Terminal Facilities Manager with Christchurch International Airport Limited
Briefly, what does your job involve?
My job is to keep the airport terminal facilities safe and accessible, so planes can land and depart and passengers can get from park to plane (and back again) safely and quickly. My portfolio includes the terminal building, baggage handling system, passenger boarding bridges, and some systems on the apron, to name a few.
My role is to ensure all the terminal facilities remain fully operational (24 x 7); its assets are monitored, managed and maintained; the building is efficient, safe and compliant; and the occupants are happy. This includes a diverse range of assets from something as simple as a leaky tap to emergency power and fire systems.
I live and am inspired by the company’s mission to be a champion airport and am committed to three areas of focus: building a stronger business and enhancing customer journeys and being great kaitiaki (guardian of safety, security and sustainability).
How long have you worked in FM?
Almost three years now, though I was involved in asset and maintenance management for seven years before I started my FM role at Christchurch Airport.
How did you get into FM?
Before Christchurch Airport, I spent most of my career in heavy industry, including mining and pulp and paper. After my OE, I completed an apprenticeship in industrial measurement and control and worked as an instrument technician for a multinational commodity trading and mining company. Furthering my studies enabled me to transition into maintenance planning and asset management. From there, facilities management was a natural avenue.
What do you enjoy most about working in FM?
No two days are the same and I learn something new every day. I love all the cool stuff that’s happening behind the scenes in the engine room that keeps a facility going. The terminal is an ever-changing environment with change driven by growth, and statutory or regulatory compliance, so there is always something happening. Getting up close and personal with aircraft is an added bonus!
What are the most important skills/ personality traits facilities managers need?
A good FM must be creative, decisive and passionate about the facility and its people and, essentially, must have an eye for detail. In this role, I need to be able to think on my feet and perform well under pressure. My success hinges on the ability to communicate, connect with, inspire, and engage our clients and team members. A technical background or understanding of engineering systems would be of significant benefit to someone considering FM as a career.
Any advice for someone considering a career in FM?
A technical or engineering background is undoubtedly an advantage because many of the systems and day-to-day decision-making involve a certain level of technical insight. Good general computer-based skills also help, because management is done via computer-based systems, from ERP to BMS.
In general, STEM skills are important, but a desire to know more, and a ‘never satisfied’ inquisitiveness are just as vital.