James Martin Associates (JMA) awarded six scholarships to the children of current Associates, including local Vernon Hills High School graduate Jake McElroy.

Jake recently earned his Certified Flight Instructor License which allows him to teach students how to fly different kinds of airplanes. He is now a full-time instructor at Skill Aviation at Waukegan Airport.

Pilot Shortage

In the coming years, there is expected to be a major deficit of pilots. According to the Chicago Tribune:

Major U.S. airlines are hiring pilots at a rate not seen since before 9/11, and that is encouraging more young people to consider a career in the cockpit.

Hiring is likely to remain brisk for years. Smaller airlines in the U.S. are struggling with a shortage that will continue as they lose pilots to the bigger carriers, which in turn will need to replace thousands of retiring pilots over the next few years.

Jake’s Education and Introduction to Flying

Jake was born and raised in Vernon Hills. He attended the College of Lake County and obtained an associate’s degree in Arts. He is continuing his education at Colombia College of Missouri studying psychology and is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in April of 2019.

Jake’s father, Larry McElroy, is a retired airline pilot who flew for 33 years with American Airlines. Growing up, they would travel around the world together every summer, and over the years visited 89 countries on six continents. In 2015, Jake decided he would follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot.

Jake first earned his Private Pilot’s License in 2016 and has since acquired his Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings, his Commercial Pilot’s License, his Ground Instructor’s License and finally, his Certified Flight Instructor’s License.

“Having a dad that has flown for 33 years, aviation has always been in my blood. Luckily, I chose a career path that combines my two passions, travel and aviation,” Jake McElroy said.

Shari Dalziel Scholarship

Jake was awarded the Shari Dalziel Scholarship at James Martin Associates’ 40th anniversary celebration dinner. His mother, Beth McElroy, has worked at the company for 20 years.

“I’ve known Jake his entire life, and I was especially glad that James Martin Associates was able to contribute to his ongoing education,” said Jim Martin, President of James Martin Associates. “I look forward to him being the pilot on one of my future trips.”

Learn more about JMA’s robust scholarship and internship program.