Sept. 7, 2005 – Omer ErSelcuk, vice president for sales and service at Seaborne Airlines, has lived on St. Croix for just over five years, but it only took him a couple of months before he felt like it was home, he says.
His job might be part of the reason he fell right into sync with St. Croix. "I am responsible for all the station operations, training, marketing and reservations," he says. "It's not what you would call an easy job — long hours, few days off and dynamic challenges that come frequently from every direction. But I love it, especially the people, both employees and customers. At the end of the day, they're worth all the effort."
ErSelcuk also likes the Cruzans he meets away from work: "They are warm and real."
Some of the people he especially appreciates are those involved in promoting and protecting the Virgin Islands, he says. "There are a lot of good people who do good things here but don't want the attention. I'm a pretty big fan of our Police Commissioner Elton Lewis. I think he is doing quite a good job with very, very little in the form of resources and support. It would be interesting to see the good he could do if he had the latter two items. I also think Beverly Nicholson, the executive director for the V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association, has done an excellent job alongside the good people in the Department of Tourism of promoting our home and boosting tourism."
Seaborne has four aircraft and plans to get more, he says. "We are adding more St. Croix/St. Thomas flights as well as flights to Virgin Gorda this fall. As more aircraft come online, we plan to add at least two more destinations this year."
However, he adds, "Our biggest challenge has always been aircraft. There is plenty of business opportunity all around, and we have the team to make it happen. But in this day and age, it is next to impossible both financially and operationally to add new aircraft."
Seaborne employs just over 130 people, 125 of whom work in the Virgin Islands.
The one great opportunity of working at Seaborne is what ErSelcuk says lured him to St. Croix, "along with the timeless romance of aviation and the Caribbean." Working at an airline helps him satisfy one of his desires island hopping. However, he adds that he does not have enough time for some of his other interests golf, fishing, hiking and swimming.
As for his reading time, he spends it reading The Wall Street Journal and the Source online. He also reads the two local dailies and Caribbean Travel & Life. He says he reads the latter "to look at all the places I want to go and those we might serve one day."
One of his favorite times on the island was in 2002, when he was watching the Leonid meteor shower. "I never saw so many brilliant fireballs streaking across the sky. It was like taking all the falling stars and meteors you've seen in your life and multiplying it times 10. Unbelievable."
One disappointment he has about St. Croix is that many visitors don't usually see what he thinks of as the two most beautiful spots in the islands Sandy Point and Buck Island. However, he says he understands there must be limitations to visits to these areas because of environmental concerns.
ErSelcuk went to school at Purdue University and the University of Missouri to earn a bachelor's degree in aeronautical science and master's degree in business administration. He earned a commercial flight certificate and spent part of his senior year at Purdue helping students learn to fly. His first job was at a Japanese restaurant, and it is still his favorite food. Before coming to Seaborne, he worked at a startup airline in Florida and at British Airways.
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