Customer Service Supervisor
Meggie Pho loves the variety of her role with Aerocare and that every day is different. “I’m someone who can’t sit still so the job suits me!” she says.
Meggie joined Aerocare two years ago after completing a business degree at university and realising an office job wasn’t for her. “I do a range of different roles and represent many of our different customers at Sydney International – AirAsia, Cebu, Scoot, Jetstar – which keeps it very interesting,” she says.
As well as strong support from supervisors while on shift, Meggie appreciates the one-on-one catch ups that all Aerocare team members have each month. “It’s an opportunity to talk about our goals and give feedback, discuss opportunities for new skills and cross training, and generally keep things on track,” she says.
Meggie says while she particularly enjoys working at the boarding gate and ensuring the efficient turnaround of an aircraft, it’s the team environment that she loves most about Aerocare. “It’s very friendly. It’s like a big family. Everyone’s there to support each other and we have a laugh together when things have been challenging. Even on our days off there is a group of us who meet up then as well – movies, dinner, drinks.”
Meggie must be a kid at heart – her favourite movie is Ice Age!
Manager International Operations
Steve Hayes joined Aerocare in a casual role to supplement his handyman business. Fast forward six years and Steve is now Manager International Operations at Brisbane Airport, having worked for Aerocare at numerous ports and in a range of different roles.
A major career highlight for Steve was winning a place in the Aerocare Top 50 reward trip in 2010, which saw him and a bunch of other high achievers sailing the Whitsundays along side Aerocare CEO Glenn Rutherford.
“The top 50 trip was the best holiday I’ve ever been on. It was great meeting people from all over the country and I’ve kept in touch with some. It was a real turning point for me – it was motivating and inspiring and it helped me feel even more connected with the business and with management.”
Not long after the trip, Steve was encouraged to take a big step up into the role of manager of Aerocare’s Adelaide operations. It was a steep learning curve but luckily Steve says he has never questioned the support he has received from his managers at Aerocare.
Steve points out that while being a manager is not an easy job, if you can be flexible and go above and beyond, your efforts will be rewarded.
Steve believes “sleep is for the weak” and between work and triathlons, there’s never a dull moment!
Like many Aerocare team members, Kate Langdale applied for a check-in role with her heart set on one day gaining an airline cabin crew position.
Again, like so many Aerocare team members, Kate found that she enjoyed ground services and has paved a different path gaining skills in check-in, boarding gate, lounge, aircraft movement coordination, recruitment and training.
After almost six years, Kate is now a Training Coordinator for Aerocare’s Perth, Broome and Darwin operations, which is a full-time role focused on supporting trainers and improving training delivery.
Kate looks forward to developing her training career, saying: “I love training – it’s so good seeing people come out the other side and see their progression.”
Aerocare has a network of training coordinators through Australia and New Zealand, who speak each week and regularly get together.
A career highlight for Kate was securing a place on the 2013 Top 50 Reward Trip skiing in Perisher. “It’s nice to know you’re valued, and I always mention the trip to people when I’m running inductions so they know it’s possible,” she says.
On leaving school Kate tried her hand at university studies and in a real estate agency, before applying to Aerocare. She says Aerocare is “like a big family” where she has made life-long friends and is constantly learning.
Don’t mess with Kate – she loves boxing!
Customer Service Supervisor
Carly Curtis knew that she was falling in love with her job at Aerocare when she started skipping her TAFE tourism classes to take on extra shifts. “I’d always wanted to get into airline work, and from day one I never looked back.”
Seven years on and Carly supervises Aerocare’s customer service team at Canberra airport. Carly has received countless compliments for her exemplary service and is regarded one of Aerocare’s highest performers.
On what makes the ideal customer service agent, Carly says adaptability is key. “The nature of this type of work is that you have great days and there are others you’d prefer to forget, with cancelations and delays.”
“You need to genuinely love dealing with people, and be able to relate to them. That’s essential. You also need to be able to handle different situations, keeping cool, calm and collected.”
Carly says Aerocare has a genuine team environment where everyone will rally together to get the job done.
Carly has been approached by airlines to join their teams, often with attractive roles on offer. “It can be tempting”, she says, “but I already know that at Aerocare my efforts are acknowledged and rewarded, and I have the support of a company that believes in me.”
Carly loves to walk her dog, Lily – a black spoodle (or “cockapoo” as they’re sometimes known!)
As a resource planner, Fadel Issa puts both his industry knowledge and his number-crunching skills to the test.
Fadel’s role is to ensure efficient rostering for Aerocare’s Sydney International Airport team, which is critical to the operation’s success.
Fadel’s industry knowledge comes from three-and-a-half years with Aerocare in baggage and customer services prior to securing the resource planner role, which he describes as one of his biggest achievements.
“I had my eye on the role and secured it on my second attempt. I’ve worked really hard to take it on and master it. It’s about finding the right balance of efficiency and it takes a lot of observing, listening and trial and error to get things just right.”
Fadel says that at Aerocare there are always opportunities to grow. “You’re continuously learning and there’s always new challenges to tackle and issues to fix,” he says. “We’ve had three new clients start up since I’ve been in the resource planner role, which has certainly kept me on my toes.”
In this role it’s important not to have “tunnel vision”, says Fadel, and to make sure you’re looking at the bigger picture. “We’re lucky to have a network of resource planners across the country and we get together to share our knowledge and experiences and support each other”.
Fadel has played soccer since he was four. His team is the Banksia Tigers.
Ramp Trainer & Supervisor
Greg Spencer’s role with Aerocare regularly takes him all over Australia and New Zealand, supporting start-up operations and providing additional skills where they’re needed.
As a self-confessed aviation buff, this diversity suits Greg perfectly. He says: “I love working with different aircraft, particularly gaining wide-body experience. Supporting start-up operations is particularly rewarding, where you get the opportunity to learn something and pass it on for others to take over.”
Greg has been based at Perth Airport with Aerocare for more than 12 years. He’s planning to take long service leave early next year to coincide with his regular volunteering gig in ground support at Avalon Airshow.
Greg points out that aviation shift work is very different to standard hours, with start times at Perth airport from 3.45am and finishes as late as 2am. “The work and hours really don’t suit everyone, and if it doesn’t suit, it’s best to move on. In our environment it’s critical to have a good work ethic and people need to be willing to always try their best,” he says.
Greg has a pyrotechnics license and flies high-powered model rockets.
Day of Operations Planner
Sarah Ryder “fell in love straight away” when she joined Aerocare six years ago, fresh from TAFE travel and tourism studies.
“Aerocare gave me a start and the opportunities and rewards have just kept on coming,” she says. “I have learnt so much over the years, in different roles, with different airlines, constantly upskilling.”
Sarah has recently taken on a Day of Operations Planner role, which means helping ensure everything is running smoothly across the entire Aerocare operation at Sydney International Airport. Sarah says: “We’ve always been a bit like one big happy family at Aerocare, which has tended to set us apart from other ground handlers. As a Day of Ops Planner, I can work at building the team dynamic and keep everyone working well together.”
Along with securing the Day of Operations role, Sarah’s biggest achievement was scoring a place on the Aerocare Top 50 trip which saw her being “absolutely spoiled” with 49 other top-performing colleagues on Hamilton Island.
“Customer service is absolutely number one,” says Sarah. “You’re the face of the airlines, and the most important thing is that customers receive the best service and that they keep coming back.”
Sarah has a wall in her house dedicated to the South Sydney Rabittohs! (Her job is the only thing stopping her getting to every game!)
Steve Hynes, or “Hynesy” as he’s known, has been part of the Aerocare team for a staggering 12 years. He’s seen a lot in that time, but says one of his highlights was helping unload a RAAF-chartered Russian Antonov carrying six 40 foot containers bound for the Woomera Rocket Range.
Steve says: “I love the variety of the work we do – the different roles and the different aircraft make it really interesting.” Steve has also enjoyed travelling extensively throughout Australia providing ramp training, and meeting a lot of people along the way.
Joining Aerocare was big change for Steve, as his first aviation role after a long career in the printing industry. He counts among the highlight the friendships he’s made along the way – and not just in Melbourne but throughout the country.
Last year Steve began a role with Aerocare’s Q Catering contract and has enjoyed working with an even broader mix of airlines and aircraft.
As for the skills required to succeed at Aerocare, Steve says above all else you need to be open-minded and prepared for anything. “No two days are the same, so you need to be good at thinking quickly and taking quick action.”
Steve is about to notch up his 33rd year as a volunteer firefighter!
Manager Service and Standards
Jade Vincent worked with many ground handlers in her last job, but knew that if she was ever to join one, Aerocare would be her pick.
“Working for a customer airline, I could see that integrity was a core value and key to the way Aerocare operated,” she says. “They took accountability seriously and I appreciated the honesty. Because they were open about how things were tracking, we would work together to solve any issues.”
Now with Aerocare for six years, Jade says that integrity is still the most important quality for Aerocare team members. “Along with being flexible and adaptable, our team members need to take ownership of their actions – it’s such a critical environment and their safety and the safety of our passengers depends on it.”
Jade says that in her role in particular, everyone looks to her for solutions to problems, so she needs to keep her composure and give direction and leadership.
“We have an awesome team on the Gold Coast, and we have a lot of respect for each other. We have our tough days but our staff all pull together and keep going with smiles on their faces, working as a team. That’s rewarding.”
Jade says she has needed a fair bit of flexibility and support on a personal level over the past year or so, and that Aerocare has been “wonderful”.
Jade juggles being a manager with Aerocare with being a mum to two young boys, playing netball and studying business at uni – the word ‘superwoman’ springs to mind!
Emma Gough believes that positive results come from a positive attitude, particularly in the airport environment.
Emma’s positive take on things extends to her career – she once asked a manager to “take a chance on me; I won’t let you down”. Thanks to chances like that one, and her on-going dedication, Emma is now Manager Operations – Cobham at Perth Airport.
Emma’s 40-strong team handles 70 arrivals and departures each week between Perth and Cobham’s ten regional and remote locations primarily in WA’s resource areas.
Emma saw the Cobham opportunity as a fork in the road. “It was a big decision to move across to Cobham as it’s quite separate to our other operations at Perth Airport. But in saying that, I’ve ended up with a fair level of autonomy, almost like running my own little airport, and it has been a fantastic opportunity to learn the ramp side of the business.”
Emma values the support and mentoring she has enjoyed in her five years with Aerocare, believing that “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”.
In addition to her success with Cobham, Emma says that regular nominations for Aerocare’s Top 30 and Top 50 trips, including scoring a place on the 2015 Hamilton Island trip, as major achievements.
Emma had a varied career before joining Aerocare, in administration and as a Residential Care Officer with the Department of Child Safety. Initially unsure if she had the right background for aviation, Emma has only gone from strength to strength.
When Emma was 17 she applied, unsuccessfully, to be an apprentice mechanic and sometimes wonders where that career might have taken her!
Ramp Duty Manager
Prior to joining Aerocare two years ago, Aristo Gotsis’ aviation experience involved taking holidays and childhood plane spotting! “At first I found it amazing working among the planes and was in awe of it for the first few months,” he says.
“I have always been fascinated by planes and remember watching them as a kid – we lived on the flight path,” he says. “It’s special because not everyone can work at the airport and be so close to the aircraft.”
Aristo explains that there’s a lot to learn when you first come on board. “You have to be very aware of everything around you and what everything means. The ability to make quick decisions is most important. At first you’re very nervous and everyone is different in how long it takes them to adapt.”
At first Aristo was happy to learn the ropes and support his managers, but he was soon given the opportunity to step up to a supervisor’s position. He says his challenge now is focused around “motivating people, maintaining good working relationships and making good decisions”
“The people you work with are the most important thing. We all look after each other and go the extra mile to support each other.”
Aristo owned a chicken shop before joining Aerocare!
Manager Airport Services
Emma McNamara says joining Aerocare six years ago was the best decision she ever made. “Aerocare really looks after its people and I was very lucky that they saw something in me and gave me the chance to manage the Gold Coast operations.”
As a naturally shy person, Emma says her role leading a team of 180 staff has really forced her out of her comfort zone. “I have found that communication and listening are where I really need to focus my efforts,” she says. “It is so important to listen – most of the good ideas will come from the people around you.”
Emma feels that her team has real ownership of their operations and full responsibility for how things work. “We have independence, but there is 100% support from head office if we ever need it,” she says.
Emma says the job can be stressful and thick skin and the ability to think quickly are essential. “You also have to be prepared to give your heart and soul if you want to go places,” she says. “With Aerocare, you really can go places.”
Sometimes the toughest days are the most rewarding, says Emma. “At the end of the day, if things have been really tough with cancellations and even airport closure, we can all get together and have a laugh.”
Emma has a gorgeous three-year-old son named Bronson.
Customer Service Supervisor
Natasha Byrnes had always thought about an aviation career, but it wasn’t until a Google search led her to Aerocare in late 2014 that things kicked off. “I had been working in an office after completing a traineeship, but my thoughts of working in aviation were always there,” she says. “I applied and within a week was on my way.”
Natasha says her eight years in the fast food industry prepared her well for the role with Aerocare. “It really taught me about customer service and dealing with challenging situations, which are, unfortunately, inevitable,” she says. “The most important thing is having a can-do attitude and genuinely trying your hardest to be helpful and exceed expectations.”
Natasha is now trained to represent Aerocare’s full customer base at Sydney International Airport, meaning a level of variety she really enjoys. “I really like what I do,” she says. “If I’ve had a hard day, when I reflect on it, I always come back to thinking ‘actually, I love my job’.”
Natasha counts her recent promotion to supervisor as one of her biggest achievements. “When I first started, the supervisors really took me under their wings and I have learnt from their leadership skills,” she said. “Being a supervisor is a much bigger role and I’m really enjoying it.”
Natasha’s favourite movies are anything starring Channing Tatum!
After ten years working as a concreter, Aerocare gave Geoff Kitchen the change he was looking for. And what a change it was! Shortly after joining, Geoff was promoted to a supervisor position and on his way to a rewarding new career.
Fast forward three years and now Geoff has a planning-focused supervisory role with Aerocare’s QantasLink operation at Brisbane Airport.
When asked for his most exciting moment with Aerocare, Geoff says that the job itself is pretty exciting. “How many people can say that they go to work and push back an aircraft?”.
Geoff says being alert and aware of the environment is critical to working on the ramp with Aerocare as it’s very much a front-line role. “We also need people to be keen to put their hands up and help with anything – handling, baggage, load, freight, cleaning, whatever – it’s a team effort.”
“For me in a supervisor’s role, the most important thing I need is people skills. I need to be able to adapt and know how to talk to people and get along well with them so we can get the job done as a team.”
Geoff’s favourite movie is the Bourne Ultimatum.
Manager Ramp Services
Tim Kealley joined Aerocare with a sense that the company was going places. “I could see that Glenn [Aerocare CEO Glenn Rutherford] had a clear vision for the future and that their innovative approaches would see the business thrive.”
Six years on and it’s not just Aerocare that has grown immensely. Tim says his professional development and learning opportunities have been incredible. “In six years at Aerocare I’ve been given the opportunity and support needed to learn and develop my skills in so many areas of our business, and the aviation industry as a whole”.
“As managers, we get the autonomy we need to run our operation, and with this comes a big sense of responsibility and accountability. I appreciate having access to the support of Aerocare’s executive team who I think include some of the best minds in the industry.” Tim says.
Tim says he has made a lifestyle choice to continue living on the Gold Coast, and values the friendships he has made along the way. “Working in an operational role can be intense, but together we celebrate the greatest of times and support each other through the more challenging times,” he says.
When Tim’s looking for new team members, he’s on the lookout for people with a positive attitude. “The ramp operation can be severely affected by morale, so the best people are those with a positive outlook, are resilient and will work well in a team,” he says.
Away from work you’ll find Tim clearing his head with a surf at his local break, or with his head buried in the books as he completes a business degree with Southern Cross University.