Why did you choose The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture?
I wanted to explore urban planning in a vibrant and growing region, and Austin definitely fit that bill. The School of Architecture was great at enabling projects and research that took advantage of our position in such a dynamic setting. I also wanted to be part of a passionate cohort that represented a diverse set of experiences and perspectives, and UT certainly delivered. I appreciated the opportunity to expand my breadth of understanding about the urban planning with courses in law, business, engineering, and more.
Describe your current role and the work that you do.
I might have the most fun job at my company, floating between some very cool projects. My main assignments are with our infrastructure team to lead JetBlue’s engagement on the JFK T6 development project, and to think through what an integrated JetBlue/Spirit looks like, and with our investor relations team to develop narratives to describe JetBlue’s performance and strategy. Some of my favorite past projects have included negotiating with the airline community for a new Austin Airport Use and Lease Agreement, leading our company’s summer internship project, developing a structured hiring process to reduce bias, drafting an airport lounge access strategy, and developing a cash flow projection during the COVID crisis. I even got to spend a few months as a JFK gate agent alongside JetBlue’s awesome frontline crewmembers – it was a blast!
What’s something you’ve worked on recently?
Developing the earnings call Q&A guide for our CEO, COO, and CFO is one of my favorite (quarterly) projects. It’s a ton of fun working with senior leadership to predict what questions will be asked by analysts and investors and then hunting down answers with passionate SMEs throughout the company. This quarter I fell down a rabbit hole with our system operations team regarding what ATC needs to do to modernize NYC airspace. I love turning their passionate perspectives into concise narratives for senior leadership.
How did UTSOA prepare you for your career?
I think everything in life requires a clear narrative to progress. All of my projects involve concisely defining a challenge or opportunity and developing consensus on how to progress. That’s UTSOA’s bread and butter! Everything we did involved getting to the heart of a complicated issue and clearly communicating a consensus path forward to a community of diverse stakeholders. I recently had the pleasure of revisiting this approach with a peer from the CRP program. JetBlue was in a stalemate with LATAM Airlines and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about an agreement to share a property at JFK. Paulina Urbanowicz-Pollock (MSCPR ’19) of the Port Authority and I aligned our organizations on some complicated issues to get the agreement finished and allow the T6 development project to begin. Sometimes all it takes is understanding each other’s perspectives and finding a rational middle ground.
What were some of the more memorable classes or experiences from your time at the school?
My favorite course was Dr. Zhang’s Megaregion Transit-Oriented Development Studio. We worked with developers, transit authorities, politicians, community leaders, residents, and academics throughout the Texas Triangle to define best practices and unrealized opportunities in transit-oriented development throughout the megaregion. It was great to push beyond the noise and entrenchment of different groups and instead lay out a productive, data-driven approach to actually get transit-oriented development built.