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Guyanese-American aviator honored

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Guyanese-American aviator, Beverley Drake says after 43 solid years in aviation, she thinks she is the best person to talk to the next generation about pursuing aviation as a career choice.

Drakes, one of the first, of two female military pilots in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and the first female civilian pilot to fly with the Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC), no doubt has the knowledge and skills to share with today’s youth.

This is just one of the reasons, the current program manager attached to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), headquartered in Washington DC, was honored by Guyanese Girls Rock Foundation, (GGRF) at its 2nd Annual Luncheon, at Antun’s in Queens, among 11 other dedicated, outstanding professionals who are doing exceptional work to inspire the next generation of leaders.

Drake received, a GGRF statuette, a citation from New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud, and citations from Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman, Senator Leroy Comrie, Sen. James Sanders Jr. and New York City Councilmember, I Daneek Miller.

“I feel honored and humbled to share my story with young girls and the next generation of leaders; they can see that you should follow your dreams and passion, like I did,” encouraged Drake, a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics, and a master’s degree in Aeronautical Science with specializations in Management, Safety and Operations, who initially met resistance when preparing to become a pilot.

She would, however, overcome that barrier when she found a mentor who had the same interest, someone who could help her to understand how to work in a predominantly male environment.

“My first mentor was my dad. He always wanted to be a pilot, so I lived his dream and made my mother proud,” said the strong advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). She is dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their aviation passion and dreams.

Her vision is to expose children at an early age to consider STEM, and aviation, as career choices.

And while the experienced pilot, now prefers to travel in the aisle seat when she travels on commercial flights, because it is easier to move around the airplane, unlike when she was in the cockpit; this humble, free-spirited, woman is always ready to share her knowledge, doing so as a keynote speaker for various cultural and outreach programs, with her humorous speaking style.

All who knows, Bev, as she is fondly called, would have at some time or another, experience her infectious laughter and endless smiles that captivate an audience.

She is very engaging and motivates audiences to act, to face challenges and to think outside the box. Recent speaking appearances included the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the City Club of Washington, DC. She has represented the NTSB at The Aviation Conference, a collaborative effort between the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Community in Guyana, to share best practices to enhance aviation safety in the sector.

And despite spending many years on an aircraft, Drake says that there is no particular type of aircraft she prefers to fly on. During her federal career as a senior aviation accident investigator / analyst in the Office of Aviation Safety, she had a keen eye when she served as the investigator in charge of many aviation accidents.

To date, she has investigated more than 300 small and large-scale aviation accidents, and has dedicated her career towards ensuring that transportation safety is a policy priority globally.

This incredibly brave woman, who has many firsts in her career, flew the De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter and Hawker Siddeley HS-748 airplane at GAC, on both local and Caribbean routes to Trinidad, Barbados and Dominica, becoming the first female to achieve such a feat.

For such an accomplishment, this foxy-flyer, was recognized at a national level in Guyana, when she was honored with her own Guyanese postage stamp. She is one of just a handful of living Guyanese whose images are on a national Guyanese postage stamp.

In 2018, she was honored with the Leadership Award from Northern Virginia Community College in appreciation for her outstanding service to the “Why Tech? 2018 Forum.” Her other outreach efforts are volunteering at the Newseum and the National Air and Space Museum during Black History Month and Family Day.

With such phenomenal brilliance and a legacy that will live on, Drake has taken the initiative to establish B Drake STEM & Branding LLC, an educational company with a core mission for providing educational programs for primary and secondary students. In her spare time, Beverley enjoys flying, arranging social events for her high school alumni association, and spending time with her two sons and two grandsons, who she “cherishes tremendous­ly.”

Founder and President of Guyanese Girls Rock Foundation, Inc., Cloyette Harris-Stoute, continues to invest her energy into the lives of U.S. based young women of Guyanese heritage. She congratulated each honoree.

“We look forward to bearing witness to your blossoming and flourishing in the years to come. Your time is NOW,” she assured.

Other honorees were: The Hon. Ingrid Joseph, Deputy Inspector, Rhonda O’Reilly NYPD CO, Dr. Candance Cummings, Sara Golan, Ebonee Noel, Mala Panda,Principal Veronica Jackson Wiltshire, Leah Persaud, Taj Kumarie Moteelall, Denise M Grant and Cayla Kumar. (www.guyanesegirlsrock.org)

Updated 11:43 am, August 12, 2019
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