I’ve heard that some opportunities are once in a lifetime. Like traveling half-way around the world to Australia which I did four years ago this summer, or interning with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). I had always enjoyed airports, airport operations, and generally, just being an airport rat, but this summer was an eye opener and I’m grateful for the opportunity to observe the daily operations at a large airport like Minneapolis-St. Paul Int’l (KMSP).
Learning New Skills…
If I got into everything I learned here at the MAC and Airside Operations, I’d have a very long list with a lot of things that may or may not interest the average reader. However, I will say that I got some invaluable training in new rules that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publishes. There have also been many new rules coming out of the FAA through the publishing of Advisory Circulars (ACs) that give recommendations for how different segments of the industry should do certain things.
The winter operations here at KSMP will be affected by these new regulations and Airside Operations will see a shift in the dynamics of staffing, field operations, and reporting to the FAA. It’s interesting to see how one regulation can have such a significant impact. Also, every airport is different, so watching how other, similar-sized, airports adjust to the new regulations will also be quite interesting. Or maybe I’m just a huge nerd and I love reading about that sort of thing (haha).
Learning About My Department…
With any job, you always go through a phase of learning how your department interacts within itself, and with the rest of the organization. It’s important to understand the big picture and this summer I had the chance to dissect each position in Airside Operations and then look at the big-picture view of how they integrate in KSMP as a whole.
This summer, I learned about many of the daily tasks that are done by the Assistant Managers (those who run the airfield inspections, manage wildlife, etc.) and aided them in doing these during the week. I learned about the policies and procedures that drive everyday activity and the Duty Managers who keep the office running during the daily shifts. I also learned about the important role that Operations Coordinators have in taking information and disseminating it to the entire airport all while watching weather and airfield conditions, managing the overflow parking, and keep the phone from ringing off the hook. Lastly, I learned how Technical Operations is the glue keeping our systems together and how the Manager of Airside Operations, my boss, really has his hands full and juggles so many duties that they are too long to list here.
Learning About Job Opportunities
Throughout the summer myself and my fellow interns have had the opportunity to participate in many tours. They ranged from FedEx’s airport operations, Facilities, Terminal 2 – Humphrey, to the Airport Police Department.
The main goal of those tours was to network with the different departments, learn about their function within KSMP, but also see the variety of jobs that exist on a commercial airport. I have come away with several different types of jobs in mind and now know that there are many options available. Also, my coworkers at the MAC have connections at many different airports and have offered to connect with their contacts on my behalf in the future.
Overall, the MAC has opened my eyes to the possibilities of many different facets of aerospace at an airport.
Moving On...For Now…
As I’m sitting here writing this on my last day at the MAC, I can’t help but be sad that I’m leaving my favorite airport and will be soon turning in my badge and parking pass. I’ve had so much fun and learned so much in the last 10 weeks that it will be hard to go back to school for the next nine months. I am very grateful to have been at the MAC and appreciate the opportunity.
I enjoyed getting to learn alongside my fellow interns from my soon-to-be alma mater and from Metro State University. We learned together all summer, learned from each other, and became a close team when working on projects and learning about the airport.
However, I’m so excited to be just two semesters away from graduating and all the possibilities ahead of me. I love being at the MAC and I intend to come back in the future, in one capacity or another. Until then, it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone.
In the meantime, thank you Airside Operations and fellow interns for a great summer & I’ll see you all soon!