Employees Share Exciting Sky Harbor Memories
As we celebrated Sky Harbor’s 75th Anniversary, we featured several articles highlighting the Airport’s history and employees’ commitment to service and each other. In this installment, hear from employees about the many exciting things that they have seen and experienced at Sky Harbor over the years.
Each day at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is different. Approximately 100,000 travelers come through every day and no two experiences are alike. That’s what makes working at Sky Harbor interesting and sometimes even exciting.
Assistant Aviation Director Carl Newman, who has worked at Sky Harbor for 30 years, says that being a partner with the community and celebrating the Airport’s successes has been fun. Indeed, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport does partner with community organizations and has hosted emotional military homecomings, Cardinals’ Rallies, Phoenix Mercury Events and many other celebrations.
“What I most enjoy is the energy and character of the place,” Newman said. “Airports are pretty special places.”
City of Phoenix Aviation employee Sam Downs agrees. Downs, who has worked in the Aviation Department for 33 years, says no two days are the same and work is never dull. Fellow long-term Aviation employee Randy Anderson agrees. “Working with the Operations division, I realize that there are no two days alike,” Anderson said. “I love what I do.”
Many employees have fond memories of working at the Airport. Past Assistant Airport Director Doug Carr who worked at Sky Harbor in the late 1940’s through the 1950’s very much enjoyed his time here and the variety of work he did.
“My average day was at least 15-16 hours,” Carr said. “You’d think it was eight but it wasn’t. It was busy and I enjoyed it. We had a crew of three of four guys on two different shifts. Gassing and servicing aircraft, parking them and so on. I was just all over the place.”
Former Aviation Director Neilson “Dutch” Bertholf who worked at Sky Harbor from 1982-1998, fondly remembers the Airport’s 50th anniversary.
“We had a balloon launch off a major airport runway,” Bertholf said.
Carr recalls meeting celebrities such as Gene Kelly and Danny Kay. “One of the more interesting people was Danny Kay,” Carr said. “He was a singer and a dancer and so forth. I remember he wanted to tour the airport to look at some planes because he was interested in buying an airplane. So I took him into the hangar and showed him a few airplanes, with the permission of the owners of course.”
Sky Harbor has grown dramatically since then, and although you don’t hear stories like that anymore, it’s still a fascinating place of employment.
First published: October 4, 2010