Airline Dispatchers Federation.
Representing the professional interests of the Aircraft Dispatcher.

May 2022 ADF Meredith 1


Meredith Frederick – Southwest Airlines

I got my start in aviation around 2007 when I switched my college major from Electrical Engineering to Aviation
after I came to the conclusion at 2AM over homework that I hated Electrical Engineering and
that airplanes and airports were much cooler than machine language (in my 2AM opinion). I started
work at The Ohio State University Airport as a Student Assistant at about the same time, where I was
exposed to all manner of general aviation and charter aircraft and customers. I went on to earn my
certificates and ratings while working at the airport (up through CFI), and stayed working at the airport
while I earned my Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science. While at the airport, many of my projects
focused on outreach to the community and making aviation more accessible, especially to children. I
was involved in everything from taking kindergarteners around the airport, to hosting Bonanza fly-ins, to
assisting with EAA Young Eagles and the Scouts Youth Aviation Adventure, to arranging for nursing home
visits. If someone wanted to know about the airport or aviation, I would tell them! And if they didn’t, I
would probably tell them anyways!

While working for the airport, I got an opportunity at my first airline: PSA Airlines in Vandalia, OH. I
worked as a Safety Programs Intern where I analyzed data from ASAP, fatigue reports, and other internal
safety reports. I worked with some of the nicest people who spent a considerable amount of time and
patience as I figured things out at my first corporate and Part 121 job. It was at PSA that I was first
introduced to Part 121 dispatchers. On one of my first visits to the operations center, I was told not to
linger as “strange visitors upset dispatchers”, which in hindsight, is hilarious.

In 2013, I was hired by Republic Airlines in Indianapolis, IN as an aircraft dispatcher and my first Part 121
aircraft dispatching job. During my time at Republic, I worked as a dispatch trainer for new hires; a
ground instructor for recurrent; and an Air Transportation Supervisor for initial and recurrent
competency checks.

In April 2015, I started as an Assistant Dispatcher at Southwest Airlines in Dallas, TX. Somehow, I got
signed off and currently I dispatch for all facets of our operation, including domestic, international, and
ETOPS. I currently work as a Dispatch Trainer conducting on-the-job training for new hire dispatchers,
and I am oft-selected as a Day in the Field (DITF) host. Southwest’s DITF program allows employees
from other departments to job shadow fellow employees, and dispatch fields a lot of requests. I often
have fellow CoHearts from operations, ramp, customer service, etc. who stop in and sit with me for a
spell to learn about dispatch. I traded hyping the airport to hyping dispatch! I also am a member of our
union’s (TWU550) Safety Committee, and I have completed NTSB training. I’ve worked as a Competency
Check Examiner at Southwest for recurrent checks. I’ve taught the weather portion of our recurrent
training, and I assist another dispatcher with our department’s extremely unofficial “Dispatch Weather
Photo Contest”, where winners can take home a fabulous prize and bragging rights for the year.
Outside of dispatch, I have a variety of hobbies and interests. I volunteer with the 501st, which is a Star
Wars costuming charity group. We make and wear screen-accurate Star Wars costumes and participate
in a variety of events, from hospital visits, to Make-a-Wish, to community events (yes, I dress up as a
Stormtrooper, and yes, I am a little short for a Stormtrooper). I am an avid woodworker, penturner, and
video gamer, and I support Games Done Quick twice a year with video-game themed woodworking
prizes that are used for charity. Games Done Quick is a video game speedrunning organization that
raises millions of dollars each year for various charities. I’m a repressed dispatch farmer, and I keep
honeybees, chickens, and I have a bad gardening habit. I’ve planted over one hundred trees (not all
big!) in my area, and I would like to get my Master Gardener designation. I enjoy photography, and
donate my time and skills to community organizations and the 501st. I’ve raced airplanes cross country
in the Air Race Classic, I play the piano, I’m SCUBA certified, and I enjoy tinkering with my 3D printer,
CNC machine, tools, and other gizmos.

The people in aviation, and especially in dispatch, are what I love about my job. Working at the airport
was the first time I really felt like I was with “my” people, and the folks at Southwest Dispatch are some
of the nicest people you could meet. When I hear non-aviation friends’ stories of horrible coworkers or
jobs, I count my lucky stars. Every day brings a different set of challenges to the operation, and I am
very fortunate to be able to play the “Ultimate Team Sport” with such a great group of ‘spatchers.



For the month of April, we would like to spotlight Theresa Smith.
On March 18, retired Flight Dispatch Instructor, Theresa Smith, was presented with the Leo D. Hollis Master Aircraft Dispatcher Award at the Women in Aviation International Conference.
This is the most prestigious award issued by the FAA to Aircraft Dispatchers. The award recognizes individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 40 years while performing the duties of an Aircraft Dispatcher. 
The award was presented to Theresa by Scott Stacy, Aviation Safety Inspector – Dispatch, Safety Standards, Air Transportation Division – AFS 200 and Gary Zeman, Director – Flight Dispatch.
Theresa is only the fourth recipient of this award and the first woman to be honored. The first to be honored was Leo D. Hollis himself, and the third honoree was United’s own Gene Cameron.
I started in 1978 as a dispatch clerk, aka “weather clerk”. Back in the day, we had 3 dispatch offices, down from six. We would distribute papers to the dispatchers and put together the flight plans and weather packages for the crews at the airport. I had an opportunity to complete the in-house dispatch training course, facilitated by DENTK.
I was the third female dispatcher at United Airlines. Women were not considered capable of doing the job. Once you were accepted as an assistant dispatcher, you worked one on one with the Dispatcher. As the dispatchers retired, you would move up by seniority from an assistant dispatcher to a dispatcher.
There were many turbulent times that we had to deal with, the fuel embargo in the late, 70’s, deregulation, Patco strike, IAM strike, Alpa strike, ESOP, Bankruptcy and let’s not forget the fire at Elk Grove Villiage. But there were also good things that happened. United was a domestic airline when I started, we did fly to Hawaii and the Caribbean. We started flying to Japan and China and expanded our reach by purchasing PanAm’s European and South American routes. With Gene Cameron and Bob Roeder’s work, we moved away from DC10’s and DC8’s and starting operating ETOPS and Polar operations. Making United more competitive. We went from 3 airport dispatch offices; IADDD, ORDDD & SFODD to a single office at Elk Grove Village.
I always raised my hand, in hopes to make things better. I was part of the original Workload committee, so many of us worked together with the DEC to leave the IAM and join PAFCA. I was a Union Stewart for both the IAM and PAFCA. I worked with Mary Ceglarek to set up the Department Summer picnics in Busse Woods. I worked with Patty Nicosia to host the Retirement Parties, this included, securing the Wings to the plaques for each retiree. We would have up to 200 people attend these parties.I worked with Nick Summers to get the wonderful pictures he took to give to the Retirees for a short time.  Patty Nicosia and I worked with a group of Flight Officers to develop the Domestic Policy and the Single Segment Operation. I worked with the Heather Read, the Scheduling Manager to get everyone scheduled for Sabre Flight planning and Single Segment Dispatching, as well as work as an ADI to teach Sabre and SSD. After the merger with Continental and the move downtown, I wanted to continue to challenge myself. I became an FDI and worked with Mike Beck to fix the problem that prevented us access to CASS. Flight Operations always monitored and maintained control of CASS until Nathan Polderman and myself requested and were granted control over CASS for Dispatchers.
I learned so much over the years in the different projects I was fortunate to be involved with and hope I made a difference in a good way.

Congratulations Theresa!
***Each month ADF is looking to highlight a member. If you are interested in becoming an ADF spotlight please send us a a picture, and in a few sentences, why you love your job as a dispatcher. If selected, we will post on our social media sites.

ADF Spring Business Meeting Announcement:
Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Time: Meeting 1300-1700 Eastern
Location: Holiday Inn & Suites ATL Airport North
We would to see you there!



ADF has dedicated March 7 - March 13 #ADFwomenofaviation week

Throughout the week we will be spotlighting various ADF #women in #aviation members, and sharing their stories.

Keep checking back throughout the week and social media chanels to see and read their stories.

Monday March 7: Takira 'TK' Vasser - Flight Dispatcher American Airlines

Takira TK Vasser

Tuesday March 8: T Kimmee Sorensen - GOC Specialist Aircraft Dispatcher FedEX
Kimee Sorensen

Wednesday March 9: Carol Charter  - Aircraft Dispatcher / System Operations Manager, Delta Air Lines

Carol Charter

Thursday March 10:  Juanita Bailey - Regional Operations Coordinator, American Airlines

Juanita Bailey

Friday March 11:  Jaclyn Gillspie - Flight Dispatch Instructor - United Airlines

Jaclyn Gillespie

Saturday March 12 :  Kim Zaruba- Flight Dispatcher - United Airlines

Kim Zaruba

Sunday March 13;   Andrea M. Georgiou, Ph. D. - Associate Professor/Flight Dispatch Coordinator, MTSU Aerospace.

Andrea M Georgiu

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