Bristow’s Jenny Kubiak: An inspiring story of determination
In honor of Women's History Month at Bristow, we feature Customer Service Representative Jenny Kubiak from our Houma, Louisiana operations.
Tell us about your family.
I have a small family, but we are very close. I am a single mother of two girls, Yasmine,18, and Gabriella, 9. I grew up in Houma, Louisiana and have lived there my entire life.
Would you share your background and the path you took that brought you to Bristow? Was there anything unique about that journey?
I wanted to be a veterinarian in high school. After graduating, I did enroll in a course for that but never completed it due to having my first child, which kind of put things on hold.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered that I was allergic to cats, so I knew that pursuing a career in veterinary medicine wouldn't be a great idea. I took a job at a local Dollar General, and a coworker at the time told me about a job opening at Air Logistics, which became Bristow.
The initial thing that made me want to apply was her telling me the schedule, seven days on and seven days off. I mean, who wouldn’t want that kind of opportunity and also to work with helicopters? My dad worked offshore so I already had an idea of what the offshore helicopter business was like.
Did you face any challenges? How did you overcome them?
Being at Bristow was a new and interesting field of work that I was eager to learn about and I caught on very quickly. Juggling life as a single mom, between children and work, was a big challenge, but I had some family that helped me out tremendously. Another challenge is that my youngest child was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic a few years ago, so I’ve learned to manage caring for her along with my job responsibilities.
Tell us about your time at Bristow that led up to your current role as a Customer Service Representative?
I have been in aviation for almost 18 years now. I started off in Ground Support where I spent three years. I then became an Administrative Assistant for six years. These two positions were at our Houma base.
When the Houma (Legacy Bristow) base closed, I moved to the Galliano base and became a Dispatcher for customer flights. I did this for about four years before coming across a job opening from a friend at the Era base in Houma (prior to the merger). I have now worked as a CSR for nearly five years.
The CSR position consists of different job scopes that include the front desk, customer flights, and radio. I have done them all and I’m currently working the radio-tower. Each position has been very challenging because each has unique responsibilities. Being able to stay focused, patient, consistent, and safe are critical traits required at all times for each of these positions. Being able to multitask is a big thing that I have become accustomed to with my job and in life, particularly with the health concerns of my youngest daughter. I am very proud of my work ethic that I have carried throughout my career. I know I am great at what I do.
What is it like to work in the radio room?
Working in the radio room is great. It does involve a lot of thinking in the moment and ahead, such as knowing which aircraft have flight(s) for the day and what pads are available to put them on. The information for flights is put together by the night CSR and any updates are communicated through emails that are monitored throughout the day.
There is also communication with Maintenance on movement of aircraft. There is a room here at the base upstairs in Terminal B where I watch incoming and outgoing Bristow aircraft. I clear their tails for departure and take their incoming calls to communicate to base support for unloading/fueling of aircraft. I also communicate the fuel orders to the fueling team for the aircraft.
We have another radio frequency that is for the airport tower, where I can listen to all communications taking place around the airport. That is interesting to hear. There is so much involved with air traffic. I always need to be on alert working the radio.
Tell us about an interesting highlight in your career?
In 2016 there was a movie made titled, "Deepwater Horizon" starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, based off of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico that killed several crewmembers. They filmed part of the movie at our Galliano base using some of our people. I had a 10-second cameo, but it was enough for those who knew me to see and recognize me.
Who inspires you (work, personal and / or historical)?
My children inspire me. As a single mom, I don’t want them ever to see me giving up, so they push me to keep being great even when things are hard.
What advice do you have for women just beginning their career?
My advice would be to always stay focused and strong. It can be really difficult at times. Never give up and if at any time you are in doubt about anything, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my kids. I also like to travel when I can.
Jenny with her two daughters, Gabriella (center) and Yasmine (right)