And so it was with Alex Marren, who last October became the Chief Operating Officer of SkyWest subsidiary ExpressJet Airlines, the largest regional carrier in the US. With 9,000 employees and 364 aircraft, the Atlanta-based RJ operator carried 32 million passengers last year on behalf of its major airline partners, under the brands American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.
“In all of my base visits and from many of the team members I’ve talked to, it’s been ‘we want to succeed and be the best’,” Marren says of ExpressJet’s goals. “To me, there’s no question that we can do that working as a team to deliver the industry’s best in safety, reliability and service.”
Marren fell in love with flight when she first visited Greece as a child. It was there that she determined she would become part of an industry that connected the world.
A graduate of Harvard University, Marren took her first job upon graduation with People Express. She became part of the airline’s leadership development program where she rotated through airport operations and customer service positions. She later joined United, where she learned the nuts and bolts of airline operations.
As fate would have it, she returned to Greece many years later as a manager with United, which she described as a turning point in her career. “We built the operation from ground up – everything from hiring, to equipment installation, to marketing and government relations,” Marren says of her experience in Greece. “It was an amazing career and personal experience.”
By the time she returned to the US, she had a greater appreciation for the importance of bringing people together to achieve common goals. Marren subsequently led United’s airport teams in the eastern part of the US, overseeing the regional network, inflight and food services and the operations center.
“The common thread was building strong teams and finding ways to do things better for the customer,” Marren says. “It led to my being here at ExpressJet, and I’m honored to work with our great team of aviation professionals.”
Marren’s wide and varied experiences in the aviation industry forced her to step outside of her “comfort zone” and accept new challenges. “The great thing about our industry is that it’s always evolving – new products, technology, challenges, opportunities. As cliché as it may sound, no two days are ever the same in aviation, and that’s what I love about it,” she says.
She is unable to curb her enthusiasm for aviation where she sees bright futures for so many young people.
“The opportunities in the coming years are going to be unprecedented as we see record levels of retirements. I encourage my 24 nieces and nephews all the time to join the field!”