Edmund Odartey received his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration and an Master of Business Administration in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is currently working as the senior director for the office of alumni engagement, which is based at the Daytona Beach Campus.
Discuss you career path and current role at ERAU?
Growing up, my dream was to become a commercial airline pilot. I began my education in the aeronautical science program at Embry-Riddle. After a few flight lessons and with funds running out, my interest in becoming a pilot quickly faded away. I spoke with my academic advisor and through our conversation, I realized my passion centered on aviation and not necessarily on being a pilot. Embry-Riddle exposed me to the many fields in aviation, which led me to continue my education in the aviation business program at the recently named David B. O’Maley College of Business.
As a student, I was a resident advisor, which enabled me to learn more about the university while helping new students adjust to college life. This experience, coupled with my desire to help others, led me to apply for and land a job with the financial aid department after graduation. Later, I joined the alumni engagement team, while pursuing my master’s degree.
I found my job in the alumni office to be a natural fit. My current duties include overseeing all Florida and International Alumni Networks, collaborating with the various university departments to serve our alumni and students, and assisting in planning our largest annual event: Homecoming. I also serve as the advisor for the Future Alumni Network Ambassadors and I supervise our department’s graduate and student assistants. My role also helps support the university’s mission of increasing philanthropic engagement of our alumni.
What is your favorite part of working at Embry-Riddle?
My favorite part of my job is that I (and the entire alumni engagement team) have the opportunity to represent more than 130,000 alumni, who are doing great things in the aviation industry. I also enjoy working with current students to help them become great alumni when they graduate. I have helped build several successful programs for our alumni, such as The Lift Off events, which celebrate our new graduates and welcome them to our global Eagle Alumni Network; TalonTalks, a Homecoming speakers’ event; Eagle Explorers, an alumni travel program; and many more that help promote alumni engagement.
How has your degree helped you in your current position?
Both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business prepared me well for my current management role in alumni engagement. The numerous real-world case studies and my capstone project were valuable experiences that have helped me in my decision-making and time management, my organization skills, and my event and program planning and implementation.
Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you have ever had?
I worked at Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in New Jersey after high school. I enjoyed having to “test ride” Nitro, a 230-foot roller coaster each morning, before the park was opened to the public. I was terrified of roller coasters, so getting a job to operate one was very ironic and I overcame that fear after a few test rides.
What involvement do you have outside of the workplace?
I am a member of the following organizations, which help me grow professionally and personally: Forum of Florida Alumni Association (FFAA), Florida Aviation Business Association (FABA), Florida Airports Council (FAC); and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
What advice do you have for students who are interested in working for the University?
As the world’s leading educational institution that prepares students for the aerospace industry, there are numerous opportunities to advance your professional careers here at the University. Embry-Riddle is continuously ranked as one of the Great Colleges to Work For, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education and among the top 100 companies to work for, by the Orlando Sentinel. It is very rewarding knowing that by working at ERAU, you are helping students who will create life-changing technologies for the aviation and aerospace industries, as well as for developing countries. For the latter, Embry-Riddle’s Project Haiti, a student club that engineers and installs water purification systems at orphanages and schools in Haiti, is a prime example.