Monday, September 20, 2010

Alumni Spotlight: Thomas Letts' passion for flight

You can tell by the smile on his face when he’s flying, teaching or anywhere near airplanes, Jeppesen employee Thomas “Tom” Letts (’83, PPT) loves flying. Letts and Jeppesen President and CEO Mark Van Tine donated a flyover of Denver to be auctioned off at the Plain & Fancy Ball. We recently chatted with Letts about his life’s passion and why he continues to support Metro State.

Metro State: Why is Metro good for the community?
Thomas Letts: Metro offers something for everybody. All the professors pretty much have lived in the working community, and so when they come back to teach it’s not just been their life ambition to teach; they have actually been out in the world doing what they teach. They can offer insight that other college professors don’t have.

MS: How did Metro State prepare you for your career?
TL: Not only did I have wonderful professors, but I also made connections. The reason I got my first really good job after leaving Metro State was the person who interviewed me was in the social fraternity Alpha Eta Rho (which no longer exists). He was also a Metro graduate. The connections I made at Metro were, have been and still are life-long.

MS: Why are you so passionate about your career?
TL: Flying still has mystery to it. It still has romance to it. When people get married and go on a honey moon. They get on an airplane and fly half way across the world to some exotic place. Every time you get in an airplane there’s a little bit of giddiness. It brings out the kid in all of us. There’s mystique to it. Aviation has made the world a smaller and more global place.

MS: What was your experience at Metro like?
TL: Metro one of the top three colleges for aviation in the States, in my mind. It’s just wonderful. At Metro, I got to know each and every student in every class. I still have life-long relationships with about two dozen people I met.

MS: What are some key pieces of advice you might offer to others who might pursue a similar career?
TL: If we are passionate about what we do, the highs are always higher and the lows are never that low. If we follow our dreams, it doesn’t matter what money we make. It doesn’t matter a lot of things because we are doing what we love. If you follow your dream, you gain eight hours a day back in your life. I truly believe that.

MS: Why do you feel it is important to support events such as the Plain & Fancy Ball?
TL: Metro has basically nurtured careers that have blossomed at Jeppesen. The other thing is that there could be a time when there are not enough pilots to fill pilot positions, and everybody else who works in the aviation industry. It is very important for us to give back to the community in every way we can.

MS: Is there anything I’m not asking you that you want to share with me?
TL: Metro brings together the different generations … everybody there is on the same playing field. They are all there to learn. A lot of times the more senior students had a lot to offer as far as life learning, and for that reason we learned a lot more listening to other people talk about life experiences than we did through the book work we did.

To see more images, click here.

Discovery Flight with Jeppesen Employee Flying Association Veteran Pilot and Metro State Alumni Thomas Letts
Take to the sky for a bird’s eye view of the Front Range with veteran pilot and Metro State alumni Thomas Letts. Letts, a 1983 aerospace graduate and an aviation systems and data analyst for Jeppesen in Englewood, offers this package as an instructor with the Jeppesen Employee Flying Association. He’ll take you up in a JEFA Diamond DA-42 that features a Garmin G-1000 Glass Panel on a “Discovery Flight” from Centennial Airport. You’ll fly around Red Rocks and Golden, over Mile High Stadium, Coors and Elitch Gardens, with a quick tip of the wing to Metro State’s World Indoor Airport, before heading back for a perfect landing at the Perfect Landing restaurant at Centennial Airport for lunch with the pilot. We bet you’ll be inspired to take up flying after this experience!

NOTES: Certificate good for 6 months (Expires March 26, 2011); good for one passenger; flight must be prearranged directly with pilot; flight time and date dependent on weather and availability; preflight and flight time total is approximately 2 hours; lunch with the pilot included

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1 comment:

  1. I have known Tom for over 28 years. We met while were in the Metro Aviation program. I agree 100% with Tom. Not only does Metro State have an excellent aviation program, knowledgeable professors, but provides the opportunity to build life-long relationships. I give credit to Metro for giving me the opportunity for my corporate aviation career today of 27 years. Way to go Tom, keep sharing your love of aviation with the world! JJ