WFS Launches New Leadership Academy in North America

May 31, 2024
The course aims to develop operational management skills, create a pathway for career growth and position WFS as an employer-of-choice in the cargo and ground handling markets.

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), a member of the SATS Group, has launched a new Leadership Academy for staff in stations in North America in collaboration with Abilene Christian University (ACU). The course aims to develop operational management skills, create a pathway for career growth by equipping participants with the know-how for bigger responsibilities, and position WFS as an employer-of-choice in the cargo and ground handling markets.

The first 28 participants of the Leadership Academy, who are a blend of existing WFS team members and recent recruits, are part of a 15-week leadership training program in the first two host cities in WFS’ North American network, Dallas Fort Worth and Los Angeles. They will complete the program’s custom-made curriculum, including a 7-week core academic program and 7 weeks of on-the-job training at WFS stations in the two cities. The course will include modules with online course work.

Senior WFS leaders from each functional area of the business will be invited as guest lecturers for presentations  in class or virtually as part of their support of the program. The functional areas include operational aspects such as Cargo, Express, Ground, and Safety and Security, as well as corporate aspects like Continuous Improvement, Finance, Human Capital, and Project Management. Guest speakers from key WFS customers will also be invited to share their experience with course participants to give them a broader appreciation of the air logistics industry.

The complete course consists of 19 modules, including managing and leading, organisational culture, social awareness and empathy, coaching and feedback, goals, resilience and well-being, and self-leadership.

Recruiting top talent and investing in the professional growth and acceleration of current employees is a priority for WFS, says Mike Simpson, CEO Americas. “This is an exciting time to be part of the WFS family. We want to make sure we are providing our people with a great place to work and an environment where they can use their capabilities, learn new skills, and nurture their careers. This is about being purposeful with leadership development and ensuring our senior and middle managers across North America are equipped to support our people and customers, taking full advantage of opportunities, and effectively managing challenges when they arise. We are investing in our emerging leaders because we believe effective leadership creates a work environment where people want to stay with WFS and grow with us. Having seen ACU’s successes with other major organisations across many industries, we look forward to the business and personal benefits our new Leadership Academy is going to deliver,” he added.

Upon successful completion of the program, certification for each participant will include a Manager-on-Duty Leadership Academy Credly Badge as well as up to 9 hours of college credit in Leadership, Management, and Communications.

“We are thrilled to partner with Worldwide Flight Services on the launch of the ‘WFS Leadership Academy Powered by ACU.’ This innovative program exemplifies our commitment to empowering organisations and their employees with transformative learning experiences,” said Dr. Brenda McAdoo, executive director of executive education and professional advancement at ACU, which is located in Abilene, Texas. “By providing custom-built academic credit-bearing courses focused on essential management principles, decision-making, leadership, ethics, and emotional intelligence, we are equipping WFS managers with the tools they need to succeed in today’s dynamic business environment and become standout leaders in the organisation. Together, we are shaping the future of leadership and professional development, driving positive change within WFS and beyond.”

Garret Pustay, manager, passenger services for WFS in Austin, Texas, is one of the operations leaders selected to join the Leadership Academy’s pioneer batch. He said: “I’ve been in customer service for 14 years, all within the aviation and airline business and this is the first time, even in my previous leadership positions, that I feel that the company has invested in me, invested in my capabilities. This program really says a lot about the company and its vision.”

The Leadership Academy will become an annual WFS training program with fresh recruits and employees selected from the company’s network of 85 North American stations in key cities in Canada and the United States. The program forms part of the company’s ongoing efforts to recruit, retain and retrain WFS employees by developing them to their fullest potential.