Alaska Airlines Names Three Vice Presidents
Positions will oversee maintenance and engineering; inflight; and labor relations
SEATTLE, WA—The Alaska Airlines board of directors has elected three new company officers: Constance von Muehlen, senior vice president of maintenance and engineering; Ron Calvin, vice president of inflight; and Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labor relations.
Beginning January 21, von Muehlen will lead Alaska’s maintenance and engineering employees, and all safety, compliance and operational performance of the airline’s mainline Boeing and Airbus fleet. Most recently, von Muehlen led Horizon Air’s operational performance strategy as the airline’s chief operating officer, where she oversaw the customer service, inflight, pilot, maintenance and system operations control teams. Prior to Horizon, von Muehlen was Alaska’s managing director of airframe, engine and component maintenance.
“Constance is a strong leader who brings nearly 30 years of industry experience with her to our maintenance and engineering division, along with extensive knowledge of both the Airbus and Boeing fleets,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s president and chief operating officer. “Her focus on safety, operational excellence and our people places Constance in a strong position to lead the division.”
Before joining Alaska, von Muehlen spent 20 years in aviation maintenance leadership roles at Pratt and Whitney and Air Canada. She received her initial leadership training as a captain in the U.S. Army serving tours of duty as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in Germany, Iraq, Turkey and South Korea. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a certificate in Executive Leadership Training from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. She recently completed an executive MBA at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.
Constance von Muehlen
Calvin is an Alaska Airlines veteran with more than 32 years of service. In his new role, he’ll provide strategic and operational leadership for the inflight division, working with our outstanding flight attendants who—day after day—make our guests’ journeys remarkable with the genuine, caring service Alaska is known for.
Calvin joined the company in 1986 as a customer service agent. Over the following years, he was promoted to various positions at the airline in California, Seattle and Washington, DC He became Alaska’s managing director of inflight operations in 2012, responsible for nearly 6,000 flight attendants and overseeing a leadership team of 60 employees.
“Ron has a strong operational background. He has invested a sizeable amount of his professional career at airports across the country while working for Alaska, which will be an asset in his new position,” said Minicucci. “He also embodies the Alaska spirit and our values as we continue creating an airline people love.”
Calvin holds a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University, and an executive master’s degree from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He transitioned into his new role on January 16.
Become an Industry Sponsor
As vice president of labor relations, Wetzel will serve as the strategic executive advisor on all labor relations efforts. She will be responsible for all labor matters at Alaska Airlines and lead the collective bargaining process for the airline. She joins Alaska Airlines from Kaiser Permanente and before that Group Health in Seattle where she was the vice president of employee and labor relations since 2015.
“We’re excited to have Jenny join the Alaska leadership team. She not only has nearly 13 years of experience working effectively with represented employee groups, she brings a style that emphasizes positive relationships, trust and transparency with labor leaders and employees that matches seamlessly with Alaska’s philosophy on labor relations,” said Shane Tackett, executive vice president planning and strategy.
Wetzel has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, and a law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law. She is licensed by the Washington State Bar Association. She begins her new role February 11.
This year the Alaska Railroad is celebrating 100 years of transportation people and cargo around Alaska. While the railroad is one of the states oldest transporters, it certainly isn’t the only one, and in this issue of Alaska Business we also check in on the Marine Highway, Span Alaska, and the White Pass & Yukon Route. For those interested in Southeast, our focus on that region provides updates on Kensington Mine, Tongass FCU, the troll fishery, and Juneau’s growing landfill.