Name: Aubrey Coleman
Hometown: Hoover, Alabama
Undergraduate Major and institution: Double Major in Corporate Finance and Economics with a concentration in Macroeconomic Monetary Policy; University of Alabama
Graduate School major and institution: Master in Civil Engineering, University of Alabama; Concentration in Transportation Infrastructure Development
Professional school concentration and institution: Juris Doctorate of Law, University of Alabama
Take me back a decade, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A decade ago, I was a high school junior in Birmingham, Al. During that time, I wanted to major in Aeronautical Engineering and pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut who would be the first person to walk on another planet. Upon retiring from NASA, I wanted to enter politics and possibly become President of the United States.
What do you do now?
Today, I work in the Airport Affairs group at Alaska Airlines. My job is to oversee the company's business relationship with 50+ airports across the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Latin America. My job requires me to manage the budget of a $100+ million airport real estate portfolio, negotiate various agreements, oversee large multi-million dollar airport capital improvement (construction) and expansion project, and represent the company with any other types of legal or business obligation that may occur at the airport.
What challenges have you faced achieving your career goals?
Maintaining a work/life balance. Obtaining two graduate/professional degrees simultaneously takes a great deal of time and sacrifice. Furthermore, my current job requires me to live in Seattle Washington; far away from my family and friends who live two time zones away. Professionally, the work and heavy travel demands that my job entails are manageable (at times lol). However, making sure that I can make time for those who care about me and even maintaining a long distance relationship is something that can and has posed a challenge. However, my family, friends, and girlfriend have been very supportive in my career pursuits (providing that I promise to visit whenever I can)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Professionally in 5 years, I see myself obtaining a Vice President role at a Fortune 500 Airline en route to becoming a C-level executive. Personally, I see myself happily married traveling the world and preparing to begin a family.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to your career?
Learn to be uncomfortable. When I first moved to Seattle, I knew nobody and had only visited Seattle to interview for the job that was relocating me to the city. Since I knew nobody, I was forced to develop a network of friends 2000+ miles away from the closest familiar face. It wasn't always easy, and I was often times uncomfortable going into a new places alone. However, what I learned is that when you put yourself out there, people are generally receptive. Throughout the process, I not only developed a brand new expansive network of friends across the city, I learned and experienced things that I never would have if I were closer to home with people that I already knew.
What is your personal mantra?
You have two options as a man: you can either play now and pay later, or pay now and play later.