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African American Pilot Tells Co-Worker, If It’s To Be, It’s Up To You

Bill Norwood (left) and Tony Marshall (right)

Bill Norwood (left) and Tony Marshall (right)

By Cynthia Frazier

RIALTO, CA- Tony Marshall is on a mission to expose minority youth to opportunities available in the aviation industry, and there is no shortage of opportunities for the foreseeable future. According to a Boeing forecast, worldwide, there is a need for more than half a million new commercial airline pilots over the next couple of decades. In the U.S. the need is more than 95,000 new commercial pilots. Plus, airline pilots can command a salary between $100,000 and $200,000.

Looking back a few decades, the number of African American commercial pilots across all airlines was too small to count. In fact, it wasn’t until a landmark Supreme Court Case in 1963 that the color barrier was smashed and Marion Green became the first black pilot hired by a major U.S. Passenger Airline (Continental). A few years later, Marshall experienced the lack of opportunity for black pilots first hand. Although he hadn’t thought about it much at first, as a young newly hired pilot, Marshall realized that none of his fellow coworkers shared his cultural experiences as a black man.

While on one of his early flights, Marshall, along with his coworkers, walked proudly through an airport in uniform. Much to his surprise, another black pilot in uniform tapped him on the shoulder. It turned out to be Bill Norwood, the first black pilot hired by United Airlines. Mr.

Norwood welcomed Marshall to the company and congratulated him on getting hired. What happened next left a lasting impact on Marshall and continues to influence how he conducts his life today.

Mr. Norwood pulled Marshall to the side and reminded Marshall that other black pilots paved the way to open doors for young black men to get hired. Norwood continued, “Without the sacrifices and determination of men like the Tuskegee Airmen and myself, who fought to cross the color line, you would not have been lucky enough to have this opportunity. So now, it is up to you to make it your mission to help others succeed in this industry.” Mr. Norwood told Marshall that whenever he was in uniform, he should make time to talk directly to young black kids at the airport.

Tony Marshall said, “I took this advice to heart.”

Today, Marshall runs the California Shades of Blue Aeronautics Academy. With the support of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, Shades of Blue completed two successful classes of middle school students in 2015. Participants in the Academy attend a five week academic course, and they get to meet aeronautics professionals like local Cessna Airplane owners. The Fall 2015 class was introduced to Jet Fighter Pilot Lt. Malone from San Diego.

One very exciting part of the course includes an orientation flight at Flabob Airport where students actually get to take control of a Cessna plane while in the air. “At first, I didn’t think I would like the class because it was early in the morning on a Saturday,” said 6th grade student Izaiah Frazier. “It turned out to be a great experience. I will never forget it.” Frazier continued.

Frazier attended the Fall 2015 session. In spite of the low diversity numbers that continue to plague the aerospace industry – only 4 percent women pilots, less than 3 percent African-American pilots, 2.5 percent Asia pilots, and 5 percent Hispanic pilots — there is good news for young minority students like Frazier. Going forward, the airline industry as a whole is preparing for tremendous growth. In addition to the large number of commercial airline pilots needed over the next 20 years, there will also be a need for over 600,000 additional commercial airline maintenance technicians, aircraft manufacturers, equipment trainers, and training delivery organizations. Marshall believes that helping students to discover these opportunities at a young age could have a big payoff somewhere down the line. He is determined that minority youth are poised to take advantage of the abundance of aviation opportunities to come.

It couldn’t come soon enough for Marshall. Today, only 4 percent of airline transport pilots are women, just under 3 percent are African-American, 2.5 percent are Asian, and 5 percent are Hispanic.

The Spring 2016 Academy opened on Saturday, February 20, 2016 in Rialto with words of wisdom from Mayor Deborah Robertson and Rialto School District Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila. Both shared personal stories of their life experiences, challenges, and successes. Students were advised to take full advantage of every opportunity that crossed their path.

Student Spotlight: Evan and Eric Carthen

Evan and Eric Carthen

Evan and Eric Carthen

SAN BERNARDINIO, CA- Evan Carthen, known on Cal Lutheran University campus as “Mr. President,” will be graduating with a dual major, BA in English and a BS in Political Science on May 14, 2016 along with his twin brother Eric Carthen who will be graduating with a BS degree in Criminal Justice.

Evan will be attending law school in the Fall. He has been accepted to several major universities with scholarships, including Ohio State University and Pepperdine University.  His decision will be announced soon.

The Future Alumni of California Lutheran University, who both will be graduating with honors, have a bright future ahead of them.


Excellence by Design Brings Empowering “Gurl…Ask Me Anything” Conference to Riverside

RIVERSIDE, CA-  “Gurl…Ask Me Anything!” is an evening of storytelling and sharing, all part of a dynamic conference aimed at building authentic relationships to help women break free from the fears that hold them back from doing what God has purposed for their lives.

On Saturday, March 19, at the Mt. Rubidoux Seventh-day Adventist Church located at 5320 Victoria Avenue in Riverside, this amazing girls’ night out will feature soul-stirring praise and worship, spoken word, dance, a vendor expo, and inspiring stories by three women who will share how they moved from fear to freedom (#FromFearToFreedom).

Conference goers will hear from former professional soccer player, motivational speaker and author Jasmine Henderson. Her first book, A Broken Vow, was inspired by her life changing journey from virgin to single motherhood at age 25. Josie Aiello, a national recording artist, will share how she chose to leave a successful yet unfulfilling singing,songwriting career to answer “The Call” to sing for the Lord; and Dr. Sally D. Williams, an educational psychologist, author, and life coach, will speak on the importance of keeping your integrity when faced with fearful decisions.

“It’s time to have safe, open, relevant and needed conversations between women of all ages,” said Desiree Foster-Collins, president and co-founder of Excellence by Design.

“Gurl…Ask Me Anything” is open to women from ages 16 and up. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for general admission and 5:30 p.m. for VIP premium ticket holders. VIP guests will be treated to a Meet and Greet with the featured guest speakers, an “Hors d’oeuvres Hour” before the conference, reserved seating, a special VIP gift and more. The program begins at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $10 for students (ages 16-22 years) to $40 for the VIP package. There is also a special pricing for groups of 10 or more and an early bird ticket price of $20 that is available through March 12. After March 12 general admission ticket prices will be $25 per person. Vendor opportunities are also available. Child care will not be provided, and nursing mothers are welcome. For more information, to register as a vendor, and to purchase your tickets online visit excellencebydesign.us.

If you have questions about the conference, or want to know more about Excellence by Design (EBD) call 951-888-0398 or send an email to info@excellencebydesign.us.