Ryan Hall: 2024 Team Leader of the Year

April 9, 2024
With experience in multiple areas of ground support, the senior manager of national operations at AES is an emphatic leader that empowers his colleagues.

The ability to view situations from multiple points of view is a useful tool for any manager. Ryan Hall has been able to use his experience as both a ground handling agent and a ground support equipment (GSE) technician to grow professionally and help others advance their career.

Hall is the senior manager of national operations at Alvest Equipment Services (AES). Using his knowledge from working in operations and maintenance, he leads a team of six regional technicians, 12 travel techs, two computerized maintenance management system trainers and numerous local technicians.

“Ryan Hall has been the consummate professional and guiding light for AES and the team, as AES becomes a large presence in the GSE maintenance industry,” says Chad Quigley, senior contract service manager at AES.

“With 23-plus years in the industry,” he continues, “his leadership has been second to none.”

In recognition of his own professional accomplishments and his ability to elevate others, Hall has been named Ground Support Worldwide’s 2024 Team Leader of the Year.

Path to GSE 

Hall has been with AES since April 1, 2023. He began his career in aviation at age 19, throwing bags on the ramp. He worked his way up to lead supervisor before moving to the GSE world as a mechanic.

“The cool thing about this business was it gave you an opportunity to learn. It gave you an opportunity to grow. You got to meet so many people that wanted to help you and wanted to teach you the right way,” Hall says. “In this business, there’s no day like yesterday. It’s different every day, and the stuff you learned 20 years ago, you may not use until tomorrow.”

Hall went back to handling, serving as a station manager for 10 years, but was lured back to the GSE side of the business when Delta Global Services (DGS) opened a GSE division.

“So, I jumped over as a regional manager for the southeast region of the company’s GSE Division in 2014,” Hall says.

He stayed with DGS as the company transitioned to Unifi, then he joined AES in his current role in April of last year.

“Right now, we’ve got a team of 12 travel techs that come underneath me. We send these guys all over the world to work,” Hall explains. “I help out with the regional team. We do weekly performance calls; we've got daily deice calls that we do every day.

“Anything in the operations, if there were emergencies – if they need parts … whatever support is needed,” he continues.  “When they need help in other cities, I help there as well.”

AES has a range of customers, assisting with repairs, maintenance, overhaul services and more.

“It's really whoever is in need of GSE maintenance,” Hall says. “If you’ve got GSE, we’re the people that you go to.”

A significant portion of Hall’s role is allocating his team to whichever station is in need. He manages personnel, parts and other details to ensure operations avoid disruption as much as possible. Each business partner AES works with has their own set of key performance indicators (KPIs), so Hall’s focus is split between short-term solutions that keep operations running and long-term solutions that help customers hit the performance metrics they’re aiming for.

Hall credits his team members for ensuring maintenance work is carried out efficiently.

“These guys are the subject matter experts,” Hall says. “Whatever their specialty is, if we get a call, we get them scheduled, we get them on a plane and go.

“It’s really, how can we come in and help?”

Trust and Leadership

Hall is thankful for the tutelage he’s received throughout his career in ground support. Hall recalls receiving a lot of trust from Randy McKinney when he first started out, and learning from Joe Morris in the GSE shop.

“When we were 19, 20, 21 years old, people had the confidence in us to do the job,” Hall says. “We were out running the ramp and running the operation, and you weren’t even old enough to go drink a beer yet.”

Hall’s career has been further supported from mentors like Don Hitchens, Paul Remillard, Kimber McKay, Shawn Griffin and Ray Ames, among others. The lessons Hall has learned from these mentors has helped shape him as a leader.

“We all have expectations, and we all have the goals we need to meet,” Hall says. “But you treat people like you want to be treated. You treat people like human beings. There is life outside of what we do, and you never know what people are dealing with on that side.

“If you have care, if you have compassion, if you have respect and you communicate what those end goals are, 99 times out of 100, you get there,” he continues. “You’re always going to have your challenges. But making sure people are on the same page helps.”

Hall emphasizes the importance of clear communication and transparency to get the most of teammates.

“His leadership style is empathetic and relatable as he has been in the industry on both sides of the ramp,” Quigley says, adding that Hall leads by example utilizing his experience as both a ramp agent and a mechanic.

Jacob Gonzales, northeast regional manager at AES, adds that Hall allows his team members to make their own decisions.

“If we are in the process of making a decision, we can run something by him,” Gonzales says. “But at the end of the day, it’s our decision. It helps us grow.

“He empowers us to make our decisions. He’s always very supportive,” he continues. “There's no other person I’d really want to work for. I've worked with Ryan for so long, and it feels like he's part of our family.”

Challenges vs. Opportunities

Hall’s leadership style allows him and his team to overcome challenges, and there are new challenges every day. But Hall says he views challenges as opportunities to get better and chances to continue his professional education.

“It’s always learning, listening. It’s never being comfortable with what we have because (the industry) is always evolving and changing,” Hall says. “Making sure you’re ahead of that game and making sure you’re available to learn and listen is what’s going to make us better.”

This philosophy has served Hall and his team well with two recent projects.

In late 2023, Hall and his team with AES helped Unifi start a new ground handling operation in Calgary – a contract that required 750 pieces of equipment.

“It’s a team effort, from getting in, to setting up shops, to getting 750 pieces of equipment up there, to getting it ready to go for the operation,” Hall says. “We were up in Canada week after week, getting this set up. It was a whole team effort from an AES perspective, a Unifi perspective. It was a joint effort. It was very collaborative and very rewarding.”

“Everyone did their part, and it went pretty well,” Gonzales adds.

The Calgary operation is an example of what a strong team can do. Hall notes his team is able to achieve great things daily because of that cooperation.

“I can't overstate this, but the team that AES has built – everybody is good at their niche,” Hall says. “Our goal with this is we want to be the world-class, No. 1 organization. Everybody has that shared goal and vision.”

Hall points out the work travel technicians and local techs does specifically. He adds the regional team members are also instrumental to success. All of these people have helped Hall succeed in his own career.

“The whole journey has been unbelievable. The industry has been good to us. It’s been good to our families,” Hall says. “It’s been a good life to live. I’m very grateful to the people who have helped me.”

About the Author

Josh Smith | Editor