Jeff “Odie” Espenship is an international airline pilot, professional speaker, founder of Target Leadership, author, USAF fighter pilot, husband, father, and all around good guy!
He graduated from the University of Georgia, where he received a full academic scholarship from their Air Force ROTC program. Due to his demonstrated officership and leadership skills, Jeff received top ROTC graduate honors and was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He earned his “silver wings” at Vance AF, Enid, OK where he won the coveted “Commanders Trophy” as the overall top graduate of his entire pilot training class. Jeff also won the pilot training T-38 Talon’s “Hard Charger Award” for his overall dedication to excellence and training.
Jeff became a USAF fighter pilot flying the venerable A-10 Thunderbolt, also known as the “Warthog”. He was stationed with the 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Eielson AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska.
While there, he qualified as one of the youngest 4-ship flight leaders in the entire squadron. He served as an instructor and was also combat search and rescue qualified. He won numerous Top Gun awards for air-to-ground bombing and gunnery. Due to Jeff’s outgoing, personable, always smiling, eager to please personality, his squadron mates quickly gave him his callsign “Odie” aptly named after the popular cartoon Garfield’s sidekick.
Now, few people know Jeff by his first name…but simply call him “ODIE.”
After 6 years of dedicated service in the Air Force, Odie decided to fulfill another lifelong dream by becoming an airline pilot. He began his career with Delta Air Lines in 1992, where he currently flies international routes out of Atlanta, GA.
Amid his tenure as an airline pilot, Odie also flew a 1943 T-6 “Texan ” on the airshow circuit. A tragic accident took the life of his brother, as well as the life of the pilot. This significant event in Odie’s life ignited the spark that helped create what TargetLeadership is today.
“Pay attention to the size of the shadow you cast in the eyes of others. Fresh eyes and ears are always watching and listening to the way it’s done around here.”