Dennis Post (’09) began his career at Southwest Airlines in December of 2008 after two internships in the Safety Department while he was a Professional Aeronautics student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He spent six years as an Air Safety Investigator and Senior Air Safety Investigator conducting internal safety investigations and representing Southwest as the Party Coordinator to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations, including a major hull-loss accident at New York’s LaGuardia airport. During his career as an Air Safety Investigator Dennis investigated over 150 safety events.
In 2015, Dennis became the Manager of Emergency Response and in 2018 became Senior Manager of Emergency Response. Dennis’ role involves overseeing Southwest’s emergency response plans and family assistance programs to ensure that Southwest can respond confidently and compassionately to emergency situations. In the event of an aircraft accident involving Southwest Airlines, Dennis serves as the air carrier liaison to the NTSB Office of Transportation Disaster Assistance (TDA) and ensures that Southwest provides assistance to those affected by the accident.
What benefits did your internship provide to help you identify your career path?
My internship exposed me to a different aspect of aviation than what I was actively studying – safety and accident investigation – and that field ended up being where I started my career.
What is one piece of career advice you would like to share?
Treat people as you would like to be treated, work hard, and own your mistakes. Your degree is an asset – but not a golden ticket. What happens after graduation is up to you.
If you could go back to your college days, what would you do differently?
Start looking at internship opportunities early, even before you’re eligible for them. It’s important to learn the opportunities that will become available to you and connect with the people who will be looking for candidates. Don’t focus solely on what aligns to your major; explore everything that is out there – you never know what experience or connection you might find.
What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of significant milestones in my company’s history, even when they were difficult or trying ones. To be able to be a part of both celebratory and difficult events has given me the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the success of the organization as a whole.
What qualities do you find to be the most valuable in your field?
Flexibility, dependability, and an open mind. Candidates – either internship or full-time – don’t have to be experts in the field (with the exception of certificated positions like Pilots, AMTs, or Controllers, of course), they need to have an understanding of the field and a willingness to grow with the organization. Companies are looking for people who believe in what they do and want to be a part of it, not those just looking for a job after graduation.
How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you?
My degree connected me with alumni who gave me the opportunity to demonstrate my skills. As a result of those connections and my internship I was hired before I had even completed my degree, during a tumultuous time in the aviation industry and the economy overall.
What are your future career plans?
I consider myself very fortunate to have spent the past 10+ years at Southwest Airlines both as an intern and a full-time employee. The company treats their employees like family and offers outstanding internal career growth. I don’t see myself going anywhere else!