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Writing skills pay off, says Jannus winner Delta Air Lines CEO

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Published:   |   Updated: November 15, 2013 at 09:55 PM

TAMPA — Fresh from reporting Delta Air Lines’ third quarter profit of $1.2 billion, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson visited Tampa and St. Petersburg Friday to accept a commercial aviation award and tell the recipient of a high school aviation essay contest prize that writing skills pay off.

“I never took a business or math course in college,” Anderson, the 2013 Tony Jannus Award winner for contributions to the airline industry, said in remarks to a Tampa International Airport gathering that included St. Petersburg Catholic High School student Alexis Wolf, the 2013 statewide Tony Jannus Essay Contest winner.

“I also went to Catholic school and I learned how to write,” Anderson said. “In college I dropped a business course because it was boring and took a literature course instead.”

Anderson, parlayed his undergraduate education at the University of Houston - Clear Lake and law degree from the South Texas College of Law into a career at Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines. He also was a vice president with UnitedHealth Group.

Anderson joined Delta in 2007 and has guided the airline in recent months to aggressive and competitive route planning at Dallas Love Field, Seattle, Boston, Atlanta and Washington. Delta emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2007 and fought off a hostile takeover attempt by US Airways before merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008.

Delta with 18.3 percent of the local market share is Tampa International’s second busiest carrier behind Southwest Airlines.

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