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    Welcome to the Ambassablog! We're the front-line employee bloggers of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and participants in the Airport Authority's Goodwill Ambassador Program.

    Here you'll find our continually updated posts about life at historic San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field).

    Take a look around, and Email us if there's something you'd like to see added to the Ambassablog or covered in future posts.
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    For questions or information about this blog and other social media tools used by San Diego International Airport, contact:
    Steven Shultz, M.S.
    Deputy Director, Public & Community Relations /
    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority: sshultz@san.org

KIPP students visit SDIA and its Quieter Home Program

At right, Quieter Home Program Inspector Jack explains to KIPP students how the program is making homes quieter at the Point Loma Tennis Club condos.

Recently, students from the San Diego charter KIPP: Adelante Preparatory Academy school toured San Diego International Airport and its Quieter Home Program (QHP). Six middle school ‘KIPPsters’ received quite a treat: a Terminals to Tarmac tour lead by Ambassablogger Ryan of the airport’s Strategic Planning Department and Sandra of Airport Planning. After lunch (which included a teambuilding activity of constructing a new airport out of Legos), they met yours truly (I’m the airport’s QHP Coordinator) for a tour of the new QHP showroom and a few homes in construction.

Students from this charter middle school have had the opportunity to visit the airport for the last few years as a result of Ryan’s community involvement with San Diego LEAD; KIPP Adelante was his community project. KIPP Adelante’s slogan is: Work Hard. Be Nice. Dream Big.

KIPPsters learning about the airport.

Students were very interested in the QHP and that it was free to eligible homeowners in defined areas near the airport. The showroom tour included an explanation of the QHP’s acoustic reduction goals, lead by Ambassablogger Sjohnna, who is the QHP Manager.

KIPPsters got to view the products, and experience the acoustic kiosk, giving them a sound understanding of a five-decibel reduction, the goal for any residence. They then boarded a bus — along with Craig, the QHP Construction Manager, and me to tour Point Loma Tennis Club condominium complex, one of the current QHP projects.

Jack and Brandon, Construction Inspectors for QHP, walked the students through the entire construction process. KIPPsters visited homes the contractor opened that day, including one in mid-construction, and one in its final day of construction. Jack and Brandon explained how new acoustic windows are retrofitted and how electrical panels are upgraded for new furnaces and air conditioning. Jack was impressed with the KIPPsters, calling them “attentive, inquisitive and very polite.” Reflect back to the academy’s slogan.

KIPP students enjoying a guided tour of the airport.

KIPPsters then met Whitney, the QHP Homeowner Liaison for the Point Loma Tennis Club. Whitney and I talked about our positions and how continuous communication and great customer service are vital with homeowners throughout the Quieter Home Program process.

On the bus ride back to the Airport, the students talked about the tour; they could not believe the amount of construction that occurs in the 15 days allotted for a project. One student felt it should take longer, perhaps even a year! Ryan, Sandra, Craig and I then quizzed the students about what they had learned that day; the KIPPsters enthusiastically had some great answers.

Freda, the Director of Development at KIPP, thanked the airport staff and the Quieter Home Program for “opening our students’ eyes and feeding their curiosity.”

It was a great day for all!

Work Hard. Be Nice. Dream Big.

Guest Blogger:

Catherine, Program Coordinator for the Quieter Home Program

We got the Wright stuff!

You may have noticed that Ohio state license plates proclaim the Buckeye State to be “the Birthplace of Aviation,” while North Carolina plates say the Tarheel State is “First in Flight.” Their respective state commemorative quarters make the same, seemingly competing claims. So which is right?

They’re both right, because of the Wrights … two brothers named Orville and Wilbur. They are credited with having the first successful flights in a heavier than air, mechanically propelled airplane. They were from Dayton, Ohio, and developed all their concepts for flight in their home state. But when it came to a place to actually demonstrate their airplane in action, they chose what meteorological data told them was the windiest point in the United States: Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

From the sandy beaches along the Atlantic, the Wright brothers lifted themselves, literally and figuratively, into human flight and one of the greatest achievements of humanity. Aviation as we know it ultimately owes its origins to Orville and Wilbur Wright, and proper tribute is paid to these pioneers at the Wright Brothers Memorial in North Carolina.

I visited the memorial this year, carrying with me from one ocean coast to the other a sense of awe and appreciation for what they achieved.  I certainly got to that location a lot faster by my own air travel! Every year, the date of December 17 is set aside for all Americans to celebrate the Wright brothers’ lift-off from the bonds of earth and gravity on that day in 1903.

San Diego is famous for a lot of aviation achievements in its own right, but we’ve never forgotten where it all began.

Charles Lindbergh may be prominent at airport, which now bears his name, but the legacy of the Wright brothers lives on in a pair of conference rooms at Airport Authority headquarters named for each of them, which can be and often are joined to host large meetings — especially those that welcome the public.

This pair of rooms on the second floor of the Commuter Terminal ensures that we have the Wright stuff, too, adding our own touchstone of respect to a pair of pioneers who did what was once considered impossible. In its own way, San Diego joins Ohio and North Carolina — and we can all be Wright!

YMCA Summer Campers at SDIA

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An airport run by 5th graders

San Diego International Airport ... at BizTown!

Can kids run the airport?  At BizTown, they do! San Diego International Airport (SAN) has constructed an airport “storefront” in Junior Achievement‘s BizTown. What’s BizTown, you ask?

'Airport Explorers' Airlines at BizTown.

Junior Achievement’s BizTown allows kids to put to use the business skills they learn in school in a live environment. More than 100 students come through daily to run tiny storefronts sponsored by community businesses. The kids work, receive paychecks, open bank accounts and stimulate the BizTown economy. As they act out their jobs and roles in the BizTown community, they learn financial and business knowledge based on real-life situations.

I recently had a chance to visit. And it’s really cool!

Students who work at BizTown SAN sell flights for an aerial tour of San Diego in a fuselage simulator. Along with my Authority colleagues Jeff and Rachel, we took the flight on Airport Explorers Airlines. The students collected our money, sold us our tickets and escorted us through security and into the plane. Animated pilots took us on a flight over San Diego’s majestic views.  The seats even vibrated during takeoff and landing!

Airport Authority employees Jeff from Human Resources and Rachel from Risk Management go for a ride on 'Airport Explorers' Airlines at BizTown.

One particular student was bubbling with excitement about working at BizTown SAN that day. He definitely wants to work at the airport “when he grows up.” He was beside himself to actually meet some airport employees (I felt a little bit like a rock star!). I asked him if he knew what job he’d like to have at the airport someday. He said, “Yes!  I want to be a station manager for American Airlines. I LOVE American Airlines!” How awesome is that?

Airport Authority employees, from left, Jay and Marie in Landside Operations and Jeff in Human Resources check out BizTown.

The Airport Authority’s partnership with Junior Achievement BizTown has allowed thousands of local children to learn more about the airport and airport-related jobs.

It’s been a very successful part of our aviation education program. I highly recommend visiting or volunteering at BizTown if you ever get the chance!

And kudos to the Authority employees that helped to build BizTown SAN — it’s fantastic!

Even SeaWorld is at BizTown ... here I am (left) with Rachel from Risk Management.

Top of the Tower

A 'worm's eye view' of the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Traffic Control Tower at San Diego International Airport

Do you ever have one of those days when you just can’t believe what you have to do for your job … or have you ever walked into work, sat at your desk and asked yourself, “Why Me?” Well, there isn’t enough room in this post to describe what my job duties were one day a few months ago; I had to take pictures for proof, as you can see:

I knew that lead-in would reel you all in!

I recently had the chance to visit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Traffic Control Tower at San Diego International Airport. You know – the tower you can see on the other side of the runway from the terminals.

I went over to collect information for a project I’m working on and was offered the opportunity to go out on the tower’s catwalk … and – voilà! – this Ambassablog post was born. Do I know when to latch onto a great opportunity when I’m presented with one, or what? While taking pictures, I learned all kinds of interesting tidbits of information from the air traffic controllers.

This stuff just doesn’t happen every day … well, not for me anyway! I’d like to thank the air traffic controllers that work in the tower – they play such an important role in running an airport.

And, since I like to have an “educational” spin to my posts, I’m including this link of way cool stuff for those of you who are curious about what they do up there in that bubble at the top of the world.

I hope you all enjoy the view as much as I did. It always amazes me what a beautiful city we live in. And, Mom, the picture with the flag, below, is for you. Don’t worry – my feet were planted squarely on the ground for that shot!

SDIA Airport Traffic Control Tower

Saying goodbye (for now) to the summer interns

Jumping 5September is here again, and another group of summer interns at San Diego International Airport has come and gone. In early August the interns had lunch with Airport Authority President and CEO Thella F. Bowens, who shared career advice and professional insights.

Back row: Austin (Training & OD - Brigham Young University) Nathan (Aviation Security - Oklahoma State University) Natalie (Human Resources - San Diego State University) Mark (Quieter Home Program - University of California San Diego) Daniel (Airport Planning - University of North Dakota) Jeff (Small Business Development - San Diego State University) Tim (The Green Build - University of California San Diego) Jennifer (Facilities Development - University of Virginia)  Front row: Lois (Public, Community and Customer Relations - San Diego State University) Michelle (Real Estate Management - The George Washington University) Jessica (Risk Management - San Diego State University) Thella F. Bowens (President/CEO) Dani (Marketing - Pt. Loma Nazarene University) Dana (Airport Noise Mitigation - Florida Institute of Technology) Chris (Environmental Affairs - University of California San Diego [not pictured])

The Airport Authority's 2009 summer interns, with President/CEO Thella F. Bowens. (See below for their names, the Airport Authority departments they worked in and their colleges).

Back row, from left:

  • Austin (Training & Organization Development – Brigham Young University)
  • Nathan (Aviation Security & Public Safetyu – Oklahoma State University)
  • Natalie (Human Resources – San Diego State University)
  • Mark (Quieter Home Program – University of California at San Diego)
  • Daniel (Airport Planning – University of North Dakota)
  • Jeff (Small Business Development – San Diego State University)
  • Tim (The Green Build – University of California at San Diego)
  • Jennifer (Facilities Development – University of Virginia)

Front row, from left:

  • Lois (Public, Community and Customer Relations – San Diego State University)
  • Michelle (Real Estate Management – The George Washington University)
  • Jessica (Risk Management – San Diego State University)
  • Thella F. Bowens (Airport Authority President/CEO)
  • Dani (Marketing – Point Loma Nazarene University)
  • Dana (Airport Noise Mitigation – Florida Institute of Technology)
  • Chris (Environmental Affairs – University of California at San Diego [not pictured])

At the beginning of the summer the interns were given a group project:  Design and implement an Web page to promote the Airport Authority’s internship program among colleges, universities and the general public and provide future interns with useful information. Over the next two months, the interns worked with their advisers – Mike in Human Resources, Jon in Marketing and Dat in Internet Technology – to unveil a really awesome site.ryan

This year, the core team of Airport Authority employees responsible for the internship program – Carol and Michelle in Human Resources, fellow Ambassablogger Sjohnna in the Quieter Home Program and me – implemented some changes to the already “World Class” program . . . so next year is going to be even better! Remember to check the Airport Authority’s employment website starting in February 2010 for more information about the program.

Oh, and as a farewell gift, the 2009 summer interns produced this music video showing them in action at the airport:

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Who let the kids out?

Oh my goodness!  This is definitely my favorite time of year … we not only get to have college interns helping us here at the airport, we also get to share our airport with another extremely fun group of young people.  Each year, the Airport Authority’s Marketing & Communications Division hosts a great group of kids like these from local YMCAs for a week of fun and learning at the airport.

The boys and girls — we like to call them Airport Explorers — you see having so much fun in these pictures aredennise spending each morning this week in the Airport Authority’s annual Airport Explorers YMCA Camp.  They get to tour all kinds of interesting places at and around San Diego International Airport.  As you can see, they got to see how cargo is transported into and out of SDIA.  There they are, along with some Authority staffers, inside the giant belly of a FedEx cargo plane waiting to be loaded up with more than just our YMCA friends!  They also visited beautiful Spanish Landing Park, across from the airport, and learned what makes airplanes fly.  They even got to ‘pilot’ a plane.  It looks like a good time was had by all!

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