Ryan Gibson stepped into the aviation business in 1998 as a senior commodity manger at American Airlines. In 2002, he moved into a position with AeroVironment, a company specializing in fast-charging technology for electric vehicles. Gibson currently holds the title of GSE general manager at AeroVironment. In addition to his responsibilities with the company, Gibson regularly speaks at industry functions to explain the benefits of turning to electric GSE. Introducing Gibson at the reception, Debra Guinand says, “He has assisted in electrification of many airports, not only in the United States, but abroad.”
Accepting the award, Gibson says, “I just want to thank all of the users that buy the equipment. They’re the ones that do the most for the environment; I just facilitate it.”
Team Leader of the Year: similar to the original Leader of the Year Award, this title is for an individual who has taken a leadership role with personnel
Larry Laney, director of GSE, Southwest Airlines
Larry Laney is a two-time recipient of the Team Leader of the Year award. Laney began his career in 1987 with Southwest where he has been instrumental in developing maintenance programs and guiding his team through fleet requirements. Rick Agnor, manager GSE eastern region at Southwest, introduced Laney at the reception, saying he deserves the award for his dedication to his position. “They say fortune favors the brave and it indeed takes a lot for GSE leaders to perform in these tough times,” he says. “Many of us can lead but hopefully the exhibition of talent we saw this year might inspire our hidden talents to come forward. One person stood out because of his sheer determination, talent and energy in his GSE leadership performance.”
Laney accepted the award on behalf of the entire GSE team at Southwest. “I’m going to take credit for one thing, that I’ve done a great job of surrounding myself with talent,” he says. “I’m honored to receive this award for our team — certainly I didn’t do everything — and also for all the GSE mechanics in our system that really get the work done.”
Lifetime Achievement Award: for a person who has demonstrated commitment to the industry through a lifetime of dedicated service
Patrick O’Brien, president and CEO, MCM Engineering Inc.
Patrick O’Brien has been in GSE for more than 40 years, contributing his talent to 400 Hz applications. According to colleagues, his innovations helped transform the industry from mobile equipment to central system design. He founded MCM Engineering in 1991. Prior to that, O’Brien served as a chief engineer at companies such as Hobart Brother, Devtec (now TLD) and McCormick-Morgan.
Introducing him at the luncheon, colleague Paul Bade reflected on his experience working with O’Brien. “It’s not about putting in a lot of years, it’s about the body of work,” he says. “He’s been an innovator and a creator. I know that he’s made a big difference. Over the years, he’s taught a lot of us to do the right thing and that’s to serve our customers, to look out for quality and don’t let our customers make mistakes.”
Accepting the award, O’Brien offered advice to the crowd, advising them to “strengthen your strengths.” He also indicated that he did not plan to step away from the industry anytime soon. “I’m thinking about retiring in about 20 years,” he says.