Alumni Spotlight: Renee (Heuer) Spencer '00

What is your current occupation?
I’m going into my 15th year as an Air Traffic Control Specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration. I love that my career and being a federal employee allows me the ability to transfer to different facilities across the country. Since starting with the agency I’ve worked at Chicago-Midway Tower, Atlanta TRACON (approach control) and Fort Wayne Tower and TRACON. I’ve been fortunate to be selected in a very small group of controllers, around 50-80, to work special aviation events like the Sun-n-Fun Expo in Lakeland, FL and the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. Most recently in July at Oshkosh I was voted as the Controller of the Year by my controller peers. It was a huge honor and I’m blessed to have received that award.
What led you to your current occupation?
Growing up my dad would take me to Smith Field to watch the airplanes and as long as I can remember I’ve had a love of aviation. I started taking flying lessons during high school and wanted to be an airline or fighter pilot.
What was your education after Concordia?
I graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach with a B.S. in Aeronautical Science, Airline Pilot Specialty and a minor in Air Traffic.
What did you love most about CLHS?
I loved that the teachers at CLHS cared and encouraged me with my own personal interests, especially in math and drafting. I really liked having opportunities to grow in different extracurricular areas like athletics and band while gaining a Christ-centered education.
What advice would you pass along to students?
Think outside the box, look into careers that showcase your individual talents and God-given abilities. I really wasn’t aware my career even existed until I was looking into minors in college. Being Type-A and detail oriented with an interest in aviation, this is a perfect fit for me. I couldn’t be happier and more excited to go to work every day. It’s an extremely challenging, stressful and demanding career but it’s also hugely rewarding. Every day, every shift is different, and I literally get paid to look out a window all day!