Q&A: Meet our Paine Field terminal leaders
Horizon Air’s Mario Doiron, supervisor, and Renee Parson, manager, at Paine Field
At Alaska, we’re all about the journey – getting you safely to your final destination, and empowering our people to explore where their careers may lead.
For Renee Parson, our new Paine Field manager, and Mario Doiron, who is stepping into our Paine Field supervisor role, the journey has been anything but linear. But both long-time employees couldn’t be happier about landing at our brand new terminal in Everett, Washington.
We sat down with Parson and Doiron to learn more about their new roles and the terminal north of Puget Sound, opening its doors with daily departures this Monday, March 4.
Alaska: What led you both to work at Paine Field?
Doiron: I did four years in the United States Marine Corps and then got a job for American Airlines, where I worked from 1987 to 1994. We moved up to the Pacific Northwest to be near my wife’s family, so I started with Horizon in ’94. Four years later, I became a supervisor of ramp operations and customer service. I had a feeling Paine Field would eventually open for passenger flights, and I just waited. I went through the interview process for this role and it wasn’t easy, even though most people knew I wanted the job.
Parson: My Alaska Air Group story started in 2012. I answered an ad for a customer service agent at Bellingham International Airport. I was actually a massage therapist for 12 years, and did both jobs simultaneously for a while. Then I applied for a leadership role and was offered the supervisor job in Bellingham. At that point, I chose to dive into the airline industry.
When the Paine Field manager position opened, I put my name in the hat to continue my career growth with Horizon. I went through the interview process and was offered the job in December. It’s been a great experience for both Mario and me opening a terminal that’s privately owned. It’s definitely unique and historic.
Alaska: Speaking of history, Alaska and Paine Field go back to the 1940s. When did the possibility of returning become real for you?
Doiron: The possibility has always been there. When I started at Horizon in ’94, I was told Paine Field would be opening in a couple years. I live in Marysville (35 miles north of Seattle), so this definitely piqued my interest. At the time, it wasn’t going to be on the scale of what we’re doing today. The idea went to sleep for 10 years and now we’re here. I feel like we’re returning to our roots. The 24-year wait is over and it was worth it!
Alaska: What do your new roles entail?
Parson: For the manager role, the top priority is running a safe airline. I’m responsible for running the Horizon Air business out of Paine Field. I’ll be partnering with McGee Air Services, to make sure the operation has all its supplies and business needs met.
Doiron: For me, being an airport supervisor for so long, there are a lot of things I’ve done but also a lot that’s new. It’s pretty exciting stuff. I’m responsible for the Paine Field team members and running the day-to-day business of our staffing. I love working with folks in the operation and developing new leaders, so that will be fun. I’ll also do a lot of administrative work with Renee, which is not as glamorous but ensures we are running a smooth operation.
Alaska: What do our guests have to look forward to?
Parson: Brett Smith, the CEO of Propeller Airports, has designed it to be a stress-free terminal. It’s just beautiful. There’s a lot of leather and tan, which gives it a warm and inviting feel.
Doiron: For me, I’m looking at whole experience of coming to a local airport – you don’t have to wait in traffic, in long lines or on the runway. This is a huge, huge benefit for folks who live up north like me.
Alaska: We’ll be flying Embraer 175 jets. What are those planes like?
Parson: E175s are the newest aircraft to join our fleet on the Horizon side. There’s 76 seats with first class.
Doiron: They’re real sporty looking. You don’t get the impression you’re in a small plane. It feels like a regular aircraft – almost like a 737. The overall feel is classy, and I think you get a really personalized experience.
Alaska: Do you anticipate more business or leisure travelers?
Parson: I think for our morning flights, we’re going to see more business travelers. Then throughout the day, we’ll see more families coming in for nonstops to popular destinations.
Doiron: People in the community are really excited to get to Southern California, Las Vegas – the popular vacation spots.
Alaska: What destination are you personally looking forward to?
Parson: I’m personally looking forward to Phoenix. I have a daughter in college there.
Doiron: Visiting family in SoCal. My wife and I are also looking forward to a couple more trips to Vegas.
Alaska: When you step back and reflect on this moment, what are you most excited about?
Parson: It’s history-in-the-making, and it’s really awesome to be apart of.
Doiron: How often does a brand new airport open? And we get to be the premiere airline. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and I wasn’t going to let it pass by.