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Nearly 40 years ago, Delta employees raised $30 million dollars to purchase the first Boeing 767 – named The Spirit of Delta. The plane saw the company through good and turbulent times and constantly served as a reminder that the spirit of Delta people always prevails no matter the challenges we face. 

In November of 2020, Joe McDermott, preparing to celebrate 30 years with Delta, took on the role of Managing Director of People Development and Culture in TechOps. In his very first meeting with the team, employee recognition was the topic of conversation. Based on feedback and ideas from TechOps employees, he pitched the idea to rededicate the Delta Spirit. 

With the retiring of the 777 fleet, McDermott recognized what that meant for the aircraft. “It was natural that we’d think to rededicate the Spirit.”  

 The idea took off from there. The project team got to work planning, selecting the aircraft (an Airbus A350, Ship 3502) and designing the Spirit. 

Employee Appreciation Day

Project team includes:   

  • Clay Lawless, Lead Painter   

  • Terry Liles, Painter  

  • Justin Lake, Painter   

  • David Parchia, Painter   

  • Tori Sparrow, Painter   

  • Scott Dearman, Painter   

  • Joel Freeland, Painter   

  • Stony Merritt, Painter  

  • Biff Doster, Lead Painter  

  • Jordan Lyle, Manager, Base Maintenance    

  • Austin O’Farrell, Lead Project Manager, Engineering Programs    

  • Nicholas Davis, Duty Manager Hangar    

  • Paul Schwahn, Lead Project Manager, Fleet Projects   

  • Michael Turner, Senior Engineer    

  • Isabel Arango, Senior Engineer   

  • Teleeta Adams, Manager Interiors Engineering   

  • Joseph McDermott, Managing Director People Development and Culture  

“At each pivot point as an airline, we recognized the fact that the Delta people are the best thing and the strongest thing we have to be able to recover,” McDermott said. “It’s about resetting as an airline - reflecting where we were and what we’re going to be as we move forward.”  

This morning, the Delta Spirit was officially rededicated once again to Delta people for embodying the Delta Difference, and the Delta Spirit, during the pandemic. “This recognizes the work everyone has put in to guide this airline to successfully emerge stronger and better than before,” McDermott said.   

Employee Appreciation Day