Karlene Johnson - Our Amazing People

Thirteen years ago, Atlanta-based flight attendant Karlene Johnson made the difficult choice to uproot her family and relocate to Atlanta. The move was hard on her family and became the inspiration for her newest endeavor, a children’s novel entitled Anthills and Racing Feet.

Johnson’s mission was to use her book to highlight the difficulties faced by adolescent children that are unexpectedly moved to a new environment, and it is fair to say, “Mission accomplished.” Her family’s very own move from Kingston, Jamaica to Atlanta inspired the story, with the main character being loosely based on her son who was ten years old at the time of the move.

Anthills and Racing Feet is the story of Junior, a 10-year-old boy who leaves his small, island village with his mother to live with her new husband in the big city of New York. In a search for his lost sense of belonging, he experiences many challenges, including feelings of isolation and bullying in school. This is a modern-day tale of a boy finding his inner strength just when he needs it most. Lessons of family, love and support, and the wisdom that can be gained from elders make the story just right for any child going through tough times.

“Immigrant children often face countless challenges when attempting to assimilate into a new culture and find their sense of belonging,” Johnson said. “It’s my hope that the book will spark conversations about the role of families and friends in the lives of children after they move, because those people will be key in helping to make learning about new cultures much easier.”

The title, Anthills and Racing Feet, has several symbolic meanings. In the book, Junior enjoys playing outdoors with his friends on the island village he once called home. They enjoy, among other things, to dig up anthills then watch the ants scatter in all directions. After the move, the ants become symbolic of Junior, who is trying to navigate his way through the obstacles of bullying and isolation that he experiences in his new home. Ants never quit, and Junior learns that neither should he. “Racing Feet” becomes a symbol of his courage and determination.

Johnson plans to share similar messages in additional books written for the Anthills series. She is currently in the process of writing the series’ second installment.

A signed copy of Karlene’s book can be purchased at www.anthillsandracingfeet.com. All signed copies come with a complimentary bookmark. Unsigned copies are available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles online, and www.liferichpublishing.com.


Visitors traveled near and far to attend our Houston and Atlanta Open Houses this fall where they got to experience first-hand what it takes to be the world’s most respected regional airline. Nearly 400 future aviators attended the events.

Attendees got a behind-the-scenes look at the daily functions of ExpressJet’s flight operations, maintenance and Operation Support Center (OSC), and were given full access to recruiters, EPIC Ambassadors and some of ExpressJet’s chief pilots. Middle Georgia State University was also on site in Atlanta to speak with potential students about their aviation program.

A highlight shared amongst many of the visitors was their experience in the flight simulator. Attendees were able to pilot a takeoff and landing in the same equipment used by our pilots in training. The full-motion simulators mimick flight controls and movement in a CRJ200, CRJ700/900 and an ERJ145.

If you didn’t make it out this time, keep an eye out for future Open Houses in Atlanta and Houston – you won’t want to miss it!














ExpressJet team members have been jetsetting around the country this fall, but we’re not vacationing. We’re visiting aviation students on their campuses and giving them a chance to check out our CRJ200 and ERJ145 aircraft first-hand.

“Gone are the days of reaching students by phone or email. Visiting students at their school, in the classroom, lets us engage and inspire the future generation of aviators,” said Darrin Greubel, general manager of Flight Operations at ExpressJet. “We want students to know it is never too soon to begin investing in your career, and to remind them what they’re working toward.”

Since August, pilots, mechanics, dispatchers and flight attendants have traveled the country on collegiate plane tours to 12 Airline Pilot Pathway Program (AP3) partner universities. The plane tours are a reflection of ExpressJet’s ever-present core focus of educating, engaging and empowering future aviators across the country.

“At ExpressJet, we are bridging the gap between the regional airline community and the university campuses through AP3,” said Darrin. “We take pride in educating and mentoring the future generation of aviators and helping them grow in their careers, from the beginning.”

Through AP3, ExpressJet has established relationships with and attracted talent from some of the most prominent aviation institutions in the country. So far this year, we’ve taken a jet to 12 univerisities that are part of AP3. We hope to visit our other partner schools in 2016.

  • Auburn University
  • Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) – Daytona
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Indiana State University
  • Lewis University
  • Liberty University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Purdue University
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • University of North Dakota
  • Western Michigan University

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When you’re ready to start your career in aviation, you’ll likely consider base locations, pay and aircraft type to help you choose an airline. You might not be thinking about health benefits, work rules or long-term stability of the company, but we encourage you to consider your future when making this important decision.

“We are committed to making smart business decisions because our hard-working team members deserve a bright, stable future,” said Brad Sheehan, senior vice president – Operations at ExpressJet.  “Our team members on the front line have made us successful, and my job is to make sure that success is noticed, built upon and rewarded.”

ExpressJet is a top-performing airline backed by a strong parent company, SkyWest, Inc. We offer industry-leading work rules for our pilots, a great company culture and peace of mind knowing we’re here for the long term. We invest in our people by offering the quality of life they deserve and making business decisions that support our stability. Whether you’re planning to move up to the majors or make ExpressJet a long-term career, we provide a solid foundation for your future.

At a time in our industry where uncertainty and a constantly changing environment are challenges for all regional airlines, ExpressJet is making smart business decisions to ensure success in the present and in our future. We’ve extended contracts on aircraft, added new work rules that improve our already great quality of life, and built a solid infrastructure that will allow us to grow when the right opportunities arise.

We’ve been through tough times, learned from the challenges we faced and have come out stronger. ExpressJet is building a stable future for our current and future aviation professionals, and we hope you’ll join us.


In September, ExpressJet expanded our University Gateway partnership with JetBlue Airways to include new paths from ExpressJet to JetBlue, and an Advanced Gateway for current ExpressJet pilots. Since then, we’ve been traveling to partner schools with JetBlue and Cape Air representatives to talk to students about the program and hold interviews for interested applicants.


“ExpressJet, JetBlue and Cape Air are all dedicated to hiring highly qualified pilots who share our cultural values,” said Courtney Dennis, manager of Pilot Hiring and Recruitment – ExpressJet Airlines. “This new partnership further solidifies ExpressJet as the best regional airline for collegiate aviators to begin their careers.”

The partnership expands on ExpressJet’s earlier agreement with JetBlue to create three distinct pathways from an Aviation Accreditation Board International (“AABI”) partner school to ExpressJet to JetBlue:

ExpressJet to JetBlue: Graduate AABI partner school and serve as a flight instructor for one year to meet Airline Transport Pilot (“ATP”)/Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (“R-ATP”) minimums >> Serve as a first officer at ExpressJet for at least 3,000 hours and 36 months for at least 4,000 hours total flight time >> Interview and begin training at JetBlue

ExpressJet to Cape Air to JetBlue: Graduate AABI partner school and serve as a flight instructor for one year to meet ATP/R-ATP minimums >> Serve as a first officer at ExpressJet for at least 1,800 hours and 24 months >> Serve as a captain at Cape Air for at least 1,000 hours and 12 months for at least 3,800 hours total flight time >> Interview and begin training at JetBlue

Cape Air to ExpressJet to JetBlue: Graduate AABI partner school and serve as a flight instructor for one year >> Serve as a captain at Cape Air for at least 1,000 hours and 18 months >> Serve as a first officer at ExpressJet for at least 1,800 hours and 18 months for at least 3,800 hours total flight time >> Interview and begin training at JetBlue

In addition, this new partnership will offer current ExpressJet pilots who meet all program requirements an additional option for career advancement.

“JetBlue chose ExpressJet because of our pilots’ professionalism and passion for flying,” said Brad Sheehan, senior vice president – Operations. “We’re a good cultural fit, and our pilots have a history of success with JetBlue. The new Gateway programs complement our already strong hiring relationship with JetBlue.”

Pilots in the Gateway program must meet a defined set of criteria, including regular performance reviews, and successfully complete new hire interviews at each airline in the path they choose. In addition, for the University Gateway Program, pilots must attend Auburn University, Bridgewater State University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona and Prescott campuses), Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Jacksonville University or the University of North Dakota. For the Advanced Gateway, pilots who graduated with an accredited major and flight training from any AABI school are eligible.

To learn more about the JetBlue University Gateway Program, visit futurebluepilots.com. To learn more about the JetBlue Advanced Gateway for current ExpressJet pilots, visit xjt.com > Flight Operations > JetBlue Gateway.

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