Reaching for the sky

It was when Abingdon Welch was 14 years old that she realized she wanted a career in aviation.

I told my mom, ‘hey mom, I want to be a pilot.’ She said, ‘that’s nice, pass the peas.

Abingdon Welch

Not understanding vocational school, Abingdon’s parents wished her to follow a more traditional path and that is what she did. After high school, she attended four years at the University of California, San Diego which resulted in a degree in psychology and film. During that time she did not forget her dream of one day sitting in the cockpit and flying a plane.

With saving every penny from summer jobs she was ready to jump head first into flight training the moment she finished university. Because of her diligent planning, she was able to attend the American Flyers Flight School without acquiring any more student loans. In 2007 she graduated with her commercial rating and was hired as a professional pilot.

It was also in 2007 that Abingdon launched Abingdon Company. On November 3 her namesake became the first watch company to meet the needs of female pilots, mechanics, and adventure women.  Born out of necessity, the fully functional aviator’s watch is fashionable, versatile, and most importantly, made for women.

I really wanted a pilot’s watch and since they didn’t make anything for women, I established the watch company

Abingdon Welch

It was that simple. Abingdon saw something was amiss and set her mind to make it right. It’s a wonderful way to improve the world. However, her impact doesn’t end at fabulously functional accessories. When looking back on her road towards becoming a pilot, she realized the struggles she had.

I didn’t come from a family that was in aviation. I really didn’t know where to start, so I just kind of found out things as I went along and it took me a long time.

Abingdon Welch

It was those difficulties Abingdon wanted a younger generation to avoid. She wanted a support system for young women and with that desire, the Abingdon Foundation was created.

I started Abingdon Foundation to help women figure out where they want to go, and not necessarily in aviation. If they want to explore scuba diving. If they want to explore maintenance becoming a mechanic and they don’t know what to do or where to go, we can help.

Abingdon Welch

The Abingdon Foundation supports women to find their way through scholarships, community outreach, and networking opportunities. Like the lack of aviation/adventure watches for women, Abingdon created something that women didn’t realize they needed. With these tools, she hopes to make the journey for the next 14-year-old girl a bit easier to reach their dreams.


Studio Manager Meditation: Assistant Gloves

We work like crazy. As a studio manager/producer/assistant/blogger life very rarely slows down to the point where I can step back and reflect on it. When it does though, I find myself mulling over aspects of this job that might seem so inconsequential, but for me hold deeper meanings. I’ve decided to start this monthly series on the blog to take a minute and stop, reflect, and write about some of the aspects of being a studio manager that really impact me. These are my studio manager meditations.

crisman_assistant_gloves_ohl(Photo: David Ohl)

Assistant Gloves.

To phrase it bluntly, sometimes you just need to shut up and work. There’s a task at hand, no need for argument, no need for conversation, just the need to get it done. This is when I like to break out my assistant gloves – whether or not they are necessary for that particular task, I’ll put them on, put my head down, and get a job done.

Hauling gear through snow-covered trails, breaking down multiple sets in a rush to avoid overtime charges on a rental studio, hand-holding octabanks on the beach in Maui, these gloves have seen it all. Yes, they might be a little stupid looking with the big flaming “S” for the brand Setwear emblazoned across the back of my hand. Yes, I’ve worn them for so long that the fingers are worn through. No, I will not be replacing them anytime soon. They are certainly expendable, but I plan on wearing them till they fall off my hands.

In a sense, I’m speaking specifically in a tribute to the gloves that I’ve worn over these past three years. Also, I’m speaking to the bigger picture. Whether it’s these gloves or any other pair, the process remains the same, you just need to get the job done. Not every situation in work or life affords the luxury of choice; undoubtedly you’ll encounter tough problems that need to be fixed, quickly and decisively. These are the moments when you need a good pair of assistant gloves.