Kent State's Aircraft Dispatch Program Takes Flight: Celebrating a Decade of Excellence

Kent State University's College of Aeronautics and Engineering celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Aircraft Dispatch program. During the past decade, this FAA-certified program has graduated nearly 200 students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to pursue rewarding careers as aircraft dispatchers.

Students in the Aircraft Dispatch Program class
Students in the Aircraft Dispatch Program class.

The Aircraft Dispatch Minor, established in 2013, was born out of a vision to provide students with a comprehensive education that aligns with evolving industry needs. "The chance to provide additional career opportunities for our students, raise the bar educationally for dispatchers, thus making a difference in the aviation industry, and to help the university with its push for micro-credentialing, all made sense," said Dr. Richard Mangrum, the program's lead faculty.

Kent State's program stands apart from others by offering a unique blend of academic rigor and practical training. "Our program is an FAR Part 65 certified Aircraft Dispatcher School, whose owner just happens to be Kent State University," explained Dr. Mangrum. "With that, we are able to offer collegiate-level credit for courses taken as part of a student's major and offer credit towards the Dispatch Minor for the FAA-prescribed instruction.” The minor includes the opportunity for students to earn an official Dispatch Certificate.

This approach allows students to graduate with not only their major but also an aircraft dispatcher minor with only two-three additional courses, making them highly competitive in the job market. "Our students leave Kent State with all the knowledge and skills of their major plus the required aircraft dispatcher skills. They are prepared to enter the workforce at a much higher level and likelihood of success than a student from a typical commercially operated school," said Dr. Mangrum.

The Dispatch Minor's impact is evident in the success stories of its alumni. Jaime Martello, a 2017 graduate, now works as a dispatcher at Southwest Airlines. "The Aircraft Dispatch Minor at Kent State has given me a competitive edge because of its thoroughness of information that's covered in class," she said. "Dispatching requires a lot of moving pieces that need to be pieced together to come up with a solid plan for a flight. The Kent State minor allowed me the time and resources to dismantle each stage within the planning process to determine the most safe and legal plan for each flight."

The impact extends even further when alumni collaborate on real-world flights. Martello is looking forward to a unique opportunity later this month. "I’m so excited to be planning a flight for Kent State’s very own Jim Sebastian!" she said. Sebastian, also a Kent State graduate, will be the captain on a Southwest flight that Martello dispatches. "It’s going to be such a special dispatch release with two Kent State graduates sharing operational control over a Southwest flight together,” Martello shared. This upcoming joint flight represents the full circle impact of the program.

Jim Sebastian (Southwest Airlines Captain and KSU alumni) and Jaime Martello (Southwest Airlines Dispatcher and KSU alumni) in the Southwest Airlines Network Operation Control Building
Jim Sebastian (Southwest Airlines Captain and KSU alumni) and Jaime Martello (Southwest Airlines Dispatcher and KSU alumni) in the Southwest Airlines Network Operation Control Building in Dallas, Texas, on January 7, 2024.


Brendan Williams, a 2016 graduate, echoed Martello's sentiments. "The minor at Kent State set me up for success at the regional and legacy level, and subsequently, this program has allowed me to get a job where I can work in a field that I enjoy every day," said Williams, who is now a dual-qualified domestic and international dispatcher at Delta Air Lines.

As the aviation industry continues to evolve, Kent State's Aircraft Dispatch Minor remains committed to staying ahead of the curve. "The changes in air traffic procedures and aircraft capabilities have been significant over the past decade," said Dr. Mangrum. "I ensure that the program has the very latest materials available and that the students are taught about new procedures and new technologies."

For students considering a career in aviation, Dr. Mangrum offers this advice: "The aircraft dispatch certificate does not require any class of medical or re-current training, it doesn't expire and does not have an age limit. It is a perfect back-up plan to any of our programs, and you might just end up liking it as well as your major."

As the Aircraft Dispatch Minor celebrates its 10th anniversary, its impact on the aviation industry and the success of its graduates are a testament to Kent State's commitment to excellence in aeronautics education. The program is poised to continue producing highly skilled and well-rounded dispatchers for years to come.

Part 65 Dispatch Graduates
A group of students who completed the program and received their aircraft dispatch certificates.


Kent State's Part 65 Aircraft Dispatcher offering is not limited to students alone; industry professionals also have the opportunity to benefit from this comprehensive certification. The program has already extended its reach to employees of FlexJet, and plans are in the works to make it available to members of the broader community in the future. Applicants will need to complete several hours of online coursework, typically covered within a student's regular academic schedule, before attending a face-to-face session at Kent State.

If you would like more information about Kent State's Aircraft Dispatch Minor and/or the Part 65 certification, please visit

POSTED: Thursday, May 2, 2024 10:38 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2024 01:56 PM