It's All About Networking


Johnson Controls has a program called Blue Sky Involve—which encourages employees to reach out to non-profits or other groups with leadership development. Employees may apply once a year with an organization in mind, and the organizations selected receive $1000. Good news for the College of Aviation— Ken Dombrowski (BS '93, Aviation Technology & Operations) was awarded the grant this year—and last year— for the College of Aviation and it's leadership development.

As part of the deal, three College of Aviation students traveled to Johnson Controls to job shadow last year, giving them the opportunity to get out of the classroom and experience real-world opportunity. Dombrowski hopes to do the same this year.

"When I was there (at WMU), it was very helpful," Dombrowski commented. He explained that in his business, interpersonal skills are huge, but not always taught to would-be pilots in school. "You can have 10,000 flight hours, but it's really more about 'can you sit next to this person on a trans-Atlantic flight?"

He contests the WMU does an excellent job teaching future pilots important communication skills, both written and oral.

What he's most interested in, however, is the mentoring opportunities involved. "We're here for the long haul," Dombrowski said. He hopes that students will use him and his colleagues as a resource,"We can't offer you a job, per se, but we can offer guidance, give you a business card—it's all about networking."

Dombrowski is a captain, a shuttle manager for Johnson Controls. The shuttle—an airplane—takes employees from Detroit to Holland and Millwaukee four times a week. He handles everything from scheduling to the budget to customer service—and he still flies.

He went on to explain the value of mentoring and job shadowing for future pilots. Pilots and flying appears very glamorous in movies and television shows, but the reality is that students don't graduate and immediately become airline pilots, and the job is often much more difficult than it appears on the big screen. It takes time to get to that point—and networking can help.

"The realities and experiences I have gained—I've done just about every part, from fueling, to flight attending, to flying, to management." Dombrowski says it's all good experience and helps him in his current role.

Dombrowski is pictured (center) with College of Aviation Dean, Captain Dave Powell (right), and Associate Dean Ray Thompson (left).

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries.

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