Landing one major internship was not enough for Bronco alum, Justin Bravman! During his time at WMU, Justin worked as an intern for two back-to-back semesters – first for Alaska Airlines and then for Southwest Airlines – two big names in in the aviation industry. Now, only two years after he graduated, he works for Southwest Airlines doing big data analytics in their Supply Chain Management Department. We asked Justin to tell us about his internship experiences and how they lead to where he is today.
Bravman grew up in New Jersey and started college at WMU in 2012 in the aviation science and administration program (now the management and operations program). He graduated with his BS in the Spring of 2016. Justin also was part of the Lee Honors College where he completed a thesis that compared the operational performance and other key indicators between Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
When he first arrived at WMU, Justin wanted to do air traffic control, but the FAA regulations changed and he had to switch routes. After this change, he saw that Alaska Airlines had an internship with their regional airline, Horizon Air, during the summer of 2015 in Portland, OR. The internship was within the Supply Chain Management department of Horizon under the materials support team, which means it was mainly inventory control. Justin says he knew that applying to a three-month position across the country was a risk, but it was one he was willing to take. He describes himself as “always pretty adventurous.” Luckily, the skill set Horizon needed matched Justin’s and he was offered the internship. In June of 2015, he jumped on a must-ride non-rev ticket with two bags, ready to take on Portland.
Justin’s second internship was the following semester with Southwest Airlines, in the Fall of 2015. Bravman was already ahead in his studies at WMU. He was supposed to graduate in Fall 2015, but decided he would take the semester off if he were offered the Southwest internship. After Justin applied for the position in the summer and completed a phone interview, Southwest flew him out to their Dallas Headquarters for a face-to-face. About five minutes after this interview, he got on the shuttle to go back to the airport and got a phone call extending the offer. In reflecting on this moment, Justin says, “To say I was happy is an understatement. I was ecstatic, speechless, just really way too happy.”
At the Southwest internship, Bravman once again worked in a Supply Chain Management role, but hisposition was more specific andintense. He was a part of a SCM Powerplant team where he worked on two sub-teams. One was operational and supported both CFM56-3/-7 and APU on all the 737-300, 500, 700 and 800 aircraft Southwest operated at the time. The other was a strategic sourcing team where he developed numerous Excel models to figure out what parts they had or did not have contracts with. The goal of this team was to develop a master list so that they could save money on the Repairs and Overhauls.
When asked about his favorite parts and best memories of his internship experiences, Justin had a lot to say. At Horizon, he says he was able to get a taste of the real world and once again fell in love with aviation. He realized that the airline industry was the industry he wanted to go into. Working at Southwest cemented this idea for him. Also at Horizon, Justin was able to partake in a delivery flight of a brand new Boeing 737-900ER direct from the Boeing 737 Delivery Center at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington! He says this was super memorable and an experience he wishes everyone could have. And, with Horizon, Justin was able to explore the entire west coast including Alaska, where he went up to Barrow, the most northern city in America. When it comes to fond memories at Southwest, Justin remembers having fun taking a tour of the Dallas MX shop, meeting many executives of the airline during happy hours, working with numerous other departments, attending Southwest’s famous Halloween party, and the list goes on and on!
Over the course of both internships, Justin says he was able to figure out what he wanted in a company and how he wanted to be valued. “I wanted to be part of a ‘WE’ culture. We all know how overused the ‘There’s no I in team’ statement is… but it is true.” Bravman also developed a great relationship with his former internship leader at Southwest, who became a mentor that he meets with regularly to discuss life and work.
After Justin graduated in the Spring 2016, he moved down to Texas to work for Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Controls in Grand Prairie, TX, where he did logistics planning and manufacturing planning. There, Justin built many of the data analytic skills like SQL, Advanced Excel, and Tableau. When an opening at Southwest popped up, he applied and was offered the position. It has been an amazing fit for him so far.
Bravman says that in the future, he hopes to become a Sr Analyst on his team. He also says he might become a Leader or just a Business Consultant at Southwest. He feels that he will stay at Southwest for the long haul because what is offered to employees is unbeatable. “It’s honestly just one of the best places I have ever been, everyone is over-the-top nice, friendly, and helpful. They want you to succeed not only for yourself, but also by helping the airline succeed. This is one reason why we’ve been profitable for 44 years, which is unheard of in the Airline industry!”
When asked what initially drove him to complete his two internships, Justin explained, “An internship is like a three-month job interview because you’re not guaranteed a position with the company you work for, but having at least one internship can give you the edge you need when hunting for your first job out of college.”
WMU Aviation is proud of all that Justin has accomplished in his internships, his schoolwork, and his career. We can’t wait to follow this Bronco on his next adventures!