The Best will Come Back to you
Southern Air has been around for a long time – 75 years to be exact! The best part about this company is the people who make it. Think about the people you know from Southern Air. How many do you call friends? How much of your life have you shared with some of these same people? How many years have you dedicated to working with each other, for this company, battling it out when things got tough, instead of bailing?
The character of Southern Air’s people is the reason we’re celebrating 75 years as a company. It’s what makes coming to work every day a joy. It’s why a significant amount of our team, our friends, our co-workers have stayed right here, for decades. How many of you reading this know the names of Dennis Oliver, Glen Worsham, or Kent Ferguson?
How about Bernard “B.J.” Johnson?
Johnson first clocked in for Southern Air on May 6th, 1957 when he was 17 years old. Don’t grab your calculator, the math says that was 64 years ago, just eleven years after our company was founded. He was one of Southern Air’s first students to attend a trade apprenticeship program at E.C. Glass High School. His attendance and performance were exemplary in a time where the nation was still learning how to create fair and equal learning environments for all. In a few short years, Johnson became the first, fully licensed African American sheet metal mechanic in Lynchburg and a major reason for Southern Air’s success – especially in the fabrication shop. You’ll still find him in the halls to this very day.
“I was impressed with Bernard because he was well-educated, wanted to learn a trade and was willing to work and study,” wrote George Costan, Southern Air Founder. “B.J. was part of the greatest sheet metal fabricating team I have ever seen along with Curtis Walker, Ronnie Martin, Thomas Archie, and Mark Creasey. The most important thing about B.J.’s achievements is that he earned his rewards through hard work and dedication. I am thankful I had the opportunity to share in his success.”
Johnson smiles reflecting on the first time meeting Mr. Costan.
“It wasn’t hard to meet Mr. Costan. If he saw you in front of the building, he was coming to talk to you,” says Johnson. “Working for Southern Air has been very rewarding to me. I’ve had a lot of help and encouragement from the owners and people like Janet Martin, Chris Carwile, Lisa Phillips. Southern Air has enabled to me do a lot of things that I could not have done if it weren’t for Southern Air. My wife and I, with the help of Southern Air, put both our children and helped our grandchildren with college and we’re very grateful.”
Thank you, Bernard, for 64 years of your best to Southern Air!