Preparing for Take Off After City Year

Today’s guest blogger is Grant Grimard, a corps member currently serving on the MS 424 Alcoa team in the South Bronx. He was recently given a special opportunity to explore the Corporate Pilot career he’d like to pursue after his year of service at City Year with the help of one of our sponsors, Alcoa. Read along to find out how it all unfolded. 

I was once told that opportunities are lost because they present themselves as hard work. Networking is not easy, and I’m talking sweaty palms and a dry throat for this guy. I had just finished giving a short speech at our Ripples of Hope Dinner when I decided to Carpe Diem. I confidently walked around the table I was sitting at and briefly introduced myself to those I hadn’t spoken with. I met a wonderful woman named Esra Ozer, Director of Executive Communications and Assistant Corporate Secretary of Alcoa Inc, and she was the spark to one of the coolest moments in my life. I mentioned my aspirations of becoming a Corporate Pilot one day and she replied, “It would be so cool for you to meet one of our Corporate Pilot’s at Alcoa!” She then gave me her business card and told me too email her the next day!

I emailed Ms. Ozer the following night, and within a couple of days she had set me up to meet the Chief Pilot at Alcoa! She scheduled for me to meet him on a Friday at the Westchester airport and that their company driver was going to be picking me up! I was told to look out for a black Mercedes and when I saw it, I was ready to live a day in the life of my dreams.

Grant poses for a quick photo before heading into the plane to meet the pilot and get a tour!

After a 30 minute drive to the airport I was finally there. It was a beautiful day and there were only a couple of clouds in the sky. We pulled up to Alcoa’s corporate jet and Arthur Sperring was standing outside of it, he was a tall gentleman, with a contagious personality. After an excited handshake, I was taken through a tour of their plane.

While walking through the plane, I couldn’t help but notice how right it felt. After the tour, we made our way to the cockpit. He let me sit in the left seat of the cockpit (captains seat) while he sat in the right (what an honor)! We conversed for a little over an hour and I asked him everything I could think of.  Mr. Sperring’s knowledge and passion for aviation was truly remarkable. He gave me invaluable advice and career-guidance that changed my life and made me even more motivated to become a Pilot.