Today I caught up with Birmingham-based Andy, who is Customer Services Manager at our Engineering division. Read our interview and find out why there is never a dull moment in his job!
Hi Andy! Let’s get to know you – what’s your background?
I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My dad was brought up in Africa where he met my mum. We left for the UK when I was about four, and I was brought up Harpenden where I attended St. Georges School. I have lived in Luton, Barton-le-Clay, St. Albans and now have settled into my new hometown of Woburn Sands, Bedfordshire with my wife and six-year old son. I like to run and bike ride around the woods near where we live.
If your friends described you in three words, they would say…
That’s a tough one…I know what some may say, but that’s better left for another day! I think that most would say I was an aviation geek, loyal and that I have a severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
When did your passion for aviation start?
Back in the carefree, hot, 1980s summer holidays my mate and I used to get on our bikes and ride up to Luton airport, to end of the runway, to watch the aircraft landing right above our head as we lay on our backs on the freshly-harvested cornfield. I knew then that I had to get involved in aviation somehow.
What made you want to work for Monarch?
I have always had a passion for flying. I was a fairly young member of the “Junior Jet Club” flying to and from Kenya. I always remember my first visit to the flight deck of a Boeing B707 flying somewhere over the Sahara desert. I was hooked.
I also like everything engineering. My dad helped me get into engineering in a big way, we spent countless hours working on my clapped out Austin Mini. My dad now has a 1926 Chevrolet Model K car, and it’s my turn to help him out.
How long have you been working for Monarch?
I joined Monarch in the summer of 1989 working within the Logistic Supplies Department, purchasing everything from office stationary and furniture to aircraft spares. I then went on to work on the AOG (Aircraft on Ground) desk, buying and selling aircraft spares and helping ensure our fleet kept flying at all times.
I became Regional Sales Manager in 2005, working within the Sales and Marketing team and was responsible for seeking new business within the industry, particularly in relation to aircraft heavy maintenance.
27 years after joining, I am now Customer Services Manager, based at the Birmingham Hangar.
What does your day-to-day job consist of?
I look after a small, expert team who ensure that all company activity relating to customers’ aircraft are effectively and accurately administered and executed in accordance with the relevant agreements to the satisfaction of both the customer and Monarch.
We take the contract once it’s signed by the sales team and help roll it out into the business. We also make sure the invoices are sent to the customers once the services have been completed.
In short, we provide a full Total Customer Account Management always ensuring that all of Monarch Engineering’s customers have the best possible experience whilst their aircraft are in the engineering facility.
What are some of the challenges of the job?
We have an extremely busy schedule here in engineering. We have a varied set of customer all with their own customised needs and requirements. We do everything we can to ensure our customers feel like individuals.
What gives you the most satisfaction in the job?
Having a satisfied customer. Knowing that we have done everything in our power (and a little bit more) to make sure that customer keeps coming back.
What keeps you motivated to enjoy your job?
I love the saying “every day’s a school day”. It’s so true. I love getting involved and finding out about everything that goes on around me. I like being interested in what others do, knowing how that links with what you do…try and make sense of everything. If it doesn’t make sense, I go and find out why…
What do you love the most about it?
We get to spend time with the customer, and I travel to an airport every day. The smell of aviation fuel and getting up close to aircraft…what’s not to like?
What are some of your proudest achievements?
I joined Monarch through a government initiative called the Youth Training Scheme (YTS). From 150 applications I was invited to a group interview of the final 40 applicants. There were 13 positions on offer. I was 16, fresh out of school and wet behind the ears, however I was lucky enough to be one of the chosen few. I am extremely proud to have been in the same company for 27 years.
Another great achievement was running 10 kilometres every day for the first 10 days of this past July for the Monarch Foundation’s charity partner Just a Drop. To date, we have raised just under £1,500.00. I also took part in the Movember Men’s Health awareness campaign by running the “West London” run, again 10 kilometres. I also ran the British 10k last year again for Just a Drop. (Amazing for someone who hated running at school!). I am a Monarch Charity Champion, it’s very fulfilling.
I also learned to fly once…on a PA-28 Piper Cherokee out of Luton and Bourn Airfield in Cambridge. I gained my private pilot’s licence and loved every minute of it, however, the cost of fuel and landing fees at Luton soon weighed up against getting married and settling down with a family. I will take it up again at some point (possibly in retirement)!
Any advice for those thinking or pursuing a career similar to yours?
I left school at 16 and joined the YTS (Youth Training Scheme), if you get a chance to get an apprenticeship, I would jump at the chance… Plus, remember to push yourself every day.
Thank you Andy! And finally…on Monarch’s scheduled network, which is your favourite destination and why?
We love to fly into Palma, Mallorca. The area around Port De Pollenca is stunning. We love going there as a family and I would recommend it to everyone.