It’s All about the People

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T2 1975 American Airlines skycaps Wendall Hawkins Phil Redding Steve Ayers William Stooke Joe JacksonWe have learned about SkyHarbor’s history. In this next story as part of a series of stories in honor of SkyHarbor’s 75th Anniversary, we see how employees and those who work closely with the Airport value each other.

Speaking to employees that have been at Sky Harbor for the long run, there seems to be a few common themes with what their experiences were like at Sky Harbor and what factors really kept them coming back each and every day.  That common thread is the people.  “The people here are my family” was a common statement that many made.

Randy Anderson came to the City of Phoenix Aviation Department in 1980.  Over the course of his time at Sky Harbor, he has held a variety of positions including airport security guard, airport duty manager, landside construction coordinator, and now he works in Airside Operations.  He said that the main thing that he most enjoys about PHX Sky Harbor is the people and that no two days are alike.

“I love what I do,” Anderson said. “It is always about the people and that is the main thing.”  And, Anderson even met his wife while working out here at the Airport so it truly is family.

Others agree.  Assistant Aviation Director Carl Newman got his start as an Airport Security Guard and spent a lot of time working his way up in the organization through the various divisions.  He said that this process “has been a wonderful ride.”  But what he truly enjoys is working with all the people involved in the airport from his Aviation Department colleagues to the airlines to the Ground Transportation employees, etc.  He says that each make contributions to Phoenix Sky Harbor and the interaction between everyone is truly rewarding.

Even those who have volunteered at Sky Harbor have fond memories and have developed friendships from being a part of the Airport.  Gini Gubbins, a former flight attendant with TWA and in 1967, founder of the Sky Harbor Airport Auxiliary, a group that gave tours of the Airport says that she made many lasting friendships with those who used to fly and were involved in this volunteer program at Sky Harbor.

Others though look at the success of the Airport as a direct attribution to the good people that have worked at Phoenix Sky Harbor over the years.

“The people that ran this airport from the beginning were just really good people and did good job and got it where it is today,” said Arv Schultz who used to be a pilot and has written several articles for Arizona Flyways.

Former Aviation Director from 1982-1998 Neilson “Dutch” Bertholf agrees.  “There are just so many times we developed new facilities that were important,” Bertholf said.  “The key point is that we had a lot of staff involved in all those activities and the good attitude by them and hard work made things happen.”

Marty Shultz, Vice President of Government Affairs at Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and past Chief of Staff for three City of Phoenix Mayors, agrees and says that it is the individual leaders and aviation staff that have led the airport and been able to adapt to change and move forward.

Hear what various individuals have to say about the close-knit community of employees at Sky Harbor.

First published: September 30, 2010

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