight operations at LeTourneau University.

Education and Training

  • B.S. Aeronautical Science, Flight Management concentration, LeTourneau University, 2004
  • Accelerated Aircraft Dispatch Course, Sheffield School of Aeronautics, 2010.

Awards, Grants, and Certifications

  • FAA Certificated Commercial Pilot, Single and Multiengine Land, 2003. 
  • FAA Certificated Flight Instructor, Airplane Single Engine, Multiengine, and Instrument, 2004.
  • FAA Certificated Ground Instructor, Advanced and Instrument, 2004.
  • FAA Certificated Aircraft Dispatcher, 2010.

Conferences and Meetings Attended

  • National Business Aviation Association annual meeting and convention, 2010.
  • Women in Aviation, International annual meeting and convention, 2002, 2005.
  • Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture, 1998-2004, 2006-2009, 2012-2013.

Publications

Co-authored FAA-approved operations manual system at Dynamic Airways including the following:

  • System Operations Control Manual
  • General Operations Manual
  • Flight Follower Policies Handbook
  • Flight Follower Training Manual

Professional Growth Activities

  • Completed "The Human Factor in Aviation" Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
  • Certificated Flight Instructor Renewal Course, 2006-2012.

Service (Community Involvement)

  • I work with infants and preschool age children at my local church.
  • Child Advocate with Compassion International, working to find sponsors for children in need and raise awareness about poverty.

Personal Statement

I am thrilled to be working with two things I love: aviation and management. I love seeing projects go from concept to execution. I enjoy discovering new, more efficient ways to accomplish task outcomes. I am passionate about finding solutions and helping make things happen. I know that LeTourneau University provides top-notch training for students seeking careers in the aviation industry. I will do my utmost to further the mission of the university by improving our flight operations and in helping students succeed. I am excited to share the world of opportunities in aviation with students I interact with on a daily basis.

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