Those Who Keep Us Moving: Understanding Daily Operations

A major goal of the Birmingham Airport Authority at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is keeping our passengers happy and safe. One key department that helps with making sure that we upkeep our promise is our Operations department. Our Operations team is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and equipped to help our passengers with various tasks and ensure safety of our airport. Read below to learn more about our Operations center and our team members who are responsible for these tasks.

One main question that is asked is how does someone (other than applying) start their career in Operations? Alexander Prowell talks about his journey of becoming an Operation Specialist II and the work it took to get him there.


Alexander Prowell – Operations Specialist II

Q: Describe the journey it took to get to this position.

Alexander: I began as a taxi starter at the airport and I always wanted to do more. I already had customer service skills and I worked hard, so when the time came, I was promoted. I’ve grown with my coworkers and I’ve enjoyed the 9 years I’ve been here.

Our Operations team handles various tasks from ensuing safety to making sure a passenger’s tire is changed in the parking deck. A job in Operations deals with customer interactions every day. As a team member in this department, there is not a day that is quite like another one. The position is multifaceted and ever-changing. Sylvia and Joe discuss how they became members of the Operations team.


Sylvia McKoy – Parking Administrative Clerk

Q: What led you to choose this career path?

Sylvia: Being open-minded to different career possibilities. I always want to learn. Being open to changes is what led me here


Joe Doane – Operations Specialist II

Q: How did you prepare for this job?

Joe: I actually stumbled into aviation and found a passion for it. I began studying, learning federal regulations, and made a commitment to making sure I do the best job I can. I’ve been in aviation for 10 years now.

Within our Operations team, there are two main job description: landside operations and airside operations. Within our landside operations, specialists are responsible for security patrols around our high traffic areas and main high point areas in the airport to assist passengers and observe and report any emergency situations that occur. Within our airside operations, specialists are responsible for manning the Operations center to ensure safety and security of the airport, conducting airfield inspections to ensure safety of our passengers, and confirming that our airport is operating within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

As you can see, Operations is a very important role to us at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. There are many skills that a person must embody to be successful here. Earnest and Matthew tell us a few skills that they feel someone should possess to be a part of Operations.


Earnest Perry – Operations Specialist II

Q: What are the most important skills to have to be successful in your career?

Earnest: Knowledge of your job, people skills, customer service, and not being afraid to assume responsibility. Being a team player and always remembering that we’re representatives of the airport, at all times. That is the most important thing.


Matthew Nelson- Lead Operations Supervisor

Q: What are the most important skills to have to be successful in your career?

Matthew: Being motivated to strive for greatness. You have to be comfortable maintaining rules and regulations for the safety of passengers. When you have those traits and skills, you can provide security for those traveling through BHM.

Operations is not always the easiest job but there are perks. At the end of the day, our team members feel valued and know their job is important to the passengers they serve each and every day. Sophia, Micah, William, and Anita tell us what motivates them in their job.


Sophia Starks – Operations Specialist I

Q: What motivates you?

Sophia: Knowing that I am a part of a team. That makes it easier when you know you have back up and you always have people to depend on.


Micah Garner – Operations Specialist II

Q: What motivates you?

Micah: I loved aviation as a kid and going to the airport seeing planes take off and land. I’m proud of what I do and I’m happy to be at work.


William Woolen – Operations Specialist II

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

William: What motivates me is getting to help people traveling through our airport. Making passengers process easier is my duty.


Anita Morris – Parking Operations Supervisor 

Q: What motivates you?

Anita: I am self-motivated. I really like coming to work and sharing information with others and making their jobs just as smooth as mine.


Cameron Thompson – Vice President Of Operations

Q: What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?

Cameron: Dependability. The ability to be called upon for your actions and responsibilities, by your team and the public, during challenging times motivates individuals in our profession to output ideas and effort that are sometimes unorthodox. These individuals trusting your decision-making and ambitions to thread through such times motivates you to maximize your efforts and results in dependability.

Operations is a full-time department that dedicates their talent and skills to make sure our passengers are safe and secure. Robert, Mark, and Carlos express words of wisdom to anyone seeking to start their career in Operations.


Robert Griffin – Shuttle Driver

Q: What advice would you give to someone pursuing the field you are in?

Robert: Be open-minded. You have to be willing to learn and follow directions.


Mark Plaza – Operations Specialist II

Q: What advice you would you give to someone interested in your field?

Mark: Take it serious. There’s a lot to learn in this field. Knowing that what we’re doing keeps passengers and employees safe is important and we pay close attention to that.


Carlos Young – Operations Specialist I

Q: What advice would you give to anyone seeking to be in this career field?

Carlos: Learn as much as you can. There’s a lot to study and lot of room to grow. Being able to help people is what keeps me motivated, so if that motivates you too, you’ll succeed in this field.

We thank our Operations team for their dedication to their craft and their job!

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