Passengers flying on Alaska Airlines this month are being greeted by the friendly face of a Boy Scout.
That’s because a Scout is on the cover of the September 2015 issue of Alaska Beyond, the Alaska Airlines magazine.
Seeing a Scout on the cover of the Alaska Airlines magazine shouldn’t really surprise us — for two reasons.
First, the magazine’s cover story is about “Encouraging a new generation of STEM leaders.” That’s something Scouting, with its excellent programs in science, technology, engineering and math, does really well.
But also, under the “things you might not know” category, is this: Brad Tilden, the CEO of Alaska Airlines, is an Eagle Scout.
Just how big of a deal is this cover?
It’s on all 143 planes in the Alaska Airlines fleet. And it’s in the literature pocket above the tray table at every seat on those planes. Every passenger will see it peeking out at them.
How many passengers are we talking? Well, Alaska Airlines had more than 3 million passengers in July 2015, the latest month for which passenger numbers are available.
That means roughly 3 million people could see the issue and make the link between Scouting and STEM this month.
If you aren’t flying Alaska Airlines in September, you can see the coverage in the magazine’s online edition. The article about STEM starts on page 13. The CEO’s note on page 9, written by Eagle Scout Tilden, also mentions “a Scoutmaster” who helps a young person get on track.
Brad Tilden, Eagle Scout
Brad Tilden, chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group and its two subsidiaries, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, is a Distinguished Eagle Scout.
He’s so proud of that fact that he lists it on his official bio on the Alaska Airlines website.
His leadership at Alaska Airlines has been extremely successful so far. The airline ranked tops in on-time performance for the last five years by FlightStats, and it was named the Best Airline in the U.S. by The Wall Street Journal for the past two years in a row.
In an article in the Chief Seattle Council newsletter from 2010, Tilden explained that he looks for Scouting values in potential hires.
“What we value as leaders are things that Scouts taught us — are you working hard, taking care of yourself, are you optimistic, are you telling the truth?”
Hat tip: Thanks to my sister, Julie, a frequent Alaska Airlines passenger and Girl Scouts professional in Seattle, for spotting this cover and sending me the tip.