Within the first few moments of speaking with OU School of Aviation Studies graduates Enitan Adetona and Jatin Davis, their passion for their careers is readily apparent. Both Enitan (Class of 2021), who grew up in Nigeria, and Jatin (Class of 2020), who grew up in Yukon and Oklahoma City, were children when they fell in love with the idea of flying and working around aircraft.
Both found their way into OU’s Aviation Management – Non-Flying program, and a friendship that developed as classmates transitioned into a working relationship when both were hired at Leviate Air Group. Leviate is a private aviation company in Dallas that offers charter services and aviation management and aircraft sales services to clients from around the world.
We recently caught up with the pair to talk about their burgeoning careers, how their time at OU still impacts them every day and their growing passion for all things aviation.
When did you first develop an interest in aviation?
Enitan: I went to an international school in Nigeria. I was 12, and my roommate’s dad was a private jet pilot. He flew for ExxonMobil. He was really interesting and sounded like someone who really loved his job, so I knew I wanted to look into aviation as a career option. I had my first internship with his company in 2014. I went to the airport where he worked every day for a month, and after that, I knew I definitely wanted to go into aviation.
Jatin: I’ve always been fascinated with airplanes. I first discovered my passion for it in eighth grade. It was my Earth sciences class, and we were learning about clouds and the weather. The host of the show we were watching got in this old military jet and started doing loop-de-loops and all this other fun stuff. I thought that was really cool, and I want to do that for a living. I went home that day and started looking into how to join the Air Force or ROTC, and that’s when I found the Civil Air Patrol. I joined that and got to fly a bit and got my toes wet, and it solidified that aviation was what I really wanted to do.
Did you ever want to become a pilot yourself?
Jatin: I started flying in my second semester at OU and earned my private pilot’s license there. After that, I transitioned into the Aviation Management – Non-Flying program, but I still pursued outside opportunities to fly. I gained some hours with Civil Air Patrol and got on the path to getting certified in their aircraft for search and rescue operations before moving to Dallas to work for Leviate Air Group.
Every time I get in the sky, it’s such a euphoric experience. It’s so hard to describe what it feels like when you’re up there. I’m currently looking for a flight school here in the Dallas area to finish up my instrument training and pursue more ratings.
Enitan: That is something I’m working toward. It’s one of the reasons why I came to OU. I took the ground school, and everything was fine. I got the grades that I wanted. Then I did my medical, and they said I was color blind. After three years, right at the start of Covid, I was able to get that restriction removed, so now I have a first-class medical certificate, and I plan to take my flight lessons during the weekends. I know that’s what I want to do. I want to become a pilot. That’s my ultimate goal.
What is your current position with Leviate Air Group?
Enitan: I’m an aircraft sales associate. My job is focused on the sale and acquisition of aircraft. If you want to buy or sell an aircraft, I keep market intelligence ready, so I can give you all the information that you need in a summary that is direct and understandable. I comb the market and create a market summary and sales history that explains to our clients what aircraft they should be looking at based on their needs. In our market, we have more than 30 aircraft that we track in a month. I look for new aircraft that are coming onto the market and what the asking price is for that aircraft, as well as what is going on in the market that day. I focus on mid-range, long-range and ultra-long-range light jets. It requires a lot of research, digging and phone calls. It also requires a lot of background information and knowledge about certain aircraft. It’s all interesting because I get to learn a lot about all the different aircraft.
Jatin: I’m a charter sales executive with Leviate. If you want to book an on-demand charter flight to experience the luxury aspect of private aviation, I’m the person who finds the best option out there on the market for my clients in terms of cost-efficiency, comfort, speed or whatever other pieces of the puzzle they’re looking for. I take care of any catering, ground transportation or other flight-related amenities. Our clients are chartering the whole plane, not just a seat, so I have to cater the trip just for them and understand what they want. Then I work with the operators, the people who own and manage the airplanes, regarding availability and to put together the best options for the client. Once a flight is booked, my job is to make sure my client’s trip goes as smoothly as possible and they have a good experience overall.
How did OU’s Aviation Management degree program prepare you for this job?
Jatin: At OU, you really get an understanding of the whole aviation industry. I learned the value of teamwork and how to work with multiple people. I am my own broker, and I’m building my own book of business, and it is an individual style of work, but we all work for the same company, and we’re all working to take care of our clients. I have a love for piloting and flying, but with my background on the non-flying side, I can explain all aspects of a charter to my clients in a way they can understand.
Enitan: I’ve had to use everything that I learned in my classes as part of my job with Leviate. My Aerospace Management and Aerospace Research classes were really great because they taught me how to do research in the industry. I do a lot of that every day. I research an aircraft to understand why people might want that aircraft or why they may be selling it. I don’t want to just collect data about these aircraft. It is important for me and our clients to understand what it means. That’s what I learned from OU, not working for the sake of working, but working to understand. I use that every day.
What mentors have helped you along the way?
Enitan: My best friend from international school, his dad, Andrew Enahoro was a big influence. I still talk to him. My mom, Kemi Akiwonmi, and dad, William Arthur, he’s a big aviation guy. At OU, Eric Metoyer was very helpful when I was trying to get my pilot’s license and doing my color vision test, and April Millaway, from day one in her class, has been nothing but supportive. Missy Mitchell in the scholarship office was very supportive, too. Robert Dionne was very helpful, as well. I had many classes with him. Ken Carson blew my mind with the way he talked about aviation.
Jatin: In terms of aviation, I have to say the entire Oklahoma City Composite Squadron, OK113, of the Civil Air Patrol. I joined in 2012, and all the people in that organization over the last nine years have been a major influence. David Barbee, the current squadron commander, helped me to re-center my life and re-find that love for aviation and passion for flying. Rohip Gautam was a phenomenal influence. He worked with my father and was someone who helped me as I got into the later stages of college and once I got out. Being able to talk to him and see his experiences and his story and his commitment to aviation really made an impact on me in that if you want something to go after it. Charlie Ewers was the first real flight instructor I had in the Civil Air Patrol. He really helped open my eyes to the different opportunities that are out there.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in aviation management?
Jatin: Keep your options open. There is so much more out there in the aviation industry than just being a pilot or managing an airport. You can go into the operations side. You can go into scheduling and flight coordination. You can go into the maintenance side, or the charter side like I did. There are so many opportunities that you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself. And don’t give up on your dreams. It’s never too late to try something new or pick up where you left off. Aviation is so bountiful if you put in the effort and the work. You get out of it what you put into it.
Enitan: The aviation industry is more interesting now than ever before, and if you have a passion for aviation, you’re going to love working in it. Chase your dreams. If you want to be a pilot, do it. If you want to work in private aviation or commercial aviation, do it. If you like aviation, the aviation industry will have a path for you.
Where do you see your career taking you in the future?
Enitan: I really like what I’m doing now at Leviate. I want to continue doing this for the foreseeable future, but someday I would like to start my own flight school in Nigeria.
Jatin: Leviate was my first exposure to private aviation, and I fell in love with it. I plan to continue flying, earn more ratings and possibly fly professionally someday. I can see myself being here for a long time.
Want to learn more about the OU School of Aviation Studies and the degrees it offers? Visit their webpage for more information. For more information about additional degree programs available for working adults, visit the College of Professional and Continuing Studies website.