Leaders of the Year 2010

April 22, 2010
The 2010 Ground Support Leaders of the Year awards ceremony at Aviation Industry Expo recognized six recipients for contributions to the industry.

The industry gathered another year to recognize contributions to the industry. The following individuals and companies were nominated by members of the industry, and the nominations were voted upon by the magazine’s editorial advisory board.

The following recipients were introduced during a reception in Las Vegas during Aviation Industry Expo.

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

Joe Daniels, East Bay Automotive Supervisor, UPS

Joe Daniels began his career at UPS more than 20 years ago, starting as an east bay GSE mechanic. He advanced to supervisor before becoming a Sac Valley automotive supervisor. His current assignment is automotive supervisory for the Mather Gateway Valley Division. In his work, he has become an industry leader through aiding manufacturers and equipment owners with troubleshooting and technical advice. He is described by colleagues as hard working with a can-do-it attitude. Among his many accomplishments is a GSE fleet that has logged 71,033 hours in two years with only one minor break down, and reduced maintenance costs of more than $20,000 in 2009 versus 2008 with increased hours in 2009.

“He is an industry leader,” said Terry Larson, area automotive manager at UPS, introducing Joe at the reception. “Everyone does tap into Joe.”

“I appreciate this award, but without my bosses giving me the authority to run the gateways the way I know them and the way I was trained … I wouldn’t be able to get awards like this,” said Daniels, accepting the award.

Safety Leader of the Year: For a person or company who has introduced a new method, procedure or product to improve industry safety records

Shawn Mack, director of training, Banyan Air Service

Shawn’s aviation career began in 1993 at World Jet at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Joining the Banyan team in 1996 as a line technician, he was promoted in 2000 to supervisor of line service with eight people reporting to him on mid-shift.

Currently, he is Banyan’s director of training and the liaison to the airport administrator regarding operations and certifications. His responsibilities include training new teammates and recurrent training for existing teammates, while working alongside them.

He is responsible for ensuring that all 34 line service technicians are AOA certified, meaning they can conduct movements on the airport operations area and assist at customs.

Shawn is also part of the Banyan Training Rodeo team and contributes by developing questions for this refresher course, which consists of eight different stations related to line service activities, such as towing, fueling and customer service.

Shawn has been safety certified with NATA and as a NATA Certified Trainer. This is the second time Shawn has received the Safety Leader of the Year award. He was selected in 2008 for refining Banyan’s spotting procedures and this year for developing the lightning hold procedures.

“Better than the recognition is the chance for me to give ideas that could potentially save somebody’s life,” said Shawn, accepting the award. “After nearly being struck by lightning myself, the need for standardized procedures, as far as lightning hold procedures, was evident.”

Kaizen Leader of the Year: Japanese for continuous and incremental improvement, this award is for a person or company who has implemented a new business philosophy about business work place practices focusing on efficiency and improvement in productivity, performance or processes

Sean Hopkins, vice president, supply management, Allegiant Air

Upon graduation from high school, Sean Hopkins joined the Marines where he first began working around ground equipment. After completion of college, he did a brief stint in banking before deciding to enter into the aerospace industry. He found he had a talent for the airline business and throughout the years worked closely with those who would create Allegiant Air. He is currently vice president over several departments in Allegiant. In the last two years Sean helped change Allegiant’s philosophy on the acquisition, use and maintenance of its GSE.

“Sean believes that purchasing quality ground equipment is just like purchasing quality aircraft and it can be justified and save Allegiant big dollars otherwise spent in expensive repairs and downtime,” said William Bohnett, GSE manager at Allegiant Air, while introducing Sean. “He requests that the industry’s top providers come to us and prove their worth, because we’re spending the investor’s money and we want to get the most bang for our buck.”

“Over the past year, my greatest pleasure and success has been in ground support equipment,” said Sean Hopkins, accepting the award.

Engineer/Innovator Leader of the Year: For a company or a person who has introduced a revolutionary product

I.D. Systems

I.D. Systems is a publicly traded company, co-founded by Kenneth Ehrman at Stanford University in 1993. The company has pioneered the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology for wireless vehicle tracking and fleet management.

The initial success of I.D. Systems’ emerging technology came in 1995. They developed and implemented a tracking system for the United States Postal Service. By 1997, a demonstrated market need for fleet management and utilization led the company to develop a unique, patented technology — vehicle management systems. To date, I.D. Systems has been awarded nine patents as well as an additional 21 pending for technologies adaptable to any industry, vehicle type and infrastructure. This system was designed to boost fleet and operator productivity, establish total visibility of vehicles, improve safety and security, and reduce maintenance and other operating costs.

Green Leader of the Year: For a person or a company who has introduced environmentally friendly equipment or processes

Neil Bennett, president, eTug LLC

Neil Bennett has accrued many years in the airline industry, beginning to work on the ramp at age 16 with his father. “Being on the ramp every day provided an extensive working knowledge of all ground support equipment,” he says.

At age 18, he moved to Los Angeles where he began to work for Mercury Air Group, a large ground handling company in the US. He worked as a ramp agent, ramp supervisor and ramp manager. He then went on to join Mercury GSE for 12 years as a GSE sales agent, GSE rental manger, director of GSE and vice president sales.

In 1998, he formed Compass GSE to sell and market new and used GSE worldwide.

Prompted by a movement to “go green,” he designed and developed the “eTug” electric baggage tractor, which uses a standard 110 volt outlet for charging.

The first sales of the eTug took place in 2007. He has gone on to create the eCart — a battery baggage cart designed to provide power to the eTug for uninterrupted operation. In addition, he continues to develop the company’s line of green GSE products, including the new eTug Lite.
“I believe the planet is experiencing some sort of global warming. I’m not sure if it’s a natural cycle of the planet or if it’s created by us,” Bennett said, accepting the award. “However, this industry is contributing to the problem and I think that’s something we all need to look at and make a change.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: For a person who has demonstrated commitment to the industry through a lifetime of dedicated service

Louis Lombardi, president, Aviation Systems

Louis Lombardi’s career in the ground support industry has spanned more than 40 years. Beginning his career in GSE with McCormick-Morgan Inc., he engineered and selected battery systems for motive power, such as electric forklifts and locomotives, communications (microwave repeater stations) and utility power for nuclear and non-nuclear power plants. He was the executive vice president, member of the board of directors and a minority stockholder of McCormick-Morgan for 29 years. He then went on to found Aviation Systems.

Lou has made extensive contributions to 400hz and 28vdc GSE and systems since 1962. He was involved in the first applications of 400hz in central systems in 1975 and has been a pioneer in many of the 400hz distribution methods in use today.

He has participated in the type testing of several generations of solid state frequency converters and was one of the first to design and procure the necessary equipment for the first 400Hz, 575V distribution systems utilizing paralleling motor generator sets. He has designed and built central 400Hz systems where the power was distributed at 115/200V, 575V and 4160Volts.
In 1980 Lou was selected by the Air Transport Association to write a handbook for 400Hz distribution, which was to be the guide for the engineering community. The guide, titled “400Hz Fixed Power Systems Design Guidebook,” is still used today.

Lou was also involved in the first central pneumatic systems used for engine starting and air cycle machine operation at a commercial airport in the U.S. He was also instrumental in the design and testing of the first central preconditioned air systems using central chillers producing a mixture of ethylene glycol and water (EG/W) at 20°F. This medium was then distributed by an insulated steel pipeline to each aircraft position where the EG/W solution was introduced to an air handler with two large coils that allowed for 100 percent outside air to be cooled to sub-freezing air that was then introduced into the aircraft. The airflows and pressure were unique in that they required 22” total water gauge at 250 pounds by weight of air to be delivered into the aircraft preconditioned port.

In the late 90s and early 2000, Lou was the engineer of record for the new international terminal complex at San Francisco International Airport. His responsibility was for the 400hz central systems, precondition air, potable water and aircraft docking systems, as well as the passenger loading bridges. The two terminals A and G were for 25 gates of predominantly jumbo aircraft, B747-400, B-777, & A340.

He was a member of the Society of Automotive engineers, Aerospace Group, for more than 30 years and was past chairman of AGE-2 and AGE-2C. He was involved in the taskforce that identified and implemented the changes to the aircraft required to make the No Break Power Transfer (NBPT), (first used on the B-747-400) operate properly with 400Hz ground power equipment.

He has received many accolades for his work, including Society of Automotive Engineers Award of Distinction for AGE-2C Committee.

“Those that know Lou know this is only part of the reason why he is getting the award,” said Brian Piety, introducing Lou at the reception. “Lou has touched many people’s lives, my own included; he has been a mentor of mine. He has touched many people, he has educated people, he is a gentleman, he is honest and that is what has made him the man that he is over the course of his career … he has gained the recognition and admiration of everybody that has dealt with him.”

“When I started, airplanes had propellers,” said Lou Lombardi, accepting the award. “I’ve watched the whole iteration of airplanes come through from the first jets, the DC-8s and the 707s … up now to the 787 and A380, and all the things that have been thrown at us in that regard from ground equipment.”

To view the awards reception, please visit www.groundsupportworldwide.com/video