An Example of Leadership

The 2009 Ground Support Leaders of the Year awards ceremony recognized six recipients for contributions to the industry.


Just what exactly constitutes a leader is difficult to narrowly define, though a few common characteristics include fortitude, ceativity and expertise.

The following individuals and companies were recognized for exemplary leadership. The nominations were submitted by members of the industry, and then sent to our 16-member editorial advisory board for final vote. And this year’s recipients are ...

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
Joseph Fuqua, general manager of ground support equipment, Delta Air Lines Inc.

Joseph Fuqua began his career in the ground support industry in the United States Marine Corps. In 1979, he went into commercial aviation with Delta Air Lines as a mechanic. Over the past 30 years, Fuqua has held several positions at the airline as an engineer, supervisor and system manager.

Recently, Fuqua was promoted to general manager of ground support equipment for the merged Delta/Northwest airline. In the position he has taken responsibility for the daily activities and long-term planning of the GSE maintenance and the system stationary maintenance teams. He has also overseen the GSE engineering, technical publications, asset group, maintenance planning group, training, material planning and ULD teams, while overseeing capital, operating and technological budget planning and adherence.

According to Gil West, senior vice president of customer service at Delta, Fuqua’s history as a Marine has been beneficial in his leadership role. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” West says. “In Joe’s case, it’s certainly true. I think that background has given him the skills he needs to be able to manage through a merger integration, so that comes in handy.”

“This is not an individual award,” Fuqua says. “It’s for a team and the Delta Airlines team, as far as I’m concerned, is the best. They have supported the entire airline, they have supported each other, and they have supported me. We’ve learned from each other, we will continue to learn from each other and continue to grow.”

Fuqua holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from Columbia Southern University and undergraduate degrees in electronics and business administration. Fuqua serves as an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aviation Ground Equipment (AGE) committee, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) and is co-authoring the Standard for Self-Propelled Elevating Work Platforms ANSI A92.7 document.

Safety Leader of the Year Award
for a person or company that has introduced a new method, procedure or product to improve industry safety records.
JLG Industries

The concept behind the aerial work platforms of JLG Industries Inc. began in 1969 when John L. Grove recognized a special need for a piece of equipment that could safely accommodate personnel in performing overhead work.

A year later the company’s first aerial work platform was built with many of the basic design elements that are still incorporated in its products today.

Exemplifying a commitment to increased safety in the industry, the company manufactured the Model 740AJ Fall Arrest articulated boom lift. It features a platform with a moveable lanyard attachment point that allows the worker to safely leave the platform and move 270 degrees without the need to reattach the lanyard to another anchor point.

The model complies with OSHA 1926.502 regulations for fall protection and CAL/OSHA article 6, appendix C specification. The entire boom lift was also redesigned with added counterweight and puncture-proof foam tires that meet industry jet blast standards and provide additional safety for working around aircraft.

Kaizen Leader of the Year Award
Japanese for continuous incremental improvement, this award is for a person or company that has implemented a new business philosophy about workplace practices, focusing on efficiency and improvement in productivity, performance or processes
William Bohnett, manager, GSE, Allegiant Air

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