Inspired to a career in the airline industry because of her father, who was a pilot, Andrea Joy Cooper was further driven by her desire for a career that would challenge her. Having held her private pilot license since 2011, she earned an Associate of Science in air traffic control at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, and her airline dispatcher certification from Jeppesen Academy in 2013. During her studies, she worked as a receptionist for Texas & Oklahoma Occupational Medicine Services from 2009 and 2010, as an office manager for Paris Neurological Associates from 2009 to 2012, and a dispatcher for LeTourneau University in 2013.
From there, Ms. Cooper was hired by Trans States Airlines as a crew scheduler in 2013, rising to airline dispatcher and dispatch manager from 2014 to 2017. During this time, she found she enjoyed the greater responsibility that a management position brought, being involved in plane cancellations, delays and swaps and other duties that required an increased amount of creative problem solving. With this realization, she sought a Bachelor of Science in air traffic management at LeTourneau University, which she earned in 2016. In 2017, Ms. Cooper was hired to her current roles of manager of airport operations and zone control supervisor with United Airlines.
With United Airlines, Ms. Cooper is responsible for a variety of logistical duties and coordinating various behind the scenes aspects to keep the airline running smoothly. She manages the gate board and the gating for all of the flights to ensure that every flight has a gate and coordinates with their internal departments to take care of any problems that may arise. Hoping to eventually have a position as a director at the United Airlines headquarters in Chicago, Ms. Cooper recently obtained a master’s degree in aeronautics, specializing in airspace operations and safety from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2021.
Attributing much of her success to her faith, hard work and dedication, Ms. Cooper is also grateful to the mentors she has had throughout her education and career. Looking towards the future, she intends to give back to young and aspiring professionals through motivational speaking and outreach and by writing a book. Her current advice is that, since aviation is a very broad field and there is a lot to learn — which makes it impossible to know everything — it is important to focus on learning from others and try to know at least something of all the different areas. Ms. Cooper credits her own professional growth to her flexibility and willingness to learn.
Having accomplished much over the years in her field, Ms. Cooper considers the ongoing highlight of her career to be the chances she has to work with her team on irregular and challenging operations. The process of working together to overcome a situation that seems impossible and see the project through to a successful end is something that she finds so incredibly gratifying. Ultimately, Ms. Cooper hopes to leave a legacy as someone who cared about her work and always followed through on whatever she did as well as someone who respected others and helped them gain respect for themselves. In order to keep abreast of professional developments, she holds membership in Women in Aviation International.
Born in Texas to parents John and Lisa Cooper, Ms. Cooper’s family also includes six siblings. Her siblings work in a wide range of fields, including emergency medicine, quality assurance for non-destructive testing, and contracting. In her free time, Ms. Cooper enjoys ballroom dancing, gardening and hosting guests through Airbnb.