Ground Support Spotlight: Johnnie Telford

Sept. 21, 2023
Ahead of Girls in Aviation Day, on Sept. 23, Telford shares her experience in the ground support space and offers advice to the next generation of aviation professionals.
RJ Design
Johnnie Telford
Johnnie Telford

Johnnie Telford has always worked for the airlines and airport industry.  She has refurbished passenger loading bridges, and her company RJ Design, LLC has two patents on equipment which improve safety on the airport – the first patent is a Side Shifting Cab and the second is a Conveyor Baggage Chute.

As Women in Aviation International prepares to celebrate Girls in Aviation Day, Sept. 23, 2023, Telford spoke with Ground Support Worldwide to share her experience in the ground support industry and offer advice to the next generation of aviation professionals.

Name: Johnnie Telford

Job Title: Owner/President

Company: RJ Design, LLC

Location: Hammond, LA

Years of experience in ground support industry: Approximately 50 years

Years with current company: 35 years

Ground Support Worldwide: What attracted you to a career in the ground support industry?

Johnnie Telford: I wanted to make it safer to board and off-board the airplane.

GSW: What has kept you engaged in the industry?

JT: The fact that I stand behind my equipment and that my equipment is much safer. I also love traveling.

GSW: What’s the best advice you’ve been given while working in this field?

JT: Always stand with your equipment.

GSW: How have you seen the ground support industry change the most during your career? 

JT: There’s not as much work out there because the airlines are not doing as much business. This could be due to the poor condition the economy is in.

GSW: What would you say to encourage someone, particularly girls and young women, looking to join the ground support industry?  

JT: As a woman in an industry which started with mostly men, I would encourage young girls and women to get out and do what you believe in and what makes you happy. At times you will get frustrated. But if I can do it, so can you. I am happy and enjoy what I do.

GSW: Any additional comments?

JT: I still love what I am doing, I still stand behind the reputation of my equipment.  I am still here for the customer and airport industry.  I believe in making it safer for passengers and ground personnel.