The Portraits of Changemakers series focuses on visionary individuals who work at Aero Mag and who, every day, demonstrate a willingness to make a difference in the world. Among them is Jason Day, the General Manager (GM) at our Denver station (DEN).
We spoke to Jason a few days before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest times of the year–if not the busiest–in airports. “It’s almost like a roller coaster all week,” the GM summed up. Flight schedules are reduced some days, and expanded on others. Airlines also add red-eye flights, which means 15 to 20 aircraft departing overnight to get people across the country–or the world– to see their loved ones for Thanksgiving.
As any aviation professional knows, there are no holidays in this industry. “It’s 24/7, 365 days a year,” Jason explained. “Our team is used to it! We’re here to work and make sure those aircraft get off the ground safely if de-icing is needed.” Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that the station can’t adopt its own holiday traditions.
"We make sure that all employees working on the holiday get a slice of a Thanksgiving meal they are missing out on."
Jason would definitely call himself a changemaker, based on his experience at Aero Mag. He started out as a de-icing technician in Cleveland, Ohio, back in 2009. “This is my thirteenth season with Aero Mag and it’s been an interesting path,” he recalled. Jason went on to work as a Bay Lead, then as an Assistant Tower Supervisor and Assistant Trainer. He moved on to become Head Trainer in Denver and later Operations Manager at the station. He left Denver for a few years to act as interim GM for the company’s former station in Portland, Oregon. Last year, he came back to Denver to take on the role of GM.
“Coming up from the ground level and working through all these different positions makes me a changemaker,” Jason explained. Thanks to this dynamic career path, he understands what each position entails and requires, and the work that needs to go in it. He hopes that his success story can inspire other employees at the station who may be just starting out their career in aviation. “What gets me to work every morning, and what makes me happy, is seeing my employees succeed.” Some of his teammates began de-icing for Aero Mag when the Denver station opened in 2014 and are still working by his side. “Some of these employees are now leaders in our station,” Jason said with pride.
"I really want other employees to know that there are always opportunities. Put in the work, work hard, always strive to improve and you never know where you might end up one day."
Today, Jason oversees all areas of the operations in Denver. He leads managers and supervisors, the maintenance department, as well as up to 300 employees hired every season in DEN. “Pretty much wherever I’m needed, I’m there doing it!”
Because aviation is an ever-changing work environment, one must be prepared at all times for the unpredictable. “It changes just like the weather [laughs]! You may be on one path and, all of a sudden, everything changes and you have to steer in a different direction that you might not have planned for,” Jason said. According to him, adaptability and patience are two of his greatest strengths, and two key traits that one must possess to succeed in this industry.
Since anything can happen out there, safety is of the utmost importance. And this is something that both Jason and Aero Mag value a lot. “To me, that’s everything in this industry. At the end of the day, the core of what we do is making sure that crews, passengers and employees get to go home safely,” Jason explained. He appreciates the company’s focus, views and training that have led to this renowned culture of safety.
"In the de-icing industry, Aero Mag is well known for this. Our de-icers are right up there with the best in the world. They are well trained and well experienced."
He notes that Aero Mag invests in topline de-icing equipment, “which leads to a safer and more efficient environment, and that better service the client needs.” Jason sees the company growing in the future, perhaps opening de-icing stations in new countries. On what the next few years hold for the GM, Jason certainly doesn’t see himself leaving his position in Denver. “I want to continue the success that we’ve had, and keep offering better and better service every day to our clients,” he concluded.
Jason's story is certainly inspiring, but he's not the only changemaker to influence Aero Mag's journey! Meet Maxime Daoust, the Training Manager at our YUL and YMX stations, who was able to combine his greatest passions: training and aviation.
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