American names first woman to head DFW pilot base

08/31/2014 2:51 PM

08/31/2014 2:52 PM

American Airlines has appointed its first female chief pilot at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Capt. Kathi Durst, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy who has been with the company for more than 25 years, will lead the carrier’s largest pilot base.

Previously, Durst became American’s first female pilot in a management leadership role when she became fleet manager for American’s Boeing 737 fleet. She is also a former check airman for its Airbus A300.

“Kathi brings strong leadership skills, experience and a high standard of professionalism with her to serve the pilots of DFW,” said Capt. Jim Dees, American’s director of flight at DFW.

Before joining American, Durst served in the Air Force as a flight instructor. She graduate from the Air Force Academy in 1981 as part of only the second class to admit women.

In June, she was one of four employees recognized by American Airlines Group as recipients of the 2014 Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership in Diversity for her leadership in mentoring young pilots and involvement with Women in Aviation International. Andrea Ahles

Mad Money’s Cramer likes Range Resources

Fort Worth-based Range Resources is getting some love from CNBC stock guru Jim Cramer.

Range CEO Jeff Ventura appeared on Cramer’s “Mad Money” show last week, where Cramer highlighted the company’s fast-growing natural gas production and declining costs in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and other northeastern states.

Ventura noted that next month Range will celebrate its 10th anniversary of operations in the Marcellus field, which has emerged as the biggest natural gas player in the U.S. since Range pioneered drilling in that region in 2004.

Range moved heavily into the Marcellus early on, eventually deciding to sell its assets in North Texas’ Barnett Shale in 2011 to Legend Production so it could focus on the northeastern field.

The strategy has paid off, with surging production volumes leading to higher profits. Revenues have more than doubled since 2009 and profits have steadily increased in recent years. In its most recent report, Range said net income increased 19 percent to $171 million in the second quarter as production volumes increased 21 percent.

And there’s more growth ahead, with Ventura saying the company is confident it can triple its production in coming years. It has even signed two contracts to supply gas for exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, with the first terminal expected to open in 2015.

“I think the U.S. can not only supply itself but can export gas,” Ventura told Cramer.

Cramer thinks the story presents a good opportunity for investors. Range shares (ticker: RRC) closed Friday at $78.59, off 6.8 percent on the year. “This is the kind of company I’m talking about,” he said.

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