Dawn Career Institute is one of the 12% of family-owned businesses in the United States to pass on to the third generation. Thirty-eight years strong, here is our story:
First generation: the Anglin-Zapata family
February 9, 1956 – The makings of a prosperous family business always begin with the story of a successful family. For the Anglin-Zapata family, the long road to founding the institute that would come to change so many lives began in the 1930s with the meeting of Air Force Sargent Hollis C. Anglin and the late Mary Frances Moore. Their marriage of 54 years began two months later, on April 28, 1936, and would yield three children. After attaining the title and rank of Flight Engineer USAF CMSGT, Hollis completed a successful 21-year career in the United States Air Force, and he and Fran began a new phase of their journey. With an entrepreneurial spirit – and only $50 in his pocket along with a few small loans from a close friend and dear family member – Hollis founded Dawn Aeronautics, a flight school in Cheswold, Del. Their children, Cheryl, Scott and Stuart, joined the business at different points throughout the years. Hollis enjoyed being at work/the business every day – after all, their customers and employees became their friends and extended family. Fran didn’t just enjoy – she relished her supporting role at Dawn Aeronautics, working the front desk, helping change oil in an aircraft or taking care of her grandchildren. By the time they founded Dawn Training Centre in 1995, the family progression allowed Fran to take a more active role at the school – overseeing admissions and student services. Fran is fondly remembered for always having time for a hug and being capable and willing to set students and employees straight when necessary. Fran became a certified massage therapist, spearheading Dawn Career Institute’s start of the first massage program in the state of Delaware.
Dawn Aeronautics became a full-service aviation center providing aircraft sales, maintenance, charter, accident recovery, international flight training, cargo handling and fueling. Then the aviation business was sold, and the family turned its focus to the world of education and grew multiple allied health and wellness programs.
Successful in business, in marriage and as parents, Hollis and Fran had imparted their decades of knowledge in the aviation and education sectors on the next generation of their family. Cheryl and brothers Scott and Stuart Anglin literally grew up in the aviation business together. All three accomplished their first solo flights on their birthdays. Cheryl earned her pilot’s license at age 18 with flight instructor Juan Zapata, now her husband of 30 years. In the aviation business, Cheryl worked as a receptionist and bookkeeper, and even filled the airplanes’ fuel tanks. She learned other aspects of the business as well as it grew, moved to a new location, split into two different companies, changed its name and changed its focus. After taking some time off to explore other ventures, she returned to the family business in 2001. In 2008 she earned her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership degree, graduating with her oldest daughter Jena. Today, Dawn Career Institute is a nimble, expanding operation offering career training in some of the fastest-growing professions in the region and the nation – primarily in the allied health and wellness fields.
Scott Anglin now owns Anglin Aircraft Recovery Services, an aviation accident recovery business. Stuart Anglin owns and operates Anglin Construction, a construction company.
Once being entrusted to carry on her family's legacy with responsibilities of operating a thriving business, Cheryl knew from where the next great leadership of Dawn Career Institute would come.
Like their mother, Jena and Jessica have grown up in the business – sometimes accompanying her on a hip or in a stroller. Through the years they were always involved, playing in the flight simulator, attending graduations, working the reception desk and doing inventory. Both Jena and Jessica helped with part-time positions in the school in their earlier years, and Cheryl insisted they get formal education and work outside of the family business to explore their individual desires, interests and skill sets before deciding to join the family business long term.
Jena’s professional career growth and development began early on working as the Assistant Marketing Coordinator and Administrative Assistant at DCI while in college. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Wilmington University, she seized the opportunity to join the organization and aspired to increase her responsibilities and roles. While attending Wilmington University, Jena also attended and completed DCI’s Esthetics program, resulting in her becoming a licensed esthetician in the state of Delaware. While at DCI, she gained a passion for business development and marketing strategy, which provided a natural transition to marketing and human resources and, ultimately, her role as Chief Operating Officer.
Personally and professionally, Jena is passionate about health, wellness, fitness, and being a life-long learner. She manages New Beginnings Spa and Dawn Career Institute’s Wellness Institute. In supporting the DCI mission and future growth, she aligns her professional development and goals in the area of wellness. After graduating from The Kripalu School of Yoga in Stockbridge, Mass., in 2014 with a yoga teacher trainer certification, she continued on pursing her personal fitness trainer certification. Jena actively employs her aspirations to empower the lives of others personally and professionally through the influence and benefits of wellness.
Jessica Zapata is a graduate of the University of Delaware where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Spanish. She began her professional career as a registered nurse at Christiana Care Hospital in Newark, Del., after successfully completing the Progressive Care Internship. There, she had the opportunity to help formulate the Patient and Family Centered Care Committee on the Pulmonary Step-Down Unit. This committee focused on satisfaction of patients and their families through open communication, support and encouragement. It was there that she realized the importance of supporting individuals through each and every stage of growth.
In the pursuit of further career growth and advancement, Jessica came aboard at Dawn Career Institute full time as Director of Student Affairs. Jessica’s role increased to include Director of Education and Student Affairs in 2013. Jessica plans to complete her Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Business Administration degrees in 2015. Ultimately, Jessica is passionate about helping others achieve their personal, professional and educational goals.
If there’s one word that defines the mission of Dawn Career Institute and the Zapata family, it’s service. Service to the students, service to the employees and service to the employers who ultimately hire DCI graduates. The Zapata and their extended DCI family are clearly committed to their mission.