Featured Alumnus: Bill Batesole ’74
On Monday, February 3, alumnus Bill Batesole ’74 landed in Avon’s engineering and robotics center to share some professional expertise with our Aerospace Engineering students.
Bill discovered his passion for flight at the age of 14 while at Avon when he and his father began flying gliders together. What began as a hobby eventually turned into a profession, but it took a lot of hard work and dedication.
First, Batesole enrolled at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University where he studied aviation management. He found work at a small company, Precision Airlines, where he started as a copilot before working up to becoming a captain. After five years, Batesole was a chief pilot, and began training others on the small Piper Navajo. Eventually, Batesole found a new opportunity with a young company, Federal Express, and became a pilot of one of their few planes. He worked his way up from Boeing’s 727 to its largest long-range planes, the 777.
Today, Bill is 64 and is facing a mandated retirement. But, even though he will not find himself in the cockpit of a Boeing 777 for much longer, he still loves to fly the smaller personal planes he has purchased and restored, including two gliders, which he still loves to fly.
“You are at the very beginning of your professional lives,” Batesole said to the class. “I am at the twilight of mine; I can see the sun beginning to set on the horizon. But, I have been lucky enough to work for 37 years in a job that I truly love. I encourage you to find that.”
Batesole continued to share stories about flying bizarre freight (including hazmat materials all the way through zoo animals) as well as some tricks of the trade such as changing out of your dress uniform and into more comfortable pajamas or sweats once you hit 10,000 feet. But, what we hope stuck was a tidbit about how the Avon Old Farms network helped Batsole reach his dream job.
“Avon used to produce a printed directory of alumni, and I scanned through it looking for anyone with an aerospace career listed,” he said. “I reached out to several, one of whom was a guy by the name of Larry Tweedy ’61, who was working for Federal Express. It worked. He helped get me a job there, and I’ve been with FedEx for 37 years.”
Batesole hopes that by returning to his alma mater, sharing his experience, and passing out business cards, one day he can honor Avon’s tradition of brotherhood.
We are always impressed by the strength of the Avon Old Farms network. See what it can do for you by visiting our online alumni directory.