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 Jeremy Guo Qiang Wang, Training and Compliance Coordinator for all our stations.
If you’re on the superstitious side, let it be known that he’s about to start his 13th season with us! Jeremy joined Aero Mag back in 2010 and has been working his way up the ladder ever since.
Being from Vancouver, Jeremy never truly experienced an incredibly harsh, cold and snowy winter until he joined Aero Mag. “I got to travel to different stations during their worst weather events,” he explained, “so I guess you could say I gained an appreciation for winter.”
"I wouldn’t say that I love winter, as there’s nothing quite like Edmonton at -40°C, but bundling up and facing the elements is all part of the job!"
The Training and Compliance Coordinator also appreciates how no two days are alike in this line of work. “During the wintertime, I might work in the tower during a snow event, supervise the deicing pad or, on rare occasions, get to hop into a deicing truck and spend the day spraying.”
Jeremy enjoys riding Vestergaard Beta trucks the most, as they’re modern, efficient and comfortable. “However, I do have fond memories of the open bucket JBT Tempests that I started in”, he recalled, “something about an open bucket makes the process more rewarding as you're out there in the elements, directly spraying the planes, instead of using joysticks and buttons.” Wanting to be in the middle of the action may come from the fact that Jeremy used to play ultimate frisbee at a decently high level. “I still play, just not as high a level! [laughs]!”
Otherwise, Jeremy spends his time developing the training program, teaching classes and working with the training department on various projects. “Things never get old when there’s always something to do!”
What also keeps things interesting is having to face challenges. As part of the Training and Compliance team, Jeremy and his colleagues work together to address many unexpected situations across the board. “When COVID hit, we had to quickly adapt Aero Mag’s entire training program, online classes being the only way to train our staff safely. The entire team worked hard over the summer to find an online learning platform that would suit our needs,” he said.
Today, Aero Mag is able to train its team virtually, while still complying with strict regulations, in ways that were never imagined. “Overall, I think we did a great job! The training department in every station seemed to benefit from the changes that were implemented.” This innovative approach has modernized training and made the job of trainers easier.
And what does this training look like exactly? “During the initial training of a new deicing technician, trainees will learn all about the process of deicing. From the basics of flight and the effects of contamination on an aircraft, to the nitty gritty details on how to deice each part of an aircraft most efficiently,” Jeremy explained. New hires will gain an understanding of how the fluids work and how to test that fluid to ensure they are spraying safe fluid on every single aircraft.
"We finish our theory training on health and safety, which is arguably the most important section, as it covers all the risks and safety measures an employee must be aware of during their day-to-day work."
Then, technicians will practice spraying and positioning on simulated aircraft, or depending on the weather, potentially live aircraft, with a trainer assisting them in the bucket or cabin. After the technicians have gained skills and experience in working with the deicing vehicles they will be signed off by their practical trainer and can be considered a full deicing technician. “As a deicing technician, they can be expected to continue growing their skills and knowledge while being able to complete all day-to-day sprays safely and efficiently.”
After theory training, new deicing technicians will be given thorough practical training on the deicing vehicles at their station. “During this practical training, we expect that all technicians will gain a good understanding of how their vehicles maneuver and drive, through a series of exercises around cones or other training objects,” Jeremy said.
Aero Mag strives to be a leader in health and safety, and the Training and Compliance team is at the heart of this effort. “Every season we work to improve our health and safety culture across the company through updated training, new procedures, and by following the most stringent industry standards,” Jeremy explained.
On top of teaching the general staff, the Training and Compliance team takes part in multiple conferences and training sessions each year by various industry leaders to ensure that it has the most up to date information, policies, and procedures. “Our new SMS2 platform allows us to better identify trends in incidents, accidents, and hazards across all stations to create proactive defenses for potential weak areas in our operations,” he added.
"Overall, Aero Mag has a great safety culture and program, and it will only improve as the years go on."
Jeremy has always been proud of working at Aero Mag. “Deicing is satisfying in itself, but the teamwork and camaraderie that comes out of it is especially rewarding,” he explained. “When everyone is working together during busy snow operations, it’s a beautiful process.”
"I appreciate everyone's hard work to get passengers where they need to go in a safe and efficient manner, day in and day out, across the entire company."
This dedication is apparent when auditors or visitors drop by. “They are always amazed at how organized we are, how clean our vehicles are, and the general professionalism we carry. It’s a great feeling to know that we are among the best in what we do, and it shows across the aviation industry.”
Jeremy is certainly inspiring, but he's not the only changemaker to have influenced Aero Mag's journey! Meet Bernard Giguère, the current Operations Manager and future General Manager of our Montreal station.
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