Alumni Feature: William Flowers

FOCUS ON AVIATION MANAGEMENT

William Flowers was introduced to aviation as a child when his mother would take him to airplane fly-ins at Grider Field in his hometown of Pine Bluff.

When he arrived as a freshman at Henderson State University, Flowers knew he wanted to pursue a career in aviation. He aspired to obtain his pilot’s license, but “flying for hire” never interested him.

The more he talked to his professors, the more he became interested in pursuing a degree in aviation management.

“The management track provides various facets that one can use multiple ways in an aviation career,” Flowers said.

After graduating from Henderson in 2014, Flowers went to work for the operations department of Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, Michigan. He now serves as airport operations agent for the Colorado Springs (Colorado) Airport.

“My job title is another name for airport duty manager,” Flowers said. “I oversee day-to-day operations for the entire airport grounds. My primary function is to know and implement regulatory rules from the FAA and TSA to ensure that we as an airport and all airport staff are following proper procedures.”

Flowers described his job as complex, at times requiring him to act as the incident commander for aircraft or medical emergencies, handling customer complaints, coordinating snow operations, and troubleshooting broken equipment within the airport terminal.

“At times, this is a very fast paced position, requiring critical decisions at all hours of the day,” he said. “I work in a facility that is open 24 hours, 356 days a year. I am on call at times and work all types of hours, included overnights.”

 Flowers said his aviation degree at Henderson has prepared him well for his career.

“Every small background detail we talked about in my aviation classes has come to light in some way,” he said. “My aviation and business law classes have helped a lot when discussions of liability of aircraft during an emergency and other random situations occur.”

Flowers said he chose Henderson for its intimate learning atmosphere.

“I was never a fan of schools with a large classroom setting, and Henderson provided a great environment for one-on-one learning with instructors,” he said. “I also enjoyed the campus culture and overall scenery of the school during my high school tours.”

Flowers is a 2010 graduate of Dollarway High School.

While a Henderson student, Flowers was a Reddie Ambassador, vice president of student affairs for the Student Advisory Board, a member of the men’s cross country team, a member of the Black Pilots of America, and served on the intramural staff.

Flowers said aviation management is a career that most people never think about.

“Typically, people think I’m an air traffic controller, a pilot, or the guy who stands on the ramp to help park the plane,” he said. “I like aviation because it is a field that has longevity and so many various professions within the industry.

“My favorite part of the aviation management side of the house is construction and planning. Airports always need maintenance on absolutely everything.”

Flowers hopes to become an airport planner or FAA inspector.

“Eventually, I will go back to school to either pursue my master’s in planning or business, or possibly get my airframe and power plant certification.”

Flowers said he has no regrets about the path he has taken in the aviation industry.

“Having a job which I went to school for is a satisfying accomplishment, especially right after graduation,” he said. “Nowadays you see a lot of people with jobs and degrees that are entirely opposite.

“I have been blessed with the help of a lot of people to have been provided these opportunities that have helped me with my career path. Living in places that I could not even imagine is also surreal.”

• This alumni feature is part of an ongoing project featuring Henderson's outstanding undergraduate and graduate academic programs.