In the DFW control center, their main function is to orchestrate the aircraft traffic coming in and out of the airport to ensure a safe, orderly operation. Like maestros conducting a symphony, the Envoy ground traffic controllers and coordinators carefully arrange the DFW ramp into a beautiful song composed of millions of moving parts.
Together with American Airlines, Envoy controls its ground traffic in the newly built Control center at DFW. Within the Envoy ranks, three women with decades of experience have become Mensa-caliber puzzle masters, piecing together a successful day of operations.
In this three-part series, we’ll meet a few of the women who make the “heartbeat” of Envoy Operations, and learn how people come together from all different backgrounds to meet a common goal.
Jenny Watson – Operations Planning Agent
Every once in a while, you meet an Envoy lifer that has seen the company go through changes with new operations, new aircraft, new hubs, you name it. One of these lifers is Operations Planning Agent Jenny Watson who has been with Envoy since 1989 when she started as a Passenger Services agent for Flagship Airlines in Miami, one of the airlines that merged to eventually become Envoy.
“I learned to take good care of people from the get go,” said Jenny. “That’s where my passion for aviation began, because I met so many people from different backgrounds. A whole new world opened up to me.”
Working for an airline also afforded Jenny the opportunity to transfer throughout the system, so she packed her bags in 1993 and headed to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to work for Simmons Airlines – another one of Envoy’s predecessors. What began as a Lead Agent role for Jenny turned into an open door into DFW Operations.
Her enthusiasm, leadership skills and willingness to tackle a new role landed her a job directing ramp traffic at a time when the company was expanding in DFW.
“Back in those days, we did everything on paper, so it was definitely a challenge,” said Jenny. “Each aircraft and each airline had its own rules, so you had to be patient and be able to adapt. Thankfully, my time as a Lead Agent helped with that some.”
Jenny (middle) in 1991 visiting Costa Rica with friends and coworkers.
Through all those growing pains and challenges, Jenny found love in a seemingly strange place; the SABRE Reservations system. As part of her job, Jenny regularly communicates with Dispatch through short messages on the computer, and on the other end was her future husband, Envoy Dispatcher Cecil Watson.
“I love my job because I found my husband through it,” said Jenny. “Once we started a family, the flexibility of my job allowed me to make a schedule that worked for me and my family.”
With Envoy’s travel privileges, Jenny said that it really benefited her children the most. They saw places, ate food and learned so many different cultures, which was important for Jenny since she was born outside of the U.S. in Nicaragua.
Growing up around the business, Jenny’s son was inspired to become a pilot and will someday apply to Envoy as a First Officer.
“We’re an aviation family now,” said Jenny. “Any woman looking for a good, flexible job should consider our airline, because it’s not just about working in an airport. There are so many jobs at this company that require so many different skills — you can do anything you want!”
Adapt and grow
With over 20 years working in DFW OPS, Jenny has learned that adaptability has become a huge asset for her. Over time, technologies change and Jenny said she prides herself in constantly updating her skills so she can “be the best at my job as possible.”
Yet, Jenny isn’t done updating yet. She plans on earning a college degree in an area that will further her business career, and she knows that Envoy is the best place for her to pursue those dreams.
“If I can do it, anyone can,” said Jenny. “If you’re looking for adventure and a challenge, give the airlines a try. Take it from me; there are endless opportunities here for anyone as long as you’re willing to work hard and be the best you can be.”