Two Decades in the Making, a FedEx Aviation Career Takes Off
Talk about solid planning. Abby Jakey began guiding her aviation career toward FedEx Express 20 years ago. She eventually joined the company in 2015. Currently a 757 First Officer, she’s preparing for 757 Captain training this fall.
But flying isn’t all she’s doing for the company.
In 2017, she began co-leading an incredibly challenging effort to increase the amount of dry ice FedEx aircraft can carry. Launched to meet growing customer demand, the initiative has been successful with recently implemented increases for certain aircraft.
Abby recently talked about her aviation journey.
Q: When did your aviation career begin?
A: My career began with the support and influence of my father from a very young age. I “officially” started flight lessons at 15 and soloed the family J3 Cub.
I flight instructed during college and from there migrated to single pilot freight ops, regional airlines and then found myself lucky enough to be selected to join the FedEx team in 2015.
Over the years, I have also worked with the FAA and NASA on various aspects of aviation safety. I was involved on the safety side in bringing “Safely reducing aircraft separation standards,” or RECAT, to the National Airspace System (NAS) and various other projects.
Q: Aviation family?
A: Yes, aviation runs rampant in my family. My husband is a pilot at American Airlines and my entire immediate family holds a variety of pilot and mechanic licenses.
I was raised at the airport greasing wheel bearings and hunting down tools (doing the jobs nobody else wanted to do), while bumming rides from friends and family members.
Our kids enjoy the aviation community every chance they get, and it certainly is fun to share this with them. We still maintain hangars at an airpark with a grass strip and dabble in antique aviation and rebuilding classics.
A: About 20 years ago, I decided my professional goal would be to ultimately work for FedEx and be a part of this operation.
I spent some time educating myself on the corporate culture and foundation, the customer experience and the Purple Promise.
FedEx dovetailed perfectly with how I work my life and being able to work for a company whose founder truly believes that couldn’t be better.
I believe in the work FedEx does, always ahead of the curve with improvements and innovation. FedEx truly is the best in the industry.
Q: What is your position at Express?
A: I’m currently a 757 First Officer. I anticipate upgrading to 757 Captain this fall.
Q: Favorite routes?
A: I don’t really have a favorite route, just about everything can be fun and fulfilling. Even in crummy, dark and cold winter months, I believe, it’s about making every experience a good one and feeling the sense of accomplishment when delivering the freight and doing our part.
Q: What do you think about the FedEx culture?
A: I absolutely love that Mr. Smith has instilled and continues to advocate People Service Profit, PEOPLE being first. Without all of the folks working in our complex operation, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish the tasks that we do. It takes everyone to make FedEx what it is.
Q: You co-lead an ongoing dry ice increase initiative. Are you enjoying this project?
A: I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the flight technical office and coordinate the project to increase Dry Ice carriage fleet wide.
This has been a great experience with even better people, and it isn’t done yet. One of the unique aspects of this project has been the collaboration across so many organizations. Being able to coordinate this effort that impacts not only the revenue seen by Express, but has been and will continue to allow us to better serve our customers, has been rewarding.
The “can-do” attitude of the team is what has made the Dry Ice project a huge success. This is very fulfilling to me personally because I know the countless hours that so many people have dedicated to this project’s success. This team is what FedEx is about and I’m incredibly proud to be part of it.
A: My main hobby right now are my kids (pictured here with my husband and me). They occupy just about every moment outside of work.
We like to camp, fish, fly, travel, ride dirt bikes, and turn life into an adventure.
When I get a minute to focus on me, my favorite things to do are exercise and relax with a good book.