The Sky is No Limit for Daniel’s Dreams

Daniel Gizzi photo

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – “My biggest challenge was chasing the dream of becoming a pilot,” says Daniel Gizzi. Because Daniel has a hearing disability, many thought reaching this dream would be impossible.

Growing up with severe hearing loss made daily tasks such as speech and schooling more difficult for Daniel, but he didn’t let that deter him from his dream career. “He knew he wanted to be a pilot from day one,” says Julie Emerson, Daniel’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor. “He was so determined that I felt like I owed it to him to give him a chance to do it,” she says.

Today, Daniel is more than just a pilot for Ascension Aircraft; he helps run key areas of the company. “This would not have been possible without assistance from VR,” says Daniel. “They helped my dreams become a reality.”

VR provided Daniel with hearing aids and helped with tuition and books at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. “And I believed in him,” says Julie. “I really thought he could accomplish it and look at him. He did very well.”

“He’s definitely one of the people that you can count on,” says Jamail Larkins, President of Ascension Aircrafts. Daniel is a pilot of the PC12 aircraft, flying customers around the country, and he also is responsible for project oversight, serving as one of the chief liaisons between Jamail and company employees. Daniel makes sure projects are completed on time and that they are prioritized and executed as efficiently as possible.

Daniel also serves as a contact with the board of directors and important customers the company serves. “And then he’s a resource manager in some cases,” says Jamail. Whenever conflicts develop, Daniel assesses the situation and helps develop solutions before they reach Jamail’s office. “His attitude and commitment to getting things done are some of his biggest attributes,” says Jamail. “It’s what allows him to be successful.”

Daniel hopes his story encourages people to reach for their dreams and lets them know that VR is here to help along the way. “It’s a phenomenal program,” he says. “They have opportunities to help you further yourself through education or in a career, like I was able to do.”

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website, FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 111 offices across Florida, and last year helped 6,071 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit Rehabworks.org.