Every month or so, Joseph Leatherman spends part of his day off getting his make-up done. Foundation and powder aren’t the average look for this Kenmore Air pilot, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do when the spotlight calls. Joseph is often the spokesman on New Day Northwest, a fantastic local TV show hosted by Margaret Larson. During the show, he shares snippets about what’s happening at Kenmore Air and has even occasionally given a shout out to the blog. (WHOO-HOO!)
While spreading the word about Kenmore Air is definitely something at which Joseph excels, his main passion comes in a smaller package – his 8-year-old daughter Bailey. He devotes most of his free time to her. From volunteering at her school to taking horseback riding lessons with her, Joseph spends as much time with Bailey as he can. Sometimes this even means she comes to work. Just last year, she joined Joseph for 10 days on Orcas Island where he was the pilot for one of Eddie Bauer’s photo shoots.
The Ride That Changed His Life
Becoming a seaplane pilot wasn’t the original plan. Growing up in Eastern Washington, Joseph was on the coat and tie, law school route. To pay for college, he spent his summers fighting fires. The experience paid the bills. It also quickly showed him a cubicle lifestyle was not what he wanted. He dreamed of a career filled with adventure.
Heading to Alaska, he landed a job in the commercial fishing industry working on a crab boat. When a buddy of his invited him on a hunting trip, he had no way of knowing what would come of it. The excursion, deep into the Alaskan wilderness, “…was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had,” Joseph told me. A Cessna 180 on floats took them to their remote destination. “The pilot looked like he hadn’t shaved in several days. The flight was incredible. I was sold on the idea,” Joseph said.
It was fall of 2001. Joseph new what he wanted to do. Moving to British Columbia the following year, he went to flight school and earned his pilot’s certificate. It would take two summers working the line pumping gas at Kenmore Air, but Joseph landed a job on the crew. He’s been flying fulltime ever since. “It’s a dream realized,” he said.
Photo Credit: Jacqui Kerness