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Employee Spotlight – Mandy Wood

Never at a loss for words, Mandy Wood is no stranger to conversation. Which makes her perfect for interacting with our customers and representing Airways Freight at trade shows and special events. Something she takes great pride in doing.

Mandy began working with Airways in September of 2004 after previously working at the Wal-Mart Corporate Offices International Division. Through many conversations with a friend, who was at the time working for Airways, she was told about how family oriented they are, and how much her friend loved working for such a great company that took care of their employees.

Mandy put in her application, was hired and it wasn’t long before her determination and productivity led her to the position she is in today. She now travels all over the country to different trade show locations, and gets to meet exciting people and explore different cities, something she knew she was destined to do.

Mandy was born in Beaufort, South Carolina and spent most of her childhood in Hilton Head. She later moved on to Oklahoma, and now resides in Northwest Arkansas. A lot of her childhood memories were of visiting the coast and spending time on the beach. One of her favorite memories was sneaking out to watch The Beach Boys play. Her love for the ocean and living on the coast has never gone away. It’s no surprise that on her vacation days, she loves to drive down to Gulf Shores, Alabama.

While not vacationing in Gulf Shores, Mandy likes to watch sports and loves watching her son Parker play pee-wee football and baseball. She also loves camping, and spending time with family and friends. Mandy loves to go to the movies and enjoys shopping in different cities around the country. She has a great appreciation for fashion and it’s not out of the ordinary to see her dressed in the latest trends.

Mandy met her husband and fellow co-worker Brock while working side by side at Airways. They married in 2007 and together, they have a son. Working alongside her husband has always been fun and exciting, and has never felt any different. They work very well as a team, and it shows in their day to day interactions.

When asked what her most notable accomplishment is, Mandy, without hesitation, says it was raising her two daughters Jourdynn and Heavenly. How her persistence and determination pushed them to be where they are today and grateful she did not fail as a parent. Jourdynn has given her two beautiful grandchildren and Heavenly has gone on to join the United States Air Force to further her education.

Not only is Mandy great at conversation, she also has a hidden passion for singing. One of her favorite quotes is “Sing not because you can, but because you want to”.

Mandy is dedicated, determined and productive. She has accomplished a lot in a short time, and will accomplish much more in her lifetime.

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Employee Spotlight – Patty Osburn

She lights up a room without saying a word. She’s a bright light that shines, and she brings her positive attitude to work daily. Patty Osburn has been with Airways since May of 2007, and her dedication and optimism has led her to become an integral part of the International Tradeshow Division here at Airways Freight.

Before starting at Airways, Patty worked as a customer service manager at a nearby grocery store, and would drive by the company every day, wondering what it would be like to work for such a beautiful company. After meeting a few different employees that worked for Airways, she was told about how much they truly loved their jobs and coworkers. It wasn’t long before she found herself working right alongside them. The things she likes most is the people she gets to work with and their overall dedication. She admires the level of professionalism that exists in each department, and how they treat each shipment as a top priority, like it was their very own. She considers the customer service at Airways “top notch” and she is very proud to be part of the team.

Patty was born in Georgia but moved to California when she was a child. She spent a lot of time going back and forth between coasts, and visited many states and locations. She settled in Northwest Arkansas and it has become her home.

Patty married her husband Beau almost 26 years ago and together they have 4 children. One daughter, Alexa, and three sons Dillon, Ty and Zack. Most recently, two of her sons married their significant others and added to their beautiful family.

She loves spending free time with her family and considers herself a homebody. When not staying at home, Patty loves to shop, and travel. Some of the most memorable places she has been to are Hong Kong and Switzerland, which she had the opportunity to visit while representing Airways.

One of Patty’s favorite quotes, reflects her character in every way and is present in her professional as well as her personal life.

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.” – Anonymous

Patty has most definitely had extraordinary results, she is every bit an asset to Airways, and her endless positivity is inspiring and very much appreciated.

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Employee Spotlight – Brandi Phillips

We’ve all heard her voice at one time or another, she’s the voice on the other end of the phone when you call Airways Freight. Brandi is one of Airways receptionist/PBX Operators.

Always cheerful and willing to help, Brandi Phillips has been with Airways since 1993. She was working in the driver/personnel department for JB Hunt previously, when a friend recommended Airways. She was told to come down after work for an interview, and was hired on the spot. She began working at Airways at the age of 20 and through the years, Brandi has worked there for more than half of her life.

When asked what she likes most about working at Airways, her answer is like most of the other people that work there. “It’s the camaraderie and feeling like you are working with family”. She also loves that it only takes her five minutes to get to work.

Born and raised in Northwest Arkansas, she lost her mother at the age of six, leaving her father to raise her. His strength and perseverance got them through a trying time, and he is easily one of the most influential people in her life.

Brandi settled down in Fayetteville and married her high school sweetheart Brad. Together, they raised a beautiful daughter Britni. Her family members also include a Yorkie named Noah and a Maltese named Moses.

A couple of things you may not know about Brandi, is that she is a rocker at heart! She loves going to concerts and she listens to all types of music. Other things she enjoys to do, are spending time with friends and family, going to the movies, travelling and shopping. She is an avid bargain shopper, and loves to shop at vintage stores, flea markets as well as second-hand stores and she’s always quick to let
you know of a new boutique that’s opened in the area as well.

Brandi considers herself loyal, honest and fun-loving. Everyone else feels the same. She is always quick to assist someone and by the sound in her voice, you can hear her pleasant attitude daily.

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Employee Spotlight: Erik Fortin

When you think of someone dedicated and hardworking, one of the first names you’ll come up with at Airways Freight would be Erik Fortin.

Before joining Airways, Erik was a receiving manager at a local department store. He joined the Airways team in June of 2003. With a soon to be wife, Erik was looking for a company that didn’t have a lot of turn over and valued its employees, a friend recommended Airways. Erik is now a Domestic Division Manager and is labeled one of Airways most dedicated and loyal employees.

Besides getting to talk to people all over the country, Erik’s favorite part about working at Airways is the constant problem solving that goes into handling freight and making sure the shipment gets to where it needs to be, on time.

Erik was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and moved to Elkins when he was 3 years old. He has been in and around Northwest Arkansas ever since. Erik grew up on a farm, and learned early on from his Father, who has been the most influential person in his life, the value of hard work.

When Erik is not working, he loves to go turkey hunting, as well as deer bow-hunting. He has fond memories of taking his little girl Ayla hunting. Their trips mostly consisted of her eating donuts, drinking chocolate milk, and him carrying her around. One of his most cherished memories is taking Ayla on a real turkey hunt at the age of 9. When she had her bird in under 45 minutes, he found out she was a better hunter than he is.

Besides hunting, Erik’s favorite past time is cooking. He loves to come home after a stressful day and cook delicious meals that other people enjoy. He loves to cook BBQ specializing in pulled pork, brisket and chicken with all the sides, coleslaw, potato salad as well as his own BBQ sauces. His favorite dessert to make is Crème Brulee.

Erik’s life highlights are getting married, the birth of his daughter Ayla and his son Mason.

Erik’s reputation at Airways is one of loyalty, trust and dedication. He’s worked hard for his accomplishments and he’s one of the best in the industry.

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Employee Spotlight: Bryan Weingart

Bryan Weingart

Loyal, driven and competitive. Those are three words used to describe Bryan Weingart.
Growing up in Sarasota FL, Bryan’s drive and competitive side was obvious early on. Bryan was always into sports. He excelled in baseball and football, and his competitive side lead him to Olympic weightlifting and Strongman competitions.

Bryan previously served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2009 he was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and was there during Operation Strike of the Sword/Operation Khanjar which was the biggest offensive airlift of the Marines since the Vietnam War. From there Bryan attended the University of South Florida and received a bachelor’s degree. He did his internship at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and accepted a full-time position after he graduated.

After moving to Arkansas, Bryan started his journey with Airways in July of 2015, he began working with the Night Operations team, quickly moving on to be where he is now in the Ocean Imports Division. When asked what attracted him to Airways, he replied “the camaraderie of everyone”.

When not at work, Bryan is currently attending the U of A and working on his Master’s degree. He loves to hang out with his wife and baby girl. He likes watching sports and attending sporting events. Bryan has been to many different locations while serving in the military, since then he has been to Ireland, Switzerland and his latest trip was to China for two weeks this past July.

One of Bryan’s favorite quotes is surprisingly a quote from Teddy Roosevelt. Looking at all his accomplishments, it describes his character very nicely.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

On top of being loyal, driven and competitive, he is very humble. When asked if he had any hidden talents he replied, “I’m still waiting to discover it”. To this day, his top three life highlights are his daughter, getting married and graduating boot camp.

When talking with some of Bryan’s co-workers the consensus is the same. Bryan also has an abundance of other great qualities. He’s very dependable, admirable and responsible, yet doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s a great co-worker to have, sarcasm and all!

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Employee Spotlight: Wes Penny

Operations may be the backbone of Airways, but without technology, the spine would have no nervous system. Wes Penny has been an integral part of the Airways IT department for many years.  Here’s our interview with him:

AF:  You started with Airways as a full time IT programming engineer on August 30th of 2012, but your history with Airways began many years prior.  Can you spend a little time explaining how you came to Airways initially, and how your position has evolved over time?
WP: I began my relationship with Airways in May of 2003 when I decided to start my own computer consulting and services business. I purchased the business from Johnice Cross who had been consulting with Airways for several years. When I began, I expected to be working with Airways for several hours a week. However, over the next 9 years, my time and interest in Airways grew. Then I decided to approach Denny about coming on full time and I’m glad I did!
AF: We’re glad you did too!  Now what about prior to your computer business?  What interested you in systems technology initially, where did you receive your education, and what course of study qualified you for the field?
WP: My interest in technology began with my dad. He worked for IBM as a hardware technician beginning in the mid 1960’s. He started in Little Rock and then was transferred to Pine Bluff, which is where I grew up. Eventually he opened his own business where I worked part time for him. After graduating high school, I decided that since my dad was “hardware”, I would be “software”.

I studied programming at Arkansas College of Technology, in Little Rock, where I received an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences. I was then hired by Business Service Corp of Pine Bluff and worked there until 1999. After that, I moved to northwest Arkansas to work for George’s Inc. (chicken not lounge). After several years with George’s, I got the bug to be on my own. And that’s when the opportunity to start my own business came about.

AF: Your contribution to maintaining and upgrading the custom programs that keeps the Airways operations system running can’t be understated.  Tell us a little more about your daily work at Airways.

WP: My job includes creating or modifying apps as needed, helping users and customers with various questions or problems. The biggest asset I believe, besides knowing the code, is listening to the users and customers.

AF: A good point.  In every aspect a key strength of Airways has always been the willingness to listen and adapt quickly. And of course the computer systems play an essential role in this. So when you’re not coding or listening, what is a pass-time or hobby that you enjoy in your leisure time?
WP: Most of my off time is spent with my family, be it playing basketball, ping pong, pool, watching NASCAR, or working on projects around the house. Also, I collect stamps, jigsaw puzzles, NASCAR diecast, and model trains.
AF: Interesting collectibles.  What about the family?  Your wife Vicki is a talented writer and frequents the NPR radio cast “Tales from the South” with her humorous stories.  And you have two boys living at home, right?  What are their ages?  Do they have big plans after high school? 
WP: My wife, Vicki, and I will have been married 30 years next January. She is quite a story teller! She has appeared on the NPR radio show “Tales from the South” 8 times with quite a variety of “tales”. Most of her appearances are on Youtube. She also appears occasionally on another locally produced radio show called “The Everything You Need To Know Radio Show” that is on KUAF 91.3 (local NPR station). Before having children, she was a band director at a couple of schools in southern Arkansas. I was once asked by one of the band parents “Why did you marry Mrs. Penny?”. I replied, “For the challenge!”. 

I have 2 sons. We chose to home school them. William, 18, has finished his high schooling and is beginning at NWACC in a few weeks. His interests are varied but he is focusing on theater and video. He works part time with the Walton Arts Center and Wal-Mart AMP. He has worked various load-ins, load-outs, or as a stage hand. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Weston, 13, is at the 8th grade level of schooling and is working on his 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He enjoys science, reading, and video games. His plan for the future is to sell exotic cars!

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Employee Spotlight: Zack Osburn

This week we are interviewing one of Airways’ more recent hires. Zack Osburn has grown up around Airways since childhood – his mother being Patty Osburn the Trade Fairs Manager for International business who has been with Airways since 2006.  Zack joined Airways on February 18th, 2016.

Here is our interview with Zack Osburn:
AF:  So Zack, you have been with Airways for a relatively short period of time. What brought you to decide Airways was the right place for you?
ZO: I have been to many Airways gatherings growing up, and have always been impressed with the family-like atmosphere Airways provides to the employees.
AF: Since your start with the company, you have been gaining valuable operations experience on the night shift. Do you have your eye on working in any particular area of the company, should the opportunity arise later on?
ZO: I enjoy working on the night shift. Our night crew gets the opportunity to work with every department in operations, therefore we are learning new things every day. If the opportunity were to arise to move to a particular area of the company, Domestic Product would be my preferred department.
AF: You’re right, and I don’t think anyone would argue the fact that the night shift makes or breaks Airways from an operational standpoint since most of the operations staff started out on nights. Now what about your life outside Airways?  Can you give us a quick run down of what Zack’s life is about when you’re not at work?

ZO: I recently got married so when I am not at work I spend a lot of time with my wife. I enjoy being outdoors, whether it be doing yard work, hunting, fishing or riding bikes.

AF: Congratulations on the marriage!  Riding bikes…motorized or the kind you pedal?
ZO: Thanks, I appreciate it! A bicycle that you pedal.
AF: So do you ride competitively, or just for recreation?  Road bikes or off road mountain biking? 
ZO: Just for recreation, I have actually just started riding road bicycles but I’m working my way up – looking forward to mountain biking in the future.
AF: What about hunting and fishing?  Any fish stories or hunting adventures you’d care to share? 
ZO: I have been on countless hunting and fishing trips with friends and family growing up. Deer hunting is actually my favorite. In 2012 I got an 11 point in Huntsville, Ar. Hopefully I will be able to surpass my own record this year.
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Employee Spotlight: Albert Kirk

At Airways, one of the things that defines us as a group is our collective desire to help – help our customers achieve their shipping goals, help our vendors to maintain vibrancy in their businesses as they help us operationally, and help our sales agents in providing all of the services essential to their clients – thus making the wheels of the company turn for us all.
As alike as we are in our collective business goals at Airways, we are proud of the diversity of the individuals who make up our company. From so many backgrounds and outside interests, the organization is stronger because of it.

Recently, we sat down with Albert Kirk – another of our Domestic Operations Managers who has been with the company since January 16, 2006. Here is our interview:
AF:  You have been in operations for a long time. Give us a rundown of your time here so far.
AK: I started on night operations, and was there for 1 year before moving to days in January of 2007 where I have been for the last 10 years. As a domestic operator, the job is fast paced most days – quoting shipments, booking orders, and providing customer service to the agents and customers that make Airways what it is. There isn’t a dull day. Each shipment requires attention from the time it’s booked to the time it’s invoiced.
AF: I know you were born and raised in Arkansas but now reside in Oklahoma.  Can you share what circumstances took you across the border?
AK: I moved to Oklahoma in 2009 after I got married. My wife, Tashina grew up in Colcord, OK and didn’t have interest in moving to Arkansas. We bought a house close to Siloam Springs because it wouldn’t cause me to drive any further (to work) than where I lived in Arkansas. We have now built a new house in Colcord to be more comfortable with the 4 kids.
AF: Wow, 4 kids!  Boys and girls?  What are their ages?  Is the house still under construction, or have you already moved in?

AK: We have 2 boys and twin girls. Logan is 7, Eli is 5, and Kaylynn and Rylee are 3. We completed construction on our house in December 2016 and moved in 2 weeks before Christmas.

AF: I know you’re into gardening.  How big is your garden and what crops do you grow?  Are there any other farming projects (livestock, etc.) that you do?
AK: I do enjoy gardening. It’s a hobby that I hope one day my kids will appreciate and grow to love as much as I do. This is a first-year garden, and is approximately 25’x60′, I plant the basics – squash, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, corn, onions, watermelon, and cantaloupe. I am trying my luck with brussels sprouts this year. At this time, I am not involved with many farming projects. From time to time I will help my Father in law with his beef cattle. I am hoping by this fall we will have our fence fixed and able to get a few cattle of our own to raise; primarily for beef, but we are also discussing getting a milk cow for fresh milk. I enjoy farming and would one day like to transition into it has a full-time profession.
AF: So farming’s on the bucket list, that’s cool.  What else is on your someday dream list?  Any travel, vacations or other activities that spring to mind?
AK: I am a pretty simple guy. I like to stay at home most of the time. I’m not a big traveler. No trips are planned in the immediate future. I enjoy woodworking. I have repaired and restored cedar chests, the oldest of which was built in 1951 by my wife’s grandfather when he was a Junior in high school. I typically mill my own lumber for my projects. I have built custom cedar furniture for a few family friends. I hope that this fall I will be able to get back into doing that.
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Chihuly Exhibit Opens at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: Airways Freight Provides Transport for the Delicate Glass Art

Dale Chihuly, a world renowned glass sculptor from Tacoma Washington brings his indoor/outdoor exhibit to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Using glass as a medium in many varying forms, the artist has created iconic works dating to the early ’70’s, and continues creating contemporary pieces today, both of which are on display at Crystal Bridges from June 3 throughout the summer.
In contributing to the exhibition, Airways Freight was honored to provide transport and logistics services from Tacoma to Bentonville.  The project required five dedicated 53 foot transport trucks with lift gates and full logistics to secure the delicate art for it’s ride to the museum. Once on-site, Airways personnel were present to supervise the off-load into three 40 foot containers, which Airways arranged to have shuttled on-site for the storage and safe keeping of the artwork. Weather conditions being an added challenge on the delivery, there was no margin for error, and we are pleased to report that everything arrived in perfect condition.

For additional information about the exhibit, along with photos of the fragile art Airways transported, visit the Chihuly Exhibition page on the Crystal Bridges website

*pictured above along with the artist, Dale Chihuly (center). and his wife Leslie, is Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges Chairwoman of the Board, and CB Executive Director Rod Bigelow. Joining them for the opening reception were several Airways execs including Michael Beckers and his wife Tracy, Ken Center and his wife Rebecca and Dale and Prudy Caudle.
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ExhibitorLIVE Is A Wrap

The ExhibitorLIVE show concluded it’s 29th installment in Las Vegas as the Trade Show Industry’s leading event, and once again, Airways was there to show our support to the industry. The event not only represents an opportunity to showcase Airways’ services to the ever-growing and changing professionals in our industry, but also to meet our friends and customers both new and old who stop by to visit with us and thank Airways for the partnerships that move us all to greater things.
It is truly a privilege to work in this dynamic and challenging industry, and as we grow, we want always to be regarded as the best in the business.
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