Where Are They Now?
Ian Ramos is now a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.

Ian Ramos is now a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.

Ian Ramos today.
Ian Ramos at the Capitol with the 2007 Youth Tour group.

by Allison Young

For this issue, we talked story with Ian Ramos, a Youth Tour 2007 alumnus. Born and raised on Kauaʻi, Ian grew up in Kapaʻa, graduated from Kapaʻa High in 2008, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2013 with a degree in Aeronautics and a commercial pilot license. He currently lives in Honolulu and is a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, in addition to working as a travel consultant and realtor.

Aloha Ian. What’s your favorite memory from Youth Tour?

Having the honor to be part of Youth Tour forever changed my perspective in life.

The opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital at a young age was an unforgettable moment. I had the honor to represent the State of Hawaiʻi at the Youth Tour Conference and meet with various legislators, senators and other prestigious leaders.

Coming from a small island to feeling like I was in the heart of our nation, I immediately realized that I had limited my own beliefs. This nation was primarily built by people from various backgrounds who had the courage to stand up for their beliefs, took massive action, persevered through setbacks to see their visions become reality for the greater good. Our nation’s capital with its rich history clearly exemplifies the beauty of our country, providing the opportunity to achieve anything you want in life aka “The American Dream.”

I took that new perspective and turned it into a blueprint for every day. With my new mindset I was able to stick to my vision of becoming an airline pilot. I am forever grateful to KIUC and the Youth Tour program, it played a major role in my journey and blessed a kid from Kauaʻi with an opportunity of a lifetime.

Tell us about your path after graduation.

I was fascinated with airplanes and fell in love with aviation as an adolescent. With my newfound perspective I gained from the Youth Tour Conference, I focused all my attention on becoming a professional pilot.

Despite coming from humble beginnings and having a different career from my peers, I took it upon myself to create my own aviation path. I attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Through financial hardship and personal sacrifice, I graduated in 2013 with honors achieving both my bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and a commercial pilot license.

To further improve my flying skills, I spent years on the mainland as a flight instructor and worked with a regional airline company. In 2019, Hawaiian Airlines gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and my life came full circle! Bringing my dream and passion back home to serve my ohana/peers is priceless.

In addition to being an airplane pilot, I’m a travel consultant and Real Estate Realtor as well. As a travel consultant, I scout and review potential hotels/cruises and create honeymoons/retirements/vacations itineraries. I became a realtor for additional skills that will complement my real estate portfolio.

What do you like to do in your free time?

During any down-time, I take the opportunity to learn. Whether it’s new skills or new knowledge, always being a student is essential in life. The pandemic woke me up and motivated me to not be complacent no matter how successful I am. It was a hard lesson - putting all my eggs in one career and one income source is not financially smart. I’m on a quest to create additional passive income streams that fit my lifestyle.

Which one of KIUC’s shared values most resonates with you?

Ho’okela. We strive to provide the best service to our members. I will contribute my best to attain the highest level of achievement.

My mother, a strong and independent woman, primarily raised me and molded me into who I am today. One of the many valuable gems she instilled in me was, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

An attitude of no regret and giving your all is always respected, maximizes your time here on earth, and pushes you beyond limiting beliefs to accomplish the unthinkable.

Always finding innovative ways to raise the bar for any task will clearly stand out. It provides a lasting impression on your peers, consumers or company you represent. It becomes a defining factor that separates you from the competition and creates new doors to opportunity and growth. I believe it’s our life’s mission to uncover our true abilities in order to live life to the fullest. We should all be self-motivated in striving to be at least 1% better than who we were yesterday. When looking back, that extra effort everyday will compound and ultimately create your American Dream.

What message would you like to share with our keiki?

I aspire to be a role model to keiki, especially those from Kauaʻi.

Not too long ago I was just a kid from Kapaʻa, who had an ambitious dream that no one believed I could achieve. A kid who silenced the noise, took massive action, had the self-confidence, grit and determination to turn that dream into reality.

Know that anything in life is achievable, don’t let where you’re from, your family background or surroundings dictate your goals and beliefs in what you can accomplish. Continuously strive for greatness and having your eyes set on conquering the next mountain of goals.

I can certainly confirm that the “American Dream” is indeed real and attainable for everyone.