Youth Profile: Brianna Quock
My name is Brianna Linda Rose Quock and I was born in Iskut way back in September of 1992. My parents are Jeff Quock Sr. and Cecile Fifi. My grandparents on my Tahltan side are Herman Asp and Agnes Quock.
I have lived in Terrace all my life. I attended Centennial Christian School up until grade 11. I finished my grade 12 year by correspondence during my grade 11 year because during my last year of school I was Terrace's Rotary Youth Exchange Student to Sweden. At age 16, I lived in Goteborg Sweden for 10 months then returned back home to Terrace.
School and work have always been important to me and I've always pushed myself to be the very best I can be. It is super important for me to be self sufficient so that one day I can have the means to care for my family. My parents have instilled in me a desire to to work and I have done exactly that since I was 14 years old when I got my first job at A & W. Just after several months of work I was promoted from a cashier to a crew leader and was in charge of training other employees. Throughout my short life I have tried to work as much as possible and up until now I have always had two jobs.
I never dreamed of becoming a helicopter pilot. I wanted to make a difference and to make something of my life, but always envisioned myself going into politics or business. It wasn't until my brother Jeffery Quock Jr. was hired by Pacific Western Helicopters through the help of the BC Aboriginal Mining Training Association and Freda Campbell that I ever imagined myself getting into the helicopter industry. My brother pursuing a career in aviation as a Helicopter Maintenance Engineer inspired me to pursue a similar career in aviation as well.
I was quickly told by many of my peers that I would never succeed because I was too young, I was female, I was too this and too that. It was really discouraging at the time, but at the same time it fueled my passion to succeed. Almost a year ago, I made the biggest decision of my life. At the time, I was just hired by Air Canada to be a Customer Service Agent. I was gearing myself up to move to Vancouver for the summer to train for the position when I received the most amazing phone call that changed my life. Months earlier, I went through the exact same process my brother went through with Pacific Western but with Lakelse Air in Terrace. I applied on a whim, thinking they would never hire me because I knew nothing about helicopters, the trades, and I was a female.
I went months not hearing from them and I emailed Freda Campbell every day harassing her trying to see if Lakelse made their decision. Apparently, I impressed them and they chose me over two other candidates! To this day I can cry thinking back to the day I received the phone call from Lakelse. I was going through such a hard time not knowing what I was going to do with my life and it seemed like no one thought I would succeed. On one particular instance, I was told by someone very close to me that I shouldn't have even applied for Lakelse and that they only saw me succeeding in customer service roles. So the day Lakelse phoned me was the day I realized I was meant to do so much more than customer service!
I spent 6 months with Lakelse Air living the dream as an Engineer Trainee. Every second of it I loved. I spent 3 months living in the Tahltan territory working with Lakelse Air with Seabridge Gold with the most amazing pilots and engineers. Lakelse really gave me a chance when at the time it felt like no one else would! They took me in and treated me as if I was their family member. After my tours in camp, I assumed I was going to get laid off but Lakelse kept me on up until I went to school this past January.
I really can’t thank Lakelse Air and Freda Campbell enough for taking a chance on me. If it weren’t for them I would never have had the confidence to pursue a career as a pilot! After working with Lakelse all summer I realized that this was where I was meant to be. So I phoned home one night from camp and told my mom that I wanted to be a pilot and she instantly was nervous, but being the epic person she is supported my decision. We worked for months trying to figure out how to pay for this expensive course. Phone call after phone call I was turned down by different funding options, until my Mom graciously gave me the money to pursue my dream.
I can't say it has been easy. It certainly has been scary being so young and being so much in debt. But I don't doubt my decision once. I did my training with Chinook Helicopters in Abbotsford and had the privilege of training with a legend in the helicopter industry named Keith Ostertag. KO, as most people call him, was the first Bell 206 test pilot in Canada and has been flying since before my mother was born. He took took me under his wing and supported me every second throughout my training. I went through life always succeeding in school and up until my flight school training I have never really had to push myself. I was blessed to have KO on those days that I really struggled with comprehending aircraft mechanics and aerodynamics. Throughout all those hard times trying and pushing myself to get my license I continued because I knew this was what I wanted to do. I was lucky to finally have so many people in my corner rooting for me and supporting me throughout the good times and the bad.
After six and a half months of what has quite possibly been the hardest months of my life I passed my flight test on my first try and obtained my Commercial Helicopter Pilots license. It’s been amazing and I have so many people I owe my life to! After getting my license on July 13, 2012, I made my way back to my hometown of Terrace and I have been overwhelmed by the support from my friends, family and most of all people I have never even met! The flood of emails has been so sweet and to hear about all the people supporting me makes my heart smile. I never dreamed of being a role model to other people and I am not used to having so many people tell me how much I inspire them. I have always pushed to be the best I can be. It’s just an honor to be called a role model.
I am now back at Lakelse Air working my first job as a "low" time pilot. I didn't realize until now what an achievement I have done. In Canada there are only 1,000 helicopter pilots – of those 1,000 pilots there are only 100 females, and of those females there are only two female native pilots, including me. I am just amazed and I just want to start working towards getting more youth involved in aviation.
There are too many people that I would love to thank but the ones that really have made a difference in my life are:
- Freda Campbell, for helping me get my foot in the door with Lakelse, for supporting me every day of my career and for working so hard and for free to get me a $10,000 scholarship through the BC Aboriginal Mining Training Association;
- Every single person at Lakelse Air, for supporting me, helping me and being my friend throughout everything. They could have let me go after one month but insisted on keeping me around time and time again! I couldn't imagine working for any other company! I consider each and every one of them as my family; and
- My lovely parents and brother. They were my greatest supporters and still are. I really am the luckiest girl in the world!!! If it weren't for my mom I would never have been able to pursue this and I owe her my life!!