Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Power of a Volunteer

A passion to be truly connected to the world is what fuels my love for aviation. I see the same passion for aviation in the volunteers that put their time and effort into working at your Long Beach Airport (LGB). LGB has had a volunteer program for more than 30 years. Our Ambassadors assist travelers with many different kinds of problems ranging from lost children and wallets, to locating airlines and other airport services. Our Tour Guides aid in educating the public including grade school kids, about airport operations, our specialized Fire Department, and LGB’s rich history. Meanwhile, our Archivists work diligently at preserving and collecting memorabilia from our past. These are only a few of the honorable services that our volunteers have committed to during their time here. Currently more than 20 volunteers regularly work at the airport serving our customers. Training is provided on-the-job by an experienced volunteer. Trainees find that there are many questions they can answer for customers almost immediately. It takes a few weeks to master all the information and, after the training is complete, there is always new information to add. Like most working and moving airports, there are constant changes at LGB keeping the volunteer experience always exciting. Our group of volunteers are vibrant professionals who provide a great support network to your airport.

Volunteering at LGB is a very rewarding experience. Every day presents the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds, as well as other volunteers. Many of the volunteers have been with the airport for more than 10 years. The ages of our volunteers range from 30 to 90 bringing a variety of experiences to our team.

Jane Kelly has been volunteering with LGB for twelve years. She started out with the airport as a Tour Guide and later turned to the Ambassador position.

“I really like being outside and being with people,” said Kelly. “You can make anybody happy with a smile.”

Always bright and cheerful, Kelly is a great example of the type of person who volunteers at LGB. We are very thankful to have such dedicated and enthusiastic individuals representing the airport.

Kelly’s reward for volunteering is one shared by others. Philanthropist, Gayla LeMaire elaborates, “Volunteers are paid in six figures… S-M-I-L-E-S.”

The Tour Guides, Ambassadors and Archivists have been an important face of the city of Long Beach, helping to build a bridge between Airport Staff and the community we serve. Each volunteer works tremendously hard to make travelers and guests to LGB feel welcome and for that I am deeply grateful.

Parking is provided for, and all volunteers must pass a background check. Volunteers who speak a second or third language are highly sought after as the program also provides assistance to greet and direct travelers at the Airport.

Do you like to people watch? Do like history, aviation, and to help people? If you are interested in serving the airport we are accepting applications through the Public Affairs Office or check out our website at www.LGB.org for more information.

(Mario Rodriguez is Director of Long Beach Airport. He has 25 years of experience in the aviation industry and has overseen airports from Kuwait to New Orleans. Questions about this column may be directed to Public Affairs at the Long Beach Airport 562-570-2678.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dreamliner 787 Touches Down at LGB

Long Beach Airport is one of the many stops in March during Boeing's "787 Dream Tour" - a global expedition to show off its next-generation commercial aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner.

The 787 touched down quietly at 10 this morning. But the action starts tomorrow when Boeing partners and the media are invited to view the 787 up close. The jet holds up to 250 passengers and has a flight range of up to 8,200 nautical miles. Passengers can expect larger windows, six-stage atmospheric lighting, larger bins for luggage storage and more sophisticated air filtration.

After Long Beach, the jet will visit Salt Lake City befire heading to South America.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Airports Now the Largest Employers in the US Behind Wal-Mart

America’s commercial airports generate 10.5 million jobs and $1.2 million in total economic impact, according to a new study released by the Airports Council International-North America. That amounts to 1.4 million jobs in California. The report shows that US airports are collectively the nation's second largest employer after Wal-Mart. 

More than 13 thousand employees work on Long Beach Airport (LGB) property alone, including restaurants, airport administration, retail, manufacturers, airlines, lodging and hotels.

It’s no wonder. Working in the travel and tourism industry can be exciting, since you have the opportunity to meet different people from various places every day. Those who work in an airport often receive benefits, such as travel incentives and discounts, and it suits the avid traveler to work with those who love travel as well.

Jace Hieda, Jet Blue Marketing Manager says, “The airports are a place where people come together to start or end an adventure and I enjoy being a part of it. Also, travel has been made more accessible over the past 30-40 years [to everyone] and is such an integral part of our life. It’s thrilling to be a part of everyone’s journey.”

There are various occupations that you can be involved in: such as security personnel through the Transportation Security Authority (TSA); being part of the airplane crew such as a pilot or flight attendant; parking attendants; managerial positions and airports like LGB often depend on volunteers.

[Photography by Long Beach Business Journal's Thomas McConville]

Thursday, March 1, 2012

LGB A Cog In This Working Community

by Mario Rodriguez                              

If you live or work in Long Beach, chances are you are very familiar with your airport. You have witnessed planes flying in and out and you probably know someone who works here. You have traveled through it and you are aware that your airport is one of the most stress-free and convenient airports in the nation. But did you know your airport plays a vital part  in this eclectic community’s economy and how its connected to other communities.  In general, airports are uniquely positioned to do something that no other transportation system does which is to connect local residents and local businesses to the rest of the world. Therefore, we as a community are also connected.

A vibrant and efficient airport is essential when trying to attract new business, conventions, and tourists to the community thereby, creating jobs and industry. Your Long Beach Airport drives an economic engine worth $4 billion dollars and 16,000 direct and indirect jobs. Commercial airports in the United States generate billions of dollars in economic activity and support millions of stable, good-paying jobs while moving 1.5 billion passengers per year. This is all accomplished without taxpayer funding.

In a time when communities are challenged to do more with less, your Long Beach Airport is forging ahead to do everything possible to provide the highest level of service and value to our residents and businesses. If I were to sum up the rest of the message right now, I would say that the state of the Long Beach Airport is quite sound. As such, all revenue is maintained to support the airport making customer service, safety and efficiency our highest priority. All of this, and still LGB is able to maintain the second lowest airfare in the country. What a deal!

The city of Long Beach has a well established service and manufacturing sector. With so much emphasis being placed on just-in-time manufacturing and deliveries and some professionals needing to jump on planes almost daily, airports such as LGB are crucial to helping local businesses do business. A successful airport with flights for both passenger and cargo is needed for this region to remain economically strong. And, if the region is strong, then Long Beach’s local economy will remain strong. In fact, many new businesses that are establishing a presence in the area have chosen Long Beach for its excellent demographics and transportation network.

Our efforts are only one piece of a healthy environment. It also takes you – the private citizen and business. We appreciate your part in helping us to navigate our modernization project with your feedback and also your excitement at the new possibilities. As your airport, we will continue to move forward toward a collaborative future. We will continue to be strong and financially secure. And we will continue to be one of the most convenient and accessible airports in Southern California. All of you, the residents and business owners of Long Beach, have played a key role your airport’s success and continue to be our priority.

(Mario Rodriguez is Director of Long Beach Airport. He has 25 years of experience in the aviation industry and has overseen airports from Kuwait to New Orleans. Questions about this column may be directed to Public Affairs at the Long Beach Airport 562-570-2678.)