According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 5 percent of U.S. firefighters are female, but that didn’t stop Judy, who was actually part of PIT’s inaugural training academy in 1999. Now an airport firefighter of 20 years, she and her colleagues work 24-hour shifts (and serve on the department’s engine and EMS crews).
While working on a mostly male team can be tough at times, ultimately the job has been very rewarding, she added.
“It’s like having 50 brothers – we all have a really good relationship,” she said. “I enjoy what I do, and the people that I work with, but being able to help people is the most important part of my job.”
Airport operations is another area historically dominated by men.
“In the past, it was probably considered a ‘man’s job,’ but now there are definitely more (women)," said Francie Sukitch, an operations supervisor at PIT.
Among her many jobs in operations, Sukitch has served as the race director for the airport, helping to coordinate 5K races for the public at PIT and Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin. A 16-year veteran of the airport, Sukitch said she wouldn’t change her job for the world, and loves the unpredictability of working in the industry.
“From day to day, I don’t know what’s going to happen – our job changes on the flip of a dime, and that’s what I love about it,” she said.