When Andie Louie spoke with one of TNDC’s Airport Managers at the Tahltan Job Fair last spring, during her last year of high school, she knew her first job after graduation would be with TNDC’s Airport Services team. Fast forward to this past summer and that vision became reality.
Now several months into her role as Ground & Terminal Service Representative at the Dease Lake Airport (CYDL), Andie is loving her new position providing customer service, handling baggage, and cleaning the terminal.
Her first weeks on the job were filled with on-the-job training, mostly delivered by her fellow Tahltan co-workers. Training has included Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG), customer check in, baggage handling and heavy equipment operation. Central Mountain Air also provided training on how to handle their aircraft.
“There is a lot to learn about safety and processes, as well as important life lessons. It’s a different kind of schooling! I am really enjoying it, seeing the passengers happy. I also love the crew I work with. They are amazing and supportive, helping me learn everything about the position. I am just starting out in my working career and want to gather as much knowledge and experience as I am offered in the aviation industry,” Andie says.
There is a lot more learning to come. As the contract airport operator of CYDL, TNDC is one of only a few Indigenous organizations to manage an airport in British Columbia. TNDC Airport Services is responsible for inspections, maintenance and ongoing operations of the airport, including snow and brush clearing, runway friction tests, runway sweeping, grounds maintenance, passenger and ground handling, de-icing of aircraft, and fuel operations.
TNDC Airport Services has created eight local jobs for Tahltans and has been working with Executive Flight Centre (EFC) in training our local team members in the disciplines of daily airport operations and ground support, including fuelling aircraft of all types.
Tony Kormendy is one of TNDC’s Airport Managers who works with EFC. A commercial helicopter pilot, he transitioned into general aviation 15 years ago, running fixed-base operations and airport management. The list of urban and remote airports he has worked on is lengthy, and includes Calgary, Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, Kamloops and Baffin Island.
Tony is impressed by Andie’s enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and sees her potential to grow her aviation career with TNDC Airport Services.
“Andie has been enjoying all aspects of this industry. Being close to airplanes and helicopters has been a great introduction to this industry. With fresh eyes in our operation, it also gives different perspective to all team members. It is humbling for me to teach the local workforce how to run their own airport. I look forward to watching them grow this airport for future generations,” Tony says.