People typically come to logistics in one of two ways; either they’re born into a family who has been generations deep in the industry or they have a momentary brush with our world and realize it’s exactly where they belong. For Samantha Patterson, there was one extra step that made all the difference. With a passion for criminal justice and security, she forewent an opportunity with the NY State Police Academy and found herself at Atlas Air, Inc. Though she enjoyed her position and made fast friends with her team, it was a chance meeting with GK9PG during a cargo screening that showed her how her passion for security could combine with her newfound interest in air cargo logistics. It was in a rare moment, in a Venn diagram with only minuscule crossover that she found her calling.
Her story begins at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where Samantha studied for 2 years and transferred to UNCW where she had an internship with the Police Department’s Federal Probation Office before being accepted into the NY State police academy. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington she began working as a temporary employee creating badges for Atlas employees where she was soon hired on as an analyst.
Over the course of her seven years with Atlas she attained the position of Security Manager of European and Asian Regulatory affairs. Samantha managed all security threat assessments from Atlas warehouse operations domestically totaling over 45,000. As an Atlas representative, Samantha worked closely with ACMI customers to ensure aircraft were properly secured at all locations. Samantha co-organized the Charity Golf Tournament which works closely with K9 For Warriors and other amazing nonprofit companies. Their efforts ultimately generated enough money to contribute to the Mega Kennel at HDQ in Ponte Vedra, FL.
Samantha met the GK9PG team while setting up stations for Atlas/Polar in the northeast. During the installment in these warehouses, she built a relationship with the GK9PG team and knew she wanted to be a part of the GK9PG family.
“I was mesmerized by the canine screeners and basically followed them around asking 9,000 questions. Everyone from GK9PG was so passionate and involved in the security process, I just knew in my gut that this was my path. Watching how GK9PG empowered their employees, the respect and support we get, those values just grabbed ahold of me,” Samantha explains. Her joy and passion obvious in how she lights up while discussing the path she took.
“I left Atlas for a minute and almost became a paralegal before they called me back and there was a lot of advice from people outside the logistics industry that reminded me I’d “left cargo for a reason” but my boss Gary was a great mentor and going back there was the step that I needed to take to go forward and find my calling. I don’t think I could be this fulfilled doing anything else.”
Samantha joined GK9PG in March 2022 as the Regional Director of Operations West Coast where her goal is to make the west coast a focal point for cargo security and screening. “The increase in cargo operations from Asia just makes the west coast a natural hub for security. GK9PG is wildly efficient; dogs can screen a pallet in ten seconds – a job that takes a human two hours. And, okay, hear me out, everyone wants to work with teammates who are professional and eager, passionate, right? Well, at GK9PG, it’s not only the people but the dogs that are just ready to work, love the work and flourish in the environment. If it’s true that dogs are the best judge of character, then I’m definitely at the greatest job on the planet.”
GK9PG President and CEO Eric Hare said, “Samantha brings a strategic vision to our leadership team during a time in which we are experiencing monumental growth. Samantha’s leadership and investment in both the requirements and our commitment to our customers alongside the growth strategy of our organization will continue to strengthen our commitment to our customers and the aviation security industry.”
Samantha and her husband Jay have a dog of their own, labradoodle Reese, who might not have training in cargo security, but can definitely sniff out an exciting place to hike and keep up with two adventure loving parents who don’t like sitting around. This month, Samantha, Jay and Reese will embark on a cross country trip from New York to Salt Lake City, UT – where she will build her command center and be able to access all of the critical cargo points on the west coast.
With an unparalleled vision, work ethic and passion for her future, Samantha and GK9PG will certainly be a story to watch as it unfolds and thrives in the coming months.