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ANDREA JOY COOPER

Andrea CooperInspired 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.

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 flight cancellations, delays, 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 role of manager of airport operations with United Airlines.

With United Airlines, Ms. Cooper is responsible for a variety of logistical duties and the coordination of various behind-the-scenes aspects to keep the airline running smoothly. She manages the gating for the flights in her department and coordinates with internal and external departments to take care of any problems that may arise. With the goal of a position as an operations director for a major airline, Ms. Cooper recently obtained a master’s degree in aeronautics, specializing in airspace operations and space systems from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2021.

Adventure, focus, and dedication changed the course of Ms. Cooper’s life when she was the sole survivor of a fatal plane crash in 2019. Her story of recovery and growth from a serious tragedy is one of determination, resiliency and the realization of those things that are truly important. Her physical limits have changed, but her perspective on life has grown. She believes her response to everything in life is what determines her outcome.

Attributing her professional success and recovery to her Christian faith, hard work and dedication, Ms. Cooper is also grateful to the mentors she has had throughout her education and career. Looking toward the future, she intends to give back to aspiring professionals through motivational speaking and writing her memoir. Her current professional advice is to never stop learning from others and to learn at least something of the different aspects of your career. 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 coworkers and her work and always followed through on whatever she did, as well as someone who respected others and helped them gain respect for themselves.

Ms. Cooper is a best-selling author, speaker, and aviation professional. 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 nondestructive testing, and contracting. In her free time, Ms. Cooper enjoys ballroom dancing, gardening and hosting guests through Airbnb.

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