Vol. 10  No. 0                                                   WE COVER THE WORLD                                 Tuesday February 1, 2011


Women On Top—A FlyingTypers Original Continues in 2011.

Delta Women Power Cargo

     There is nothing we enjoy more here at FlyingTypers than our series on Women in Air Cargo, which is our pioneering effort to shine a light on a demographic of the industry previously left in the dark. We were the first to do it, and of that we are extraordinarily proud.
     This issue puts the spotlight on the women of Delta; while we could not interview all of the women of Delta, we feel incredibly honored to have been allowed some time with three of them. They are (left to right) Elizabeth Shaver, International Compliance Manager; Marie Buetlow, Manager Strategic Partners; and Rachel Steitz, Manager Cargo Safety. Each woman holds a very special and important place within the cargo world from the ground up, and each has a unique story to share.
     We sat down with these three women and learned that Marie was born into a world of air cargo, having followed in the path laid out before her with almost three decades of the airline industry running a thread through her family. We learned that not all people are born with their hearts in cargo; Rachel had her eyes fixed on a piloting license before 9/11 changed the landscape of our industry, and Elizabeth was on track to work in the FAA when a move to Atlanta changed everything.
     The tie that binds all these women, and perhaps all of us, is the notion that once one has fallen into the world of air cargo, from whichever path one started on, it is difficult to imagine oneself in any other world. If you’re in it, you certainly love it.
     Please enjoy this current issue of Women in Air Cargo, and if you know of any women who deserve to have their story heard, do not hesitate to let us know!

FT:   How long have you been in the cargo business?
Marie:   I’ve been in the cargo business for 10 years, and the airline industry for 27 years. But my family has been in the business since 1951. I’ve been with Delta Cargo for 2 1/2 years; before that I spent 25 years with another carrier based in Chicago.
     I was educated as a teacher, so I’ve done a number of training projects. I started on the reservations side then moved to operations.
     I was out east in the early 2000s and I was managing freight operations and you get extra manpower for managing freight, so that was a good thing. I took an interest in it and there was an opening on the sales side in the cargo division, so I went over there I’ve been there ever since. I have no desire to leave. It was a good fit because I knew ramp functionality; I managed and worked the ramp, and this went one step further in learning management of the warehouse and working with customers.
Elizabeth:   I’ve been in air cargo for 5 years, and in the aviation industry for 5 years and 4 months. I started out as a gate agent at a ground handling company in Atlanta doing passenger flight for a European carrier – I did that for about 4 months, then I was hired by the Sky Team Cargo U.S. sales joint venture, which handled all the outbound capacity for Korean, Air France and Delta. I worked there for a couple of years, then I was hired by Delta Cargo to start the Cargo Flight Controller Group. I’ve been with Delta for 3 years and 4 months.
      Being in cargo was a fluke. When I was changing careers, I went and got my dispatcher’s license and planned on being an aircraft dispatcher and working my way up to be involved in FAA regulatory affairs on the flight operation side of the business. But when I moved to Atlanta, at the time when Delta was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, I sort of fell into a cargo job. And now I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. It’s a great place to touch all different parts of the company and see what’s going on.
Rachel:   I’ve been in cargo for 6 years. I’m Manager of Cargo Safety, which entails reducing on the job injuries, improving safety, reducing the damage to equipment and facilities, and emergency response on behalf of the cargo division, so if we were to have an aircraft incident, we would make sure the preparatory and planning processes are in place. I’ve been in that role for the last two years; prior to that I was in a compliance role in cargo, and prior to that, in ops management.
      The cargo business was a fluke for me as well. I started on the passenger side as a ramp agent in college, then I did my flight training, but after 9/11 the industry changed. When an opening as ops manager in cargo came up, I took it. It was a great opportunity and I’m learning something new all the time.

  In your job function, what has surprised you?
Elizabeth:   We’re never surprised! (laughs)
Rachel:  No, we’re prepared for everything! (laughs)

FT:   Ok, well, are women a minority in terms of total employment? Is there any gender pressure to be better than the men? We’d like an idea of who you are as women in the jobs you’re doing.
Elizabeth:   There are plenty of times where I will be the only woman in a meeting. But I see a lot of women.
Rachel: It’s sort of random though; sometimes there are meetings with a lot of women, sometimes you’re the only woman in the room.
Marie:   I think I see it from the perspective of dealing with the forwarder side. I do global sales calls and call a lot of forwarders. Traditionally, I spend a lot of my time with men, but I don’t think about it or notice it – I grew up with 9 boy cousins! When I sit at a table, I think about the business I’m doing and I think about things we’re learning and sharing with each other.
      I don’t know if it’s because in the era I grew up in, it was more acceptable for women to get a job. When my mother started in the industry in 1951, there were limited paths for women and women were boxed in – a baby meant your career was over, even if you worked in the reservations office or the airport, that was the end.
      I started in the industry in 1982, and while it was a heavily male industry, each year there are more female pilots, more women in cargo – the fact is that more women go to school now and there are more people working today than ever before. I don’t think about it much but maybe I should because I consider myself blessed by the people who laid the groundwork before me; I can walk into a room and I don’t have to think about the fact that I’m the only woman at the table.

FT:   And business is, after all, just business. I guess everyone is more interested in the business than in someone’s gender.
Marie:   I think if you know your job and you speak to the things that you need to do, no one thinks, ‘oh I have to work with a woman, what’s she doing talking about these things?’

FT:   Would you recommend this industry to family or another generation of women? Why?
Elizabeth:   When it comes to the airline industry, you either love it or hate it, woman or man; you’re either drawn to it or not so much. Being a woman is a non-issue. I have absolutely no reservations recommending it to another woman.
Marie:   It’s a lifestyle, yes; you have to love it.
Rachel:   I feel the same way. I don’t think about being a woman when I’m doing business.

  Of all the things you have done, of what are you most proud?
Marie:   One of my projects was The Call Center for Frequent Flyer Programs and we did all the training for that. That’s one of my “claims to fame.”
Rachel:   We recently started a safety representative program. Instead of our frontline agents giving all the information to station leaders, we have developed a team of safety representatives at every station, who can provide information about safety policy, the culture of safety, how to improve safety, and what tools are necessary to promote safety.
      We started out with training, CPR, policy tools, and used those things to provide monthly support. We have a call in and any issues encountered are addressed in call, along with new topics. There we can discuss changes and get everyone involved. The most important thing has been to give the local stations ownership of safety at their level. They can change the culture – you can always have a manager telling you what to do, that’s easy, but when you have people within a corporation who are driving changes, there’s sustainability.
      We’ve had very positive feedback about the changes seen when they go back to their stations. People get so much information via email and the email, so it’s important for us to bring them in and give them one-on-one time.

FT:   Rachel, do you have any goals in terms of safety?
Rachel:   It’s really about reducing injuries, the decision to do something the right way versus taking a shortcut. We use data from hazard reports and injury reports to determine what is not safe, then use frontline employees to determine best practices.
      I try to get out as often as possible, but really the safety reps help in identifying best practices. They have to be part of that process; otherwise it’s not realistic.
Elizabeth:   On one side I’m responsible for compliance, on the other side I’m responsible for this group in the Flight Control Center. It’s a group that I was hired to start when I first came to Delta Cargo. That is the biggest impact I’ve had in the company – putting together this group.
      When we started we had an idea of what we wanted it to be. It was part of revenue management at that time; their job was capacity management and revenue maximization, but to do that you have to have a very good relationship with sales and you have to have a very good relationship with operations. Then we branched out and moved into the FCC, because we realized that when you’re doing cargo in a passenger carrier, you’re very dependent on a lot of other factors – passenger counts, passenger bags—all those things impact cargo capacity, because when you’re coming off a plane, the first thing to come off is the cargo, not the passengers or the bags.      So just to be hooked into everything going on is great because it allows us to anticipate problems and find ways around them and offer the best solutions to what might otherwise be an ugly situation.

FT:   Elizabeth, are there advantages to being a woman in terms of advancing cooperation?
Elizabeth:   I think it’s certainly somewhat gender-based, but it’s also personality based. It’s perhaps easier for women to do that, but there are definitely men who can do it too. What I always say to my team is: “You’re new and people don’t know what you do. They’re threatened by you, so put yourself in their shoes, look at yourself as they look at you and try to address their concerns.” I think we’ve been good at seeing things from the other person’s side.

FT:   How important is the spirit of Delta? Is that a real thing? What does the spirit of Delta mean to you?
Elizabeth:   It is definitely a real thing, absolutely. It’s hard to put your finger on it. There’s definitely a sense of pride. You don’t want to do anything that reflects badly on the name.
Rachel:   It’s definitely real.
Marie:   It’s like an aura; it’s something you can’t touch or draw a picture of, but you feel it and know it. Part of it is the way a company treats its employees. Delta is very supportive of its employees; we get a lot of opportunities and chances to develop ourselves, whether through the computer learning network or access to classes.
     In return you want to give back as much. You don’t want to reflect poorly on the name and you want to present it in the light that you feel when you are there. From Richard Anderson on down, I feel anybody would do anything to help a fellow employee or customer.

  What would you like to change?
Marie:   I would like expandable airplanes! (Everyone laughs). When I came to Delta, we were segueing out of the U.S. cargo sales joint venture. We’d gone back to where Air France was representing itself and we were representing ourselves from a sales side. At that time the name was not always as recognizable and we did a lot to publicize Delta. We reinvigorated the cargo division; you can see that by the cargo expertise that was brought in – Richard Anderson and Ed Bastian from Northwest, both of who have long exposure to cargo, having operated freighters.
      We’ve really successfully filled up flights. Liz will hate it when I say this and I hate it when it happens – when you open up and see the backlog, it is wonderful to have so many flights with backlog where customers want to use us. I sometimes feel bad when I have to walk away from a market because I can’t take any more freight that day, so truly I would love an expandable airplane where I could go and get more business. Or somebody could give us a blank check so I can buy more airplanes and be able to take the business that customers want to give us and grow it even more.
      It’s been a phenomenal experience, the reinvigoration in the division and the merger with Northwest with its background and strength of the freight division. I can’t think of a better place to be.
Rachel:   With safety, there are always improvements. No more injuries is what I want! (Everyone laughs)
Elizabeth:   In air cargo, we’re international. So we’re dealing with 64 countries and more coming soon, so some standardization would be helpful. We do have a lot of individual requirements in different places and there are good initiatives through the different international bodies – the World Customs Organization and the EU attempting to do an EU-wide customs – these are all good initiatives, but we still deal with a lot of individual requirements, and it’s a challenge to keep up with and costly as well in terms of IT development, labor, etc. It would be nice to see governments get together a little more to help with standardization.

  Do you all have teams behind you? How many people are on your team? What’s the gender breakdown? How do the men react to working under a woman?
Elizabeth:   I have eight people on my team, two of which are women. I think it’s a self-selecting thing – if you apply for a job where the woman is a manager and you don’t want to work for a woman, then it’s probably not a good idea to apply for the job! Obviously, if we’re women in this industry the gender imbalance doesn’t bother us, we work with it, so we’re not representing women so much as we’re representing competence in the job.
Marie:   I probably have a unique job. I manage strategic accounts, but I’m in sales, so I don’t have anybody that I have to do evaluations for. I’m on the road in different countries, cities, time zones. That’s probably my greatest challenge: what time zone am I in today? I’m probably out with customers 90 percent of my time, and by 90 percent I mean that I have a Blackberry so I can do work while being mobile. It’s a blessing in that I can be with a customer anytime; in the freight forwarding industry, it’s still a personal relationship business and there’s nothing like being with your customer and seeing them at all levels of their organization.

FT:   You travel a lot Marie. Which tradeshow do you like?
Marie:   Honestly, I like all of them because my customers are at all of them, so it gives me the opportunity to see a lot of people at one time and it gives me the opportunity to represent Delta to a lot of different companies at one time. I get to see how Delta does business in all parts of the world; I get to see how forwarders operate in all parts of the world. I was a history major and a political science minor so I find nothing more interesting than being in other countries and looking at how they do business and discovering how can we work together to bridge cultural gaps and standardize the business.
     The challenging part of my job is that I work a lot with our local offices so they don’t necessarily report in to me, but I need to sell them on, “this is our corporate direction as a team from a Delta standpoint.” We all call on xyz forwarder around the globe, And then “Here’s our customers’ corporate aim, here are some things they want to achieve and how can we at Delta Cargo support that.”

FT:   Marie, would you be focusing on specific products, for example, pharma, and would you have to bring offices around the world on board with things like that?
Marie:   Absolutely, I promote our products, I promote our corporate initiatives; I’m a window for our customers into Delta, and I’m a window for our local sales team at Delta into the corporate customer. We can promote the right product and the right market for their need. We can leverage our global network so that a customer that wants to get on that particular Sydney flight is also then going to give me business in other parts of the globe where I want to do business. It’s exciting to get to know all facets of the business.

  Marie, you deal with GSA’s all over the world, how do you have them represent Delta?
Marie:   I think that working with the GSAs is one of the more exciting parts. GSAs like knowledge and they like to know the history of the company they’re representing. My training background kicks in. What I really like, is that a lot of them know their marketplace well so we tend to exchange knowledge. We almost move into the role of mentor for each other. Delta’s done a great job of selecting GSAs, so I’ve never found someone who isn’t open to working together and doing a good job.

FT:   What do you like to do when you’re not doing cargo? How do you balance being a woman and being a dynamic executive in air cargo?
Marie:   That’s a good question. I’m single. This job is a lifestyle, so what I try to do is carve out two hours a day where I go and I work out. I leave my Blackberry in the car, I leave my laptop in the car, and I put headphones on with music that I like or a baseball game I want to listen to. I was never a runner before – I was a swimmer – but I took up the jogging thing because you can always pick up a pair of running shoes and do that anywhere. I lose myself in that. When I’m home on the weekends, I love to cook. I buy cooking magazines, utensils I don’t have time to use (laughs), but that’s something I love: baking and cooking.
Elizabeth:   I walk my dog! I think Marie is right in that it’s a question of carving out time for yourself that’s really your time. You know, we’re not on a 9-5 schedule anymore; you’re working 24/7, but that doesn’t mean I’m working all the time; it means my schedule can fluctuate from 9-6 or 6-4.
      You definitely need support in your life to do something like this. If it wasn’t for my fiancé I wouldn’t be able to do this. He’s extra supportive; while I’m off running around Europe, he really does take over our home life for us. I don’t know how I would do it without having someone there for me. When I was 15 or 17 years old, if you told me this is what I’d be doing I would have said, “No way that’s a dream,” so I feel extremely lucky to be doing this.
Rachel:   As Liz said, I walk my dog. He’s still kind of a puppy. I try to pick times during the day where I don’t take my Blackberry. You have to do that. You have to be able to put the work down and have time for yourself.

Tulsi Mirchandaney

Olga Pleshakova

Lucy Ntuba

Lina Rutkauskien

Karen Rondino

Iwona Korpalska

Lisa Schoppa

Gloria Whittington

Rachel Humphrey




ULD IN 2011 Gets Respect

     In 2010 air cargo marked the launch of the ULD (unit load device) aboard the first commercial 747 flights, changing forever the way in which airfreight and baggage is handled.
     The first Pan Am Boeing 747 was put into service on January 15, 1970, although it seems the first flights regularly carrying fare-paying passengers only started on January 21.
     Now in 2011 we have had 41 years of ULDs as an essential part of commercial wide body air travel, truly the link in the air cargo supply chain that changed everything.
     We have come a long way in those four decades, with ULDs becoming ever lighter and stronger as well as becoming more versatile, specialized and indispensable for the proper handling of all types of cargo and baggage.
     Many people have taken it for granted due to the ubiquitous nature of the lowly ULD.
     Yet without ULDs, the passengers’ baggage would end up being left behind with predictable customer service failures, or we would have baggage that it is bulk loaded and unloaded, which negatively affects ground time and service.
     No ULD, and that newly won hot account’s first must-ride shipment is backlogged.
     And so this relatively insignificant piece of equipment all of a sudden gets much attention, but no love.
     The exception falls in one place and with a specific group of air cargo professionals.
     The Interline ULD Control User Group (IULDUG) loves ULDs and is out to let the world know about it.
IULDUG is a self-funded business unit formed partially to facilitate the interline movements of ULDs; interlining is the movement of ULD’s between airlines.
     Last September, a meeting of (IULDUG) in Oslo, Norway had a fresh feeling about it.
     According to attendees, this was due in part to the IULDUG's independence and, therefore, provided an opportunity for the group to reassess its role within the ULD community.
     The meeting was timely, with IATA committing to raise the profile of ULD across the industry, as IULDUG set out to embrace the theme "Designing the Future."
     The meeting’s agenda looked to bring in new ideas and perspectives from industry stakeholders who interface with ULD in the supply chain.
     This included a shipper, two airport authorities and a ground handler as well as the regulars—IATA and the two main regulatory bodies, FAA and EASA.
     “The presentations were high caliber and challenging, enlightening and thought provoking,” reports Air Canada’s all ULD pro, Toronto-based Urs Wiesendangers, Manager Cargo Network Control-ULD Logistics.
Urs is a man who loves the cans and he likes letting everybody know about it.
     Actually, the passion of the groups’ members could be seen and heard in the lively question and answer sessions that followed each presentation.
     Passion for ULDs was nurtured following the presentations, as a guest panel was formed to stimulate debate and then the attendees broke out into brainstorming action groups, resulting in new ideas and positive actions for the IULDUG Executive Committee to take away.
     Urs Wiesendanger:
     “With a high number of attendees from across the industry, the opportunities for networking and conducting business were high, with much being achieved during the breaks.
     “Ultimately the conference was a huge success, there were a good number of energized attendees, active participation and some excellent ideas.
     “However, the IULDUG must now convert this into action and continue to confirm its importance to the wider aviation community,” Urs said.
     "Minutes from the meeting, including the recording of panel discussions, are available from IULDUG to you on demand,” he added.
     “Later in 2010, following the User Groups AGM, the IATA ULD Panel met back to back with the SAE AG-2A meeting, held November 4-7 in Scottsdale, Arizona,” Mr. Wiesendanger reports.
     “It was a good and constructive meeting.
     “Apart from the usual technical discussions that are the base of what is published in the IATA ULD Technical Manual (UTM), the ULD Operational Task Force, led by Robert Rogers (Nordisk-Aviation–HKG), was formally introduced and renamed Operational Advisory Group (OAG) to align with the existing Technical Advisory Group (TAG)—both reporting to the ULD Panel with ultimate approval by the Cargo Service Council (CSC).
     “Going forward, conferees agreed to expand to twice-yearly meetings (spring/fall) back-to-back with SAE meetings at the same location.
     “Now with Santa Claus back again from his long journey and the new year turned over, ILUDUG has many accomplishments to report in 2010.
     “We have formed a ULD IATA steering committee and have created the ULD Road Map 2010-2012.
     “As one of the first tangible results, we are excited to be able to offer a timely ‘gift’ to the ULD industry in the guise of a brand new IATA ULD e-Learning course created by Bob Rogers, with assistance from the ULD Operational.”
     Bob Rogers tells Flying Typers:
     “The creation of the ULDOAG marks the first time that an IATA forum has involved representatives from across the ULD spectrum in a single working group.
     “With four global webinars already completed and more scheduled at monthly intervals, the ULDOAG is currently embarked on a review/re-write/creation of 5 standards to cover storage/handling, transport (on and off airport), training standards for people using ULD, continuing airworthiness of ULD/loading and unloading of ULD.
     “Once these standards are approved by the various IATA bodies, hopefully by mid 2011, they will put an effective foundation under today’s global ULD operations supporting improvements in all aspects of ULD operations.
     “The imminent launch of the first ever IATA ULD Self Study marks a milestone in the history of ULD.
     “For the first time there exists a single globally available training suitable for anyone whose duties involve any aspect of ULD operations.
     Using the IATA e-learning format, the course provides a simple introduction to the important safety function of ULD, provides an overview of ULD operations, covers the key issues that must always be observed and goes into detailed instructions of the use of containers and pallets & nets.
     “Candidates scoring above 70 percent on a 50-question test will receive an official IATA certificate.
     “In providing a common training that suits the entire industry, from small single location to large multi-location, service providers and forwarders, the training fills a long, empty gap.
     “The training should also support airlines working to comply with the training requirements of FAA AC-120-85 Air Cargo Operations.
     So in summary, 2010 was a momentous year for ULD; it started with celebrating 40 years of ULD at the YVR WCS and we are looking forward to the IATA WCS 2011 schedule in March in Istanbul to report progress on promises made.
Geoffrey /Ted/Flossie


RE: Drinking LaGuardia

Dear Geoffrey,

     I love to read about when you and Tim get together, I really miss him and the good times.

John and Joan Zito

Hey Geoff,

     Danny is living down here in the Ft. Lauderdale area near me..
     Sure miss those days.

Dick Bogash

RE:   Push Back In Price Fix

      I am an enthusiastic fan of publisher Geoffrey Arend and his publication Flying Typers. I thought his comments re the alleged price fixing might be of interest.
      I really think the government's case is full of holes and just might backfire.
      Also, over the holidays Sir Geoffrey and I wrote columns re the way things used to be when airport and airline managers worked in concert and harmony to help each other out in time of need.....a missing ingredient today in the classrooms of MBA institutions.
      I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the social/business interactions of the North Beach Club at La Guardia during the early 1980's...those business/social relationships greatly benefitted my professional career when oral contracts were just as valid as written contracts.
      Message....hang tough...you have many friends and I am honored to be among them....and thank you for your continued moral support.

Fredrick Ford


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