Passport to airport career advancement: An interview with Glynys Jones

Guest Author by Guest Author | Jul 9, 2020

The global aviation industry has come together to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. One of the strengths of the industry is how knowledge, experience, and expertise is shared between airports during times of crisis. As the first worldwide association to represent the common interests of airports and foster cooperation with partners throughout the air transport industry, ACI World prides itself in providing such opportunities to its members.

The Secondee Programme offers a unique opportunity to work in a global environment while developing one’s reach within the industry. Past secondees have gone on to posts of increased responsibility in their respective organizations after their tenure with ACI as a result of their rich professional experiences and international exposure. ACI Insights has taken the opportunity to interview past and present secondees about their experiences, highlighting milestones they were able to achieve:

What made you choose aviation for your career?

During my University years, I was part of the Co-operative (Co-op) Education Program at University of Waterloo.  Two out of my five co-op terms were at Toronto Pearson Airport; one for my environment program and the other for my geography program.  I enjoyed working at an airport immensely as it allows you to gain experience in many different environmental areas: water quality, air quality, noise, contaminated grounds, ISO 14001, PCBs, asbestos in buildings, green energy design, sustainability, CSR, etc.  After I completed my degree, the Airport contacted me and offered me a short-term placement.  I accepted the 4-month assignment and was kept on, moving from Environment to De-icing Operations to Airport Projects and then to Operations/Maintenance during my career. Working at a large airport allows you the opportunity to branch out and move into many different areas or you can dig deep and specialize in a particular area.    

I’m celebrating 20 years in Aviation this year!

Tell us about your career and experience so far?

My career has moved and evolved in ways I never would have imagined when I was starting out. I started working in Environment and enjoyed working in the field doing water sampling and air quality data collection.  Later, I became very involved in ISO 14001 auditing, eventually obtaining an Environmental Management Systems Lead Auditor designation.  While in Environment, our neighbours down the hallway, De-icing Operations, were having challenges with glycol from aircraft de-icing fluids getting out from the facility into the stormwater. I was hired to help contain any fugitive glycols.  I never would have imagined a job in de-icing operations and I had to work hard to learn the operation, as well as many different aircraft types, driving on the aprons, runways and taxiways (D AVOP) and radiotelephone operator certificate to talk to the tower.  Once my project was completed, and all the glycol from the facility was contained, I stayed on in aircraft de-icing and delved more into airport operations (supporting the team through 12 winter seasons of snow storms) and becoming more involved in project management. 

Alongside supporting de-icing operations, I worked in numerous projects such as stormwater diversion, glycol recycling, IT and operational improvements, etc.    I discovered I had a passion for working in projects, so I went to school after work to obtain a Certificate of Project Management from the University of Toronto.  In 2011, I moved into Operations Maintenance, still staying with snow but on the ground rather than on an aircraft.  I did 5-years of ground snow operations as well as contract management, overseeing staff, hardstand bussing operations, IRROPs, etc.    

In 2018, the ACI World secondee opportunity became available and I jumped at the chance to try a new role.

How did you find out about the programme at ACI World?

I was aware of the secondment program from a colleague at the GTAA, Jeff Barrow, who was doing a secondment for the security division.  A few months later, my Director told me about a secondment opportunity for environment.  At a meeting with the Vice President he mentioned that a secondment opportunity was available at ACI and asked if the directors could recommend anyone for the role.  Three directors gave my name so they approached me about the job.  I was very flattered to be considered.

What were you hoping to get out of the programme?

Having moved more into operations over the last few years, I was looking forward to getting back to my environmental roots and updating myself on the international airport environmental industry.   I was excited to meet new people at ACI World and my peers at other airports.  The networking is incredible at ACI and you gain contacts in your industry throughout the world.  Of course, I was also looking forward to travelling around the world, seeing other airports and attending conferences with colleagues in my field.

What was your role and what were your responsibilities as an ACI secondee?

I was seconded to support the APEX in Environment programme development.  I participate in APEX in Environment pilots at airports requesting a review.  I also chair an international Task Force of environmental professionals and together we review and make decisions on the programme scope and boundaries.  We review feedback from Pilot APEXs and revise the programme accordingly.  

In 2019, I reviewed all 2018 reviews and feedback, closed APEX reports, finalized the program scope and boundaries, conducted the Geneva APEX in Environment Pilot and documented and finalized the majority of the programme documentation. Looking ahead to 2020, we will conduct another one or two APEX Pilots as well as market the program at conferences and workshops working towards a successful launch of the program.

Geneva Airport, June 2019
Geneva Airport, June 2019

What skills and new experiences did the programme provide you with?

Working with Juliana Scavuzzi and her team has been wonderful and their scope of work is vast, covering noise concerns, wildlife trafficking, long-term carbon reduction goals, supersonic aircraft impacts, carbon credits, and sustainable aviation fuels – just to name a few! It has been a great experience learning about these exciting areas and the complexity of international environmental policy.  Working with Danny Boutin and the APEX Programme team is incredible as it allows the opportunity to travel to different Airports around the world and lets you experience how other airports do environmental work. One of the benefits of being an APEX in Environment assessor is that we can learn from the experiences of other airports.  Chances are if an airport is having a particular challenge, someone in the team has likely had that same challenge and may even have a potential solution.  You can share your solutions with them, while taking back their great ideas to your airport. Its all in the spirit of sharing and airport improvement!

Working with the Task Force has allowed me to grow skills in consensus building, communication, listening, achieving alignment, and stakeholder buy in.  These are useful soft skills which can be used in future roles.

What were your achievements during your secondment at ACI?

  • Working with the Task Force to develop the programme to where it is today.  Defining the scope, number of assessors, and developing the programme documentation.
  • Conducting my first APEX in Environment at Geneva Airport and working with an excellent team of Airport professionals – this was where I first saw the magic happen!
  • Presenting about APEX at the WEnSC in Lima and California and meeting other environmental professionals from around the world.

When did you begin and end your secondment with ACI?

I began my secondment on January 7, 2019 and it will conclude on June 30, 2020.  It was a 1 year assignment, which was extended to 18 months.

Were there any opportunities that resulted from participating in the programme?

I am still in the programme until end of June.  The opportunity to learn about airport environmental issues at an international level has been exceptional. 

Also, the ability to work with my peers from around the world has been a privilege.

What is your current position?

Manager, Environment APEX at ACI World

What are your future career plans?

I will be reviewing opportunities over the next few months as I will be returning to the GTAA in July 2020.  

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The ACI World Secondee Programme is a valuable tool for many organizations wishing to manage their talent for succession planning over the long term. The career development of employees is an essential business investment and the programme enables ACI to extend employees’ knowledge and skills, contributing to the continued excellence of the industry. Through the programme, ACI World continues to cultivate an environment founded on industry best practices and knowledge sharing.  

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