Last month, we welcomed Phillip Underwood as our new Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Endeavor Air. Prior to joining Endeavor, Phillip was the Managing Director of Delta Connection, where he led the operations and strategy for the Delta Connection partner carriers.
Phillip has over twenty years of aviation experience with Delta Air Lines in leadership roles in a variety of areas including Finance, Tech Ops, MRO Service Operations, and most recently, Delta Connection. At Delta Connection, Phillip led the restructuring of the regional flying operations and commercial agreements to enable Delta’s strategy to consolidate regional flying partners from six to three between 2016 and 2020. Under his leadership, the Delta Connection team has achieved record-breaking metrics in operational reliability; in the first quarter of 2021, Delta Connection outperformed our competitors in on-time arrivals, on-time departures, and completion factor.
We asked Phillip some questions to get to know him better:
EDV: Tell us about your experience at Delta and Delta Connection.
PU: My 22-year career at Delta has had its fair share of ups and downs, but the people I have worked side by side with all these years have made the journey worthwhile. I started my career at Delta in finance which ultimately led me to the operations. Delta Connection was a fantastic job because I was able to participate in the commercial, fleet, and operational sides of the business. Joe Miller is one of my closest friends at Delta and he said this role at Endeavor will be my favorite!
EDV: I understand you are also a veteran – can you tell us about your experience in the U.S. Marine Corps?
PU: My parents are former Marines, so I did not get away with much growing up. My grandfather was also a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, so I really did not a choice when it came to choose a branch of service. Serving in the Marine Corps was a calling for me, and I respect the fact that serving in the military is not for everyone. I knew that I wanted to serve as a young boy, so I jumped at the chance to enlist at 18. My first combat mission was in the first Gulf War in the Middle East – before I could even buy a beer. I rose to the rank of Sergeant by the time my enlistment ended. I really miss the brotherhood that exists in the military. Even today I draw on my Marine Corps experiences to help guide me through life’s journey.
EDV: What are you looking forward to the most in your new role at Endeavor? What do you want to do first?
PU: I have been a big fan of Endeavor since joining the Delta Connection team six years ago, so I’m looking forward to working with the entire Endeavor team. The Endeavor employees became the deciding factor in accepting the COO position. In addition to meeting as many of my new teammates as possible, my first order of business is to partner with the leadership team to develop and execute a plan that prepares Endeavor to meet Delta’s summer 2022 demand projections. Travel demand has bounced back a lot faster than expected and Delta is depending on Endeavor to lead the way.
Rapid Fire Questions
What are three things you always pack in your suitcase?
In addition to travel necessities, I always pack hiking shoes, meal replacement bars, and stevia for my coffee.
Window or aisle seat?
I prefer the aisle seat.
What was your first car?
My dad handed me the keys to an old Chevy truck to drive when I first received my license. The first car that I bought after college was a Honda Accord.
What are you currently reading?
A book by Sanjay Gupta, MD called Keep Sharp.
Do you have a favorite podcast?
I’m a routine listener of ESPN College Football Podcast.
Favorite sports team?
I grew up in Seattle, so I’m a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan.
Go-to drink order?
I’m a big fan of local craft beers, but in a pinch, I’ll take anything with bourbon in it!
Peanut M&Ms are my kryptonite
Fishing, hiking, and surfing. I caught my first waves at Chuns Reef on Oahu’s North Shore many year ago.
What is your next trip?
Outside of my weekly trips to Minneapolis, the family is considering a fishing trip to Utah in the early fall. There are some excellent alpine lakes to fish in the Uinta-Wasatch National Forest.
What’s a pet peeve of yours?
Having a victim mentality. Sometimes things just don’t go the right way no matter how hard you try. I have learned over the years, especially in this industry, its often best to just own a situation, find north on the compass, and then keep moving forward.
What drives you?
My family definitely! I would do anything for them. I’m always family first!!