Linda Eshiwani-Nate, Business Development Manager at Atlanta Hartsfield
Jackson International Airport (HJIA) put it on the line:
“I am really excited. For quite a
while, U.S. airports have remained far behind their European and Asian
counterparts, especially as it relates to the overall airport experience
and Cargo handling and operations, as such, I am excited that we (ATL)
have arrived here today.
“This momentum we are experiencing
today, is a direct response to an overall demand for change and improvement,
expressed by our cargo stakeholders.
“It goes without saying, air cargo
demands speed and efficiency, in order to realize its true value, therefore,
as an airport, it is our responsibility to facilitate the changes in processes
and procedures that will ensure that our stakeholders can realize the
same in order to be profitable.”
At the last Air Cargo Europe Conference
and Exhibition, held in Munich, Germany, in May, the buzz was about the
landmark announcement of a unique and wide-ranging air cargo cooperation
between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and Amsterdam
Schiphol International Airport (AMS).
Sure, the drivers include the fact that
Delta and AF/KLM/MP and SkyTeam can rightfully benefit from any effort
on the ground.
But what shines here is that these two world
gateways are in a moment of truth, a reality check of time and place and
building future goals together.
Now as true partners, ATL and AMS are in
close partnership with each other and their carriers, with a hands-on
effort to find solutions to solve and achieve their air cargo issues and
Some of the projects coming online as a
result of this partnership include a data and trade corridor, a cargo
community system, as well as the creation of an organization that will
work to advance the agenda, reach and influence of the local logistics
and supply chain community.
Take Me to The Cargo Community
“The ATL CCS, has thus far been viewed
favorably, as many realize its immediate effect in achieving much needed
transparency throughout the supply chain, and its impact on achieving
efficiency because it allows stakeholders to improve their resource planning
and cargo processing capabilities,” says Linda.
“The implementation exercise which
began at the beginning of this year, with a well-attended initial meeting,
will culminate in the launch of the pilot program, in November of this
year. As we lead up to that target date, happy to be able to report that
interest in Atlanta is at a very high pitch.
The ATL Proposition
“We have a great offering at ATL and
with a strategic partner like Schiphol we can envision building a global
network of interconnected airports that not only streamline the process
but by cooperating we can jointly install alike technologies and common
practices to accelerate growth and handling.
“Our other big news is our most recent
partnership with Worldwide Flight Services Inc. (WFS), to operate the
newest cargo facility at HJIA that should be fitted out and up and running
in the coming months,” Linda said.
Located in the airport’s south cargo
area, the newly-constructed facility includes a 120,000-square-foot warehouse
and 20,000 square feet of office space.
“Our goal is to offer the highest
quality of handling services to attract high-value cargo onboard the more
than 900,000 flight operations from Atlanta annually," Linda declared.
“We want to grow our air cargo business,
so partnering up with WFS to operate our newest facility as a modern cargo
terminal, will support the airport’s cargo growth,” Linda
Linda Eshiwani-Nate was born in Nairobi,
Kenya. “I was a curious, high energy and extremely restless child,
and everyone would say that because it was impossible for me to sit still,
I would never be able to work a regular 9-5 desk job. Hearing this practically
every day of my life and a string of other events are what led me to the
aviation industry. One key event that sticks with me to this day, happened
when I was about 5 years old.
“I remember my dad was travelling,
and back in the day, when the rules were not what they are today, we would
escort him all the way to the gate. I was standing with my family at the
gate and as usual, I was wandering away from the group, when I saw them.
I’m not sure what drew me to them, but I was mesmerized. There were
two gentlemen dressed in uniform approaching the same gate. Their persona
was so distinguished and their walk was so majestic and the smiles on
their faces reflected the fact that they knew this. I was so enthralled,
they might as well have been Superman and Batman approaching the gate.
They were gone in a split second, and long after they boarded the plane,
first naturaIly, I was still staring. Later I would find out that they
were pilots, and would be flying my dad.
“That seemingly small moment was the
birth of my obsession with aviation. At that age, I decided that I would
be a pilot, and fashioned the rest of my childhood on that. Everything
I did from that point on, was directed towards becoming a pilot, I never
even considered a plan B.
“Right after completing my high school
education, I was set to leave for the U.S. to begin my flight training,
when 9/11 happened. Naturally, my parents, especially my dad, panicked.
All plans were halted. My family tried in vain to convince me to change
my career goals, and 3 years later in 2004, after wearing them down, I
finally left home on my own, joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
in Daytona Beach, Florida and began my work towards a Bachelor of Science
degree in Aeronautical Science, with a concentration in Flight.
“But life has a funny way of changing
our planned course. Here I was, working hard towards becoming a pilot,
the next thing I knew, I was in love, getting married 2 years later and
having my first baby by 2008.
“I always thought my first solo flight
was by far the greatest moment of my life, but that was overshadowed by
the day I became a mother. I never expected that someone I had just met,
would have such a tremendous impact on the course of my life. Isabella
(my daughter) changed everything.
The Bigger Dream
“When I looked in her eyes, when I
pondered on her helplessness and her future, I realized that I had a greater
calling in my life, much bigger than myself. Motherhood became the catalyst
that changed my course.
The Power of Relationships
“Fast forward to the end of my studies,
I chose to use internships as a gauge for where I wanted to launch my
career. “This how I ended up at the world’s busiest and most
efficient airport, ATL.
“I can say and am fairly certain that
there are no coincidences in life, rather a series of events and decisions
that lead us to our destiny.
“I say this because my timing in arriving
in ATL, led me to meeting one of the most influential people in my life,
Miguel Southwell, who eventually became my mentor. Mentorship taught me
valuable lessons that would have taken years of learning, had I been on
my own. Being mentored by the then general manager of the airport, and
to-date a well loved and respected leader in the industry provided me
with exposure and acceleration that I had never even imagined. I was thrust
in projects that were way over my head, but which served to lead me to
where I am today.
Paige, Director Air Service Development and Linda Eshiwani-Nate, Air Service
“One such opportunity led me to
be noticed by my current manager, with whom I began to collaborate long
before I made the switch and joined the team. Three years later, I couldn’t
be happier about my career, and our mandate, in growing passenger and
cargo air service, as we realize the great impact of the work we do.
“Getting ahead is the result of hard work,
timing and the right relationships. For me being able to continue my love
for aviation did not manifest itself in the quest for position in the
left seat on the bridge of an airliner, but sticking with my passion for
aviation allowed me to flourish in the face of change.
“Today, I consider myself rich, because
I get to do what I love, which allows me to provide for those that I love.
My family, which now includes three high-energy and ambitious girls (including
one who wants to be a pilot), provides me with all the confirmation that
I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
We are wondering just what it is about Linda
Eshiwani-Nate that makes our talk in this room in Munich so compelling.
First of all, to observe her beautiful face
up close for some time and the light shining in her eyes is to realize
almost at once that she certainly does not look like many or any other
airport development officers in our experience.
But then after all this information she
gets straight to the heart of her mind and soul.
“I was brought up in a progressive
household with of five sisters.
“We were encouraged to be whatever
we wanted to be as long we lived a life of purpose.
“What I have learned in my personal
professional life trajectory is that life happens. In between all the
goal setting and reaching, is life. Marriage, divorce, children, illness,
winning and failing, it happens to all of us. What truly matters at the
end of the day, is our ability to adapt and keep moving. As long as we
refuse to give-up, as long as we continue to believe in ourselves, as
long as we keep hope alive, we will make it, no matter how long it takes,
we will eventually achieve all that we were created to be,” Linda
Eshiwani-Nate said softly.
Nuggets of Wisdom
“Over the years, what I have witnessed
from my parents, family, mentors and friends is, that people always matter.
No matter what we plan to do or hope to achieve in life, we will always
need people, therefore, how we treat people, especially the least amongst
us, matters, it speaks to who we are at the core.
“To young people looking to begin
their careers, the Bible says, “Do not despise the small beginnings.”
Life goes by seasons, therefore, it is important to embrace whatever season
we find ourselves and take from each season the lessons we need for our
“Finally, when the time comes,”
Linda said, “don’t forget to pay it forward. To whom much
is given, much is expected.”