A career takes flight

Tori Gann started flying in high school. She’s now focused on landing a career as a business aviation pilot.

Gann is enrolled in Davenport University’s Bachelor of Business Administration program with a specialty in Aviation Management. This program is offered as part of an exclusive partnership with Northwestern Michigan College.

“I take a blend of courses at DU and NMC,” Gann said. “The NMC classes are generally aviation-focused or more general. My DU classes are business-focused, like international business and project management. It is a cool blend because it lowers the bill, but I am still getting a high-quality education.”

The program is offered through the University Center in Traverse City, Michigan.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration reports that only 6 percent of active commercial pilots are women, according to Alex Bloye, director and academic chair of Northwestern Michigan College’s Aviation Division.

“Even more astonishing, in 2017 there were only 25 women in the U.S. under the age of 20 that held a commercial pilot certificate. Tori was 19 when she became a commercial pilot, and just 20 when she became a certified flight instructor,” Bloye said. “We are proud of the professional Tori has become.  She is a gifted pilot and an inspiring teacher, and we can’t wait to see where her career takes her.”

In the summer, Gann completed an internship in Amway’s Aviation Department — spending time in the maintenance, finance and technician departments. She also will observe a pilot recurrent training class at FlightSafety in Georgia for a week.

“Seeing each department helps me see how companies operate. It helps me see the big picture,” she said.

Gann says flying keeps her humble.

“No two flights are ever the same,” she said. “The airplane doesn’t care how you feel. You have to go into every flight ready to learn. It makes you aware of the fact you do make mistakes and makes you work through the mistakes to become a better pilot.”

The center in Traverse City has been working with NMC pilots for more than 20 years, according to Campus Director Alyssa Irani.


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