Philadelphia International Airport employees get five stars for exceptional service

Posted: 16 May 2011 | Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) | No comments yet

Philadelphia Airport presented Five Star Awards to eight employees…

Acknowledging the importance of providing outstanding service to customers, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau has presented Five Star Awards to eight employees who each took extraordinary steps to help others in a variety of situations – some even life-threatening – at the Airport.

Jack Ferguson (left), President and CEO of the PCVB, Carrie Branch, The Paradies Shops and Mark Gale (right), CEO of Philadelphia International Airport

Jack Ferguson (left), President and CEO of the PCVB, Carrie Branch, The Paradies Shops and Mark Gale (right), CEO of Philadelphia International Airport

As part of National Travel & Tourism Week, the workers received the well-deserved recognition in a ceremony in the Airport’s International Arrivals Hall. This was the fifth consecutive year the Five Star Awards were presented to employees for their exceptional customer service efforts.

“These employees, who work in a variety of capacities, each exhibited extraordinary people-oriented behavior, care, compassion and skill in a variety of situations,” said Airport CEO Mark Gale. “Their actions underscore the significance of responding to a customer’s needs and the importance of customer service at our Airport.”

Gale was joined in presenting the awards by Jack Ferguson, President and CEO of the PCVB and a member of the Airport Advisory Board.

The recipients of the 2011 Five Star Awards for outstanding customer service are:

Carrie Branch, Sales Associate, The Paradies Shops, Philadelphia MarketPlace
While working at a Paradies Shops location in Terminal B, Carrie was waiting on a young man from the military traveling to California. At the checkout counter, his credit card was declined. He had no other card or any cash, as he was waiting for his parents to wire him some money. Carrie was moved and called an employee at another concession in Terminal B to cover the store while she went to the ATM and took out enough cash to not only pay for the man’s items but also to give him some pocket money to see him through to California until he received the money he was expecting from his parents.

Carrie later said her heart went out to the man.   He was a serviceman and she also thought of her own children and how she would feel if she knew they were traveling without money, credit cards or any other means.

Carrie Branch has been with The Paradies Shops since September 2006. She is one of the best employees to join The Paradies Shops team. Carrie usually works in Terminal B as one of the sales associates. Carrie is always pleasant to work with. Both her customers and co-workers appreciate her service and dedication. She loves her job and that makes it easier for her to perform her tasks.

Bernita Hall, Jaime Neal, Pearl Bolvin and Mustafa Wilson, Ground Transportation Associates, Parkway Corporation
At approximately 8:05 on the morning of May 23, 2010, a passenger waiting on the SEPTA Airport Rail Line platform at Terminal A fell onto the tracks where a train was scheduled to arrive at 8:14. Bernita Hall, who was also waiting for the train, heard a “thump,” ran to the edge of the platform and saw the passenger laying unconscious across the tracks. She ran inside to the Terminal A ground transportation desk and shouted to coworkers Jaime Neal and Pearl Bolvin to call the Airport’s Emergency number to report that someone had fallen onto the train tracks.

Bernita and another Parkway employee, Mustafa Wilson, ran down to Terminal B to stop the train, which was now due to arrive in less than 5 minutes. Meanwhile, Pearl and Jaime were shouting at the passenger and clapping their hands to try to wake him. Aware that the train was coming in minutes, Jaime quickly told the passenger who regained consciousness to reach up with his arms. She grabbed his arms and began to lift him up to the platform. Jaime got him halfway up and Pearl and a cab driver both jumped in to help get him to the platform.
Meanwhile, back at the Terminal B train platform, Bernita and Mustafa successfully waved down the operator who stopped the train from proceeding to the next terminal.

Rick Dempsey, ADA Coordinator, Philadelphia International Airport
As the Airport’s ADA coordinator, Rick has organized and executed the Airport Autism Access Program – A Simulated Airport Experience in collaboration with Albert Einstein Medical Center.

This program has enabled children with autism to experience the airport traveling process from the ticket counter, through security screening, boarding an aircraft, a simulated flight experience, deplaning and picking up luggage at the baggage claim. This program is coordinated with the host airline, TSA, Airport Public Affairs, Security and Operations and various professionals from Children’s Hospital and Albert Einstein Medical Center. Each event takes weeks and even months of preparation prior to the exercise.

Rick has successfully conducted five Simulated Airport Experiences thus far, each one resulting in families becoming comfortable with the idea of traveling by air. The Airport has also received a great deal of favorable local and national media coverage on these exercises.

Stephen Stinson, Wheelchair Assistant, Prime Flight Services
As a Prime Flight Aviation Services employee, Stephen assists PHL passengers with wheelchair service and positive claims operations in Terminals B and C. Stephen is kind, compassionate and committed to providing outstanding customer service. He motivates others with his pleasant attitude and willingness to go the extra mile for not just his customers but also for his co-workers. He is patient with persons with disabilities and empathetic when handling customers who have become frustrated and emotional. Stephen genuinely cares about the people he serves, which is clear when observing him with customers. In short, it is reflected in the spirit with which he carries out his tasks: “I treat each wheelchair customer as if they were my own family member. Someone has entrusted me with the care of his or her loved one. I can do no less than to take care of them to the fullest.”

Joseph Pilling Customer Service Agent, US Airways
Joe was working at Gate C-19 one day recently when a gentleman suddenly jumped up in a panic. Joe turned to see if he could assist the passenger and noticed the gentleman taking off his jacket and waving his arms wildly. He was choking. Recognizing this immediately, Joe rushed over and prepared to administer the Heimlich maneuver. On the third attempt, the object was dislodged from the customer’s throat.

One week later, this passenger was traveling through PHL and made a point of finding Joe. He gave Joe a card – signed by his entire family – to thank him for saving his life.

Joe’s co-workers were extremely proud of him. Local PHL management arranged an appreciation luncheon that the passenger attended. The passenger again expressed his gratitude to Joe for what he had done.

“These employees’ dedication and commitment to service is an inspiration to all Airport employees,” said Gale. “We are very proud of them and thank them for being great people and fine examples to others.”

Noted Jack Ferguson, “Customer service employees speak volumes about an entire company, and in this case an entire city since they are typically the first face a customer sees. I am extremely honored today to highlight these eight outstanding examples of excellent customer service.”

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