The Latino Pilots Association was founded in August 2015. We are a nonprofit organization of professional pilots with a rich heritage spanning from North, Central, and South America. This common bond has strengthened our commitment to aviation and our communities. Together, we recognized the need for a Latino pilot group to unite individuals and promote aviation to future generations in what we feel is an underrepresented demographic. Our goal is to serve the Latino, as well as other communities, through: Education, mentorship, civil service, all while consistently making a positive difference with any person or group the LPA interacts with.
Our Founding Members
Our founding members are currently active professional pilots for several airlines and corporate flight departments. Each of us upholds and promotes the values of the LPA and expect that of all our membership/affiliates.
President- Nick Sorkki
My lineage is somewhat hard to trace as I was adopted at birth from Nogales, Mexico. I was raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon, which is completely opposite of Nogales. I was given a second chance at life, something that most people will never experience. As a young adult I realized the importance of my adoption and vowed to make the most out of every opportunity by following my dreams. My parents always encouraged me to set goals and work hard in order to have my dream realized. For certain, I would not be where I am today, without their support. Pinpointing an exact event or experience that got me interested in aviation is tough, but I have always wanted to be an airline pilot. From a young age I would read books about airliners and could recall almost anything about any aircraft. It was a way for me to get involved, until I was old enough to start flying.
After high school I began flight training at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I graduated with an Associates degree, along with commercial and single engine ratings. Following the goals I had set for myself, I continued my education at Jacksonville University, while attending Delta Connection Academy for flight training. I served as a flight instructor and check airman for four years before being hired at Colgan Air in 2010. Currently I am a First Officer on the 737 for United Airlines. Proud to be a Latino, my ultimate professional goal is to fly wide body aircraft for a major U.S. carrier. Aviation brought us together and we share an even stronger bond through our cultural lineage. Each of us feels the need to promote aviation and foster that passion with future generations. We feel that the LPA is a great vehicle to bring Latinos together and promote the professional pilot profession.
On my days off I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter. Thanks to their support and encouragement, I continue to realize the goals I originally set for myself so many years ago. Spending time with family and friends is a big part of my life and something that I truly cherish. We enjoy going to the beach where I like to surf and fish. I am also involved in a local car club and enjoy everything automotive.
Vice President- Jerry Dooyes
Although I was born in Redwood City, California, my cultural roots come from a long Latino lineage. My mother is from South America, and my father from Europe. Spanish and Dutch were always spoken in the household and the benefits of hard work were always instilled in me as a child. My mother and two of her brothers were already at work in the world of aviation, and one might say that is the reason I decided to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Having a supportive family behind me was of the utmost importance on my journey to the cockpit, and not a day goes by when I am not grateful for what they've done for me over the years. Currently I am a First Officer for United Airlines. Since I started flying professionally, I have participated with recruiting, job fairs, interviews, safety committees, simulator evaluations, and served as an Assistant Chief Pilot at my last airline. Ultimately, flying internationally on a 'heavy' is my professional goal.
Starting the Latino Pilots Association made a lot of sense to myself and the other founding members, because over the last 10 years, we have always sought volunteering opportunities and come up with ways to 'give back'. We recognized the need for representation of Latino Pilots, as we are a growing demographic within our profession. Spreading awareness and providing guidance to younger and future generations of pilots will be of greater importance as we move forward over the years as an industry. Thus, the LPA will fill that void on a not-for-profit basis while continually seeking other volunteer opportunities across North, Central and South America. In my leisure time, I enjoy reading economic and financial literature, traveling, fishing, going to the beach, shooting guns, flying for fun, spending time with family, and cooking.
Gabe Quintana- Executive Officer of Corporate Design
My family came over from Spain in the 1700s and originally settled in New Mexico. They later moved west to Colorado and eventually California were I was born and raised.
As most children do, I loved airplanes and the idea of flight but never acted on it till my junior year in college where I was studying biology. At the time, I had friends that were graduating and the only jobs available involved lab work. I decided that I didn't want to spend my days in a lab, so I took a break from school to save money for a year while researching an aviation program. I decided to attend Jacksonville University in Florida, and that is were my aviation career began in earnest.
Currently I am a Chicago-based First Officer with ExpressJet Airlines flying the EMB-145.
I have always had a strong interest in science and the LPA emphasizes supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in our schools. This is one of the many reasons I participated in the formation of the LPA. When I'm not flying, I enjoy family time with my wife and newborn son, surfing, cooking, photography and reading.
Merrill Sutton- Executive Officer of Community Relations
Being of English, Scottish, French, German, and Dutch descent one can conclude that I am of a varied background. In the interest of continued diversification, the LPA provides me the opportunity to work with a family of professionals that seek to build and improve through education and mentorship. Knowing my active personality, I started flying because there was no way I saw myself working a traditional nine-to-five job. I have always had a fascination with airplanes. While studying to be an engineer, I decided that operating suits me better over building and creating. The little kid inside of me still wants to fly the biggest one out there.
Currently, I serve as a captain on the Citation Excel for Delta Private Jets, a 135 charter operator under the umbrella of Delta Air Lines. We fly throughout the United States, Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico. Ultimately, my goal is to get back into the airline passenger world with a large U.S. based carrier flying 'heavy-metal' around the globe. Being a founding member of the LPA has been a tremendous honor, as I share the same passion with the co-founders to educate, mentor, and share the experience of the professional pilot profession.
Outside of flying, I enjoy spending time with my wife, surfing, paddle boarding, and staying current with industry happenings.
Michael Cerrato-Yeomans- Executive Officer of Recruitment
My name is Michael Cerrato-Yeomans and I am a founding member of the Latino Pilots Association. I am originally from Costa Rica, where I was raised by my father from Honduras and my mother from Canada. My heritage is Italian (Cerrato) and British (Yeomans) and our family has long been part of the Latin American community.
Since I was a little, I was always fascinated with airplanes. I knew it was my dream to be an airline pilot and I wanted to do that as a career. My passion is aviation. I worked hard to pursue my passion and was accepted into Jacksonville University’s Aviation Program.
Currently, I am a First Officer and Lead Pilot Recruiter for ExpressJet Airlines. As a First Officer I am responsible for the safe operation of each flight while assisting the Captain and working with airline team members. As a Lead Pilot Recruiter, I am responsible for the Houston Recruiting Department. I also perform interviews, candidate sourcing, and recruiting events while working with all Houston Recruiters.
The reason I decided to start and become a part of the Latino Pilot Association is to help others like me join the world of aviation. There is a lot of opportunity within the aviation industry. I enjoy mentoring in the Latino community and others by helping them understand that there is no limit to what we can do. I want to be a part of that! The Latino Pilots Association will allow us to reach out to various communities by helping to bridge the gap between dreams and opportunities.
During my spare time, I enjoy leisure travel. I have traveled to countries and cities all over Central America, Europe and Asia. Meeting new people and learning about new cultures definitely compliments my passion for aviation.
Director of Finance & Accounts
Originally from southern California, I grew up in a small town outside of Seattle, Washington and then moved back to Orange County, CA before high school. I spent my childhood involved with many cultures across the west coast of our country, which is coincidentally an area of focus with the LPA. My family originally comes from a large variety of European countries, which I think has always fueled my commitment to diversity.
I began flying when I was 12 on a discovery flight out of Boeing Field. I then continued my flight training in high school at John Wayne, Santa Ana airport. I knew then, that I would pursue a career in aviation. I attended Jacksonville University, majoring in Aviation Management and Flight Operations. I became an instructor at the University flight school and tutored fellow students in various subjects throughout my time in school.
By helping others, I found improvement in my own work. After college, I flew the EMB 145 at ExpressJet Airlines, then went on to Allegiant Airlines; where I am currently a Captain on the Airbus A320. In my free time I love spending time outdoors and filling the day with biking, skiing, hiking and any water sports. When I have the opportunity I travel around the world; I like to understand new areas and how the local culture’s work. With the volunteer mentality that my family bestowed in me and the love of science that I’ve always had, I like to share my passion for aviation with my community. When my peers and I formulated the idea to start LPA it was a great outlet for us to spread the love of aerospace to others and why I am continuously thrilled to be a part of such an awesome organization!
Director of Marketing
Growing up, my family used to drive to Miami and visit my Cuban grandparents, which is where I learned about my Hispanic heritage. While my mother is of Polish and European background, my parents met when they were both living in Mexico, so I grew up hearing them speak both English and Spanish in our home.
Being known as the daredevil kid, there's no suprise I ended up in aviation. Having the opportunity to travel a lot when I was growing up, I found my love for very large, impressive airplanes. One day my dream is to fly the 777.
After college, I went on to live a "normal" life as I call it, which had nothing to do with aviation. I knew I needed a big change so I decided to become a flight attendant. About two days into training, I already knew that wanted to be on the other side of the cockpit door. A few months later I resigned, moved 2000 miles away, and was enrolled in full time flight school to begin my journey to become an airline pilot.
Today I am a First Officer at Republic Airlines flying the Embraer 170. I am so happy to finally be fulfilling my dream as a commercial aviator, and excited to be a part of the Latino Pilot's Association. I look forward to mentoring others who also share my love of aviation, and to connect with professional Latino pilots!