An alumna from Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus played an integral role addressing the shortage of women in aviation from her time as a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB).
Lindsey Dreiling, a 2007 graduate of K-State Salina, was appointed to the FAA’s board in 2018 and the group recently submitted their multi-year reach and comprehensive plan to achieve greater participation from women in the aviation industry. The 30-member, all female aviation leaders, board was established by the FAA to promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach and recruitment for women in aviation positions.
“The future of the aviation industry depends on the recruitment and retention of the very top talent to support the current and growing workforce needs of the industry,” said Dreiling. “With women making up less than 7% of the pilot workforce and 2% of the aviation maintenance workforce, we have a severely untapped talent resource. Additionally, supporting future generations of women in aviation professionals provides an opportunity for them to access and excel in a challenging, adventurous, and rewarding career.” Dreiling lent her years of experience in the board’s research and findings that resulted in 55 recommendations encompassing recruitment, retention, advancement, data and culture to the FAA for greater female involvement.
Of the major findings by the WIAAB included creating a change in culture, starting with leadership. The board found that leaders in aviation have the ability to ensure an effective culture change strategy necessary to implement inside of their respective organizations. The board is asking for support from the U.S. Congress, the Department of Transportation, the FAA and many other industry leaders in adopting the comprehensive recommendations to support aviation’s future innovation, efficiency, viability and safety.
“The recommendations provide guidance for leadership on avenues for engagement and creating alliances among organizations to support aviation’s future,” Dreiling said. “These steps are just the beginning to improving access for all future aviators seeking a fulfilling profession.”
Dreiling herself has seen successes in the aviation industry during her career, which made her the ideal candidate to help the WIAAB. Dreiling previously worked for the Kansas Department of Transportation, serving as the deputy director of aviation and unmanned aircraft systems, helping to lead the first statewide unmanned air traffic safety program. She was also K-State Salina’s first ever executive director of aviation strategy, responsible for fostering growing partnerships between the Aerospace and Technology Campus and the aviation industry to broaden access for underrepresented groups in aviation.
K-State Salina department head of aviation Clint Strong notes that the training that students are receiving from the campus are helping them to become leaders of tomorrow.
“A pillar of the Aerospace and Technology Campus mission is to create a greater representation of females in the workplace,” said Strong. “Lindsey’s leadership on the national level has made it possible for women to take an interest in aviation when they might else not have. With our Global Aeronautics Initiative, we recognize the shortcomings of the industry and we hope to play a role in making sure that aviation is a better representation of our country as a whole.”