Advancing Airport Operations

U.S. Air Force veteran Corey Goodnight aims to develop better, more efficient airports. An Embry-Riddle education is helping him make it happen.

In addition to aircraft maintenance, Goodnight oversaw his department’s training program and briefly served as a training lead for the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard.
In addition to aircraft maintenance, Goodnight oversaw his department’s training program and briefly served as a training lead for the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard. (Photo: Corey Goodnight) The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Corey Goodnight (’21, ’22) joined the USAF in 2016, where he primarily served as an aircraft maintenance technician on strategic bombers like the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

Having developed a keen interest in aviation through these experiences, Goodnight knew this industry is where he could excel as a civilian. His decision to pursue a technical degree from Embry-Riddle Worldwide was easy.

“I chose Embry-Riddle because of its positive reputation among aviation professionals, and I wanted to be a part of that success,” he said.

Goodnight enrolled in the Technical Management program in 2017 and quickly found the degree’s aviation management focus to be easily applicable to his work in aircraft maintenance.

“When I was selecting my degree program, I wanted to pursue one that had a broad range of applications in the workforce,” he said. “My counselors did an outstanding job with helping me pick what best fit my goals.”

Goodnight has never been one to shy away from a challenge. On top of his online coursework and multiple temporary duty assignments and deployments, he added an Airframe and Powerplant Certification to the mix, which he completed in 2020.

“My experience as a military student was one that I am proud of, and I really pushed myself to achieve success despite the demands of my job,” he said.

Nearing the end of his enlistment, Goodnight took advantage of a Department of Defense SkillBridge program that helped him secure an internship with Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV) in Louisiana – a career opportunity that would prove to be a perfect match.

The three-month stint as an operations specialist gave him a behind-the-scenes look at airport logistics and valuable experience implementing security, wildlife and weather protocols and optimizing processes.

“Team communication and process improvement are things that can make the difference between extended delays in service or quick resolutions to problems,” Goodnight said.

Goodnight graduated with his Technical Management degree in 2021 and, following his separation from the USAF, transitioned from an intern to a full-time operations supervisor at SHV. 

Goodnight’s day-to-day activities involve ensuring airfield safety, maintaining regulatory compliance and facilitating the personnel and resources needed to keep the airport running smoothly. He attributes much of his success to classes that covered airport design, FAA Advisory Circulars and more.

“Every day is different at work, and I’m learning something new all the time,” he said.

Maintaining momentum and honing his management skills, Goodnight is already working toward the next items on his agenda – a Master of Science in Management from Embry-Riddle and his Certified Associate in Project Management designation. He hopes to become a project manager and contribute to airport improvement and development.

“My advice would be to connect your military experience with your studies,” he said. “Applying it to what you are learning in some way or another and sharing it with your fellow students opens a new perspective for not only yourself but others as well.”