Vaughn Graduate Finds Success in Cargo Aviation Industry

August 12, 2020 Student Life

When Vaughn College alumnus Vladislav Makarov ’16 landed his job at air cargo company Atlas Air in 2015, he never imagined how valuable his dual bachelor’s degrees in airport and airline management from Vaughn would become—especially during an unforeseen pandemic. The air cargo market has seen a recent surge in demand, as airfreight and cargo companies have become an essential part of transporting medical supplies and other life-saving equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

This month, we caught up with Makarov to hear about his latest position at Atlas Air and to revisit his journey of a successful career in air cargo aviation.

Finding his way to Vaughn

Makarov began his academic journey at Queens College where he studied computer science. After only two semesters, however, he knew he wanted to pursue his biggest passion—aviation. “In the back of my mind I always wanted a career in aviation, but I didn’t know how to go about starting one. One day, I started doing research on potential colleges in the field of Air Traffic Control. As it turned out, Vaughn was in an ideal location for me.” He attended an open house and learned more about the curriculum and how students are specifically trained and educated in their chosen fields of study. He enrolled in the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) where he studied airport management with the hope of becoming an air traffic controller.

Switching Gears

Learning of a change in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) hiring practices from AT-CTI colleges at the time that lead to career uncertainty, Makarov decided to switch gears and add to his marketability by pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in airport/airline management at Vaughn. “It was a very valuable experience,” he stated. “I received a well-rounded education.”

Experiencing the value of Vaughn

Looking back, Makarov recalls several experiences that he considers invaluable in his pursuit of a career in aviation. He describes working on the capstone degree project with associate management professor, Dr. Peter Canellis, as one of his favorite and most relevant classes. The project covered taking over a fictional company and analyzing how someone would manage and finance all the aspects of a company. Makarov also speaks highly of the air traffic control courses taught by Professor George Tracy as well as an interesting course he took with management chair, Dr. Maxine Lubner. “Vaughn’s curriculum prepares you for the field you’ll be working in by providing real world, practical examples that you can use right away,” Makarov said. “Unlike my experiences at other colleges, at Vaughn, you jump right into the core of what you will be doing in your field after graduation.” One of the most valuable attributes of the College Makarov describes is the small class size. He said the small, non-traditional college experience is what he believes gives students the tools and knowledge they need to achieve their dreams.

Landing the job at Atlas Air—The Vaughn/Atlas Air Connection

Vaughn’s long-term relationship with Atlas Air has proven to be truly valuable, as several alumni like Makarov have landed internships and ultimately full-time positions with this renowned aviation cargo company. Karen Batson ’04, Vaughn alumna and adjunct faculty member, has an impeccable record when it comes to hiring Vaughn graduates to work at Atlas Air. The reason: Batson knows how Vaughn prepares graduates for the aviation field and successful careers.

As part of the more than 30 of the College’s graduates, Batson hired Makarov after obtaining his résumé from career services. “Karen is always interested in training new employees and growing them to reach their potential,” said Makarov. “She pushes you to improve yourself and to always learn something new.” Makarov would know—Batson has been his manager for the past five years.

Climbing the aviation ladder

During his time at Atlas Air, Makarov has worked on a variety of projects in the data science field. He uses data visualization software to provide reports to various groups and also reviews aircraft reliability statistics to find trending issues. Both of these are specific-system and fleet-wide issues that need addressing. More specifically, his job is to narrow down specific reasons for why something is happening and provide solutions in an effort to reduce aircraft maintenance costs and disruptions. “The Continuing Analysis and Surveillance System (CASS) program is designed to track and find potential safety risks and is one way airlines like Atlas Air keep their operations as safe as possible.”

Makarov was recently promoted to senior analyst. His current responsibilities include developing new reports, as well as training his colleagues. He said that at one point, he even had to train himself on new concepts. He developed new reports from scratch, which included the coding and IT of the programs. “Oversight and technical systems are daily parts of the job. Every day brings something different and challenging.”

Fueling his passion for aviation, Makarov is a certified private pilot and he is currently working on his instrument rating. “I love the career I’ve chosen. The training never ends.”

In these times of uncertainty, one thing is certain. Now is the time to set yourself on a path to a futureproof career. See how a degree from Vaughn College can get you there. Apply today.