Amy Powers '94

September 5, 2018

Amy Powers’ passion for medical technology provided a flight plan for her to become a pilot. In fact, it was her innovation in the healthcare industry that helped her pay for flying lessons.
During her time in the medical technology field, Powers automated a process in the clinical laboratory. She wrote a software program, Master Update Pro, that helps hospitals compose laboratory procedure manuals that meet College of American Pathologists’ requirements. She later started AE Scientific, which owns the Master Update Pro software.
Powers, who earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from UNCW, worked at New Hanover Regional Medical Center while taking flying lessons. After nearly two years, she had flown enough hours to become a certified flight instructor, then taught flying lessons to increase her bank of flight hours while continuing to work at the hospital. After a year of teaching, she was hired as an airline pilot in 2001.
“I chose careers that I dearly loved. In the laboratory, you have the chance to make a difference in the lives of patients. In flying, I am in the business of bringing people together,” said Powers.
In November, Powers will transition from being a captain for Piedmont Airlines to helming an Airbus with American Airlines.
“It’s wonderful to be able to show other women, that yes, you too can be an airline pilot,” she said. “Women airline pilots comprise only five percent of the pilot workforce. There are approximately 500 women airline captains worldwide – so while we are a small group, we can make a big difference in minority advancement.”
“UNCW definitely made a difference in who I am today,” Powers continued. “I was encouraged by my professors to challenge traditional thinking.” Powers encourages current Seahawks to follow their hearts and not to be afraid to challenge the status quo.
“It’s ok to think outside the box, that’s where innovation comes from,” she added. “You’ll get lots of advice in life to diversify your portfolios, but don’t forget to diversify yourself. The real goal in life is a life well-lived. Truly, if there is something out there you really want to do, all you need is determination and perseverance. The rest will fall into place.”
-- Venita Jenkins