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Amir Mohamed Al Jesmi

When did you join the company?

In October 2005, as an Aircraft Engineering Programme trainee. I now work at our state-of-the-art power plant overhaul workshop, in the Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre (EEMC).

What inspired you to take up a career in aviation engineering?

I’ve always been interested in fixing things and understanding how things work, especially aircraft. It was only natural for me to become an engineer.

What are some of your major milestones?

I led the team that stripped down and reassembled a GP7200 engine in 2015. It passed all tests and became the first successfully overhauled GP7200 in the region. I was also part of the team that serviced a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. Its engine caught fire en route to Boston Logan International Airport in 2014. We worked around the clock to replace the engine in the shortest time ever for an outstation. We did all of this with limited resources and under heavy rain and strong winds.

What are your biggest challenges at work?

Every day brings new challenges — that’s one of the best things about working at the EEMC. Work never feels like a routine. One of the most challenging tasks is the ongoing digitization project, which aims to make us fully paperless by digitizing thousands of engineering task cards. Process changes are never easy, but it’s important for us to be digitally advanced. The challenge lies in creating a user-friendly and functional interface. This project will help us increase efficiency, manage assets better and improve our facilities.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

I really enjoy both extreme and sea sports, and the UAE has so many great options on offer. During summer, I like to fly on a paramotor over Umm al-Quwain beach. I also enjoy sailing catamarans. I’m focused on keeping fit and have started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s a martial art that involves speed and skill.

Camilla Olsen

When did you join Emirates?

I joined the Emirates SkyCargo team in Copenhagen (CPH), Denmark, as Cargo Supervisor in December 2011. I relocated from CPH to Dubai in September 2015, when I joined the Emirates SkyCargo Freighter team.

What have been your highlights so far?

The absolute pinnacle was being awarded the Najm Chairman’s Award, in 2013, for the role I played in ensuring smooth loading operations during a ground-handling crisis. It was an enormous honor to be recognized by the Group’s leadership. During my time in CPH, our operations grew from two freighters a week to 15. It was amazing to be part of the growth. Since being in Dubai, I have had the privilege of working on some of our largest assignments. I was part of the team transporting 424 horses to Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympics and more than 1.8 million vaccines from Milan, Italy, to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I recently coordinated our record-breaking charter of over 500 horses competing at the World Equestrian Games 2018 in the US (see Safar 9 August). I was also involved in transporting KhalifaSat from Dubai to Incheon in Korea. I am proud that I had a role in its journey, especially as its launch this October will be such a big milestone for the UAE.

What does your role involve?

I mainly work in our Charter department, where we secure new business for our freighter as well as passenger operations. My role involves close communication with our customers, and consistent coordination with our commercial and operational teams in Dubai, as well as our many outstation teams. Charter operations usually manage cargo that is either urgent, fragile, or has specific handling requirements during transportation. We offer part charters as well as full charters which require a separate freighter due to the cargo’s volume or tonnage. Demand for our charters depends on day-to-day trades, and the availability and aircraft capacity in the market. Charters are often booked last minute based on an urgent requirement, but sometimes they are booked months in advance for customers to secure capacity during peak seasons. It is crucial to be responsive, flexible and open to new opportunities every day.

What do you love about your job?

I am proud of the revenue contribution we make to the Group due to our unique ability to offer charters as part of our services. I love the dynamic pace and solving challenges – these keep me focused, and give me the chance to keep learning and developing my skills. I also like the diversity within the role in terms of the opportunities it presents.

What are some of the challenges you face on the job and how do you deal with them?

There are new challenges every day. Charters can be impacted by operational constraints, weather conditions, and political, trade and economic trends. It’s difficult to predict how the day will turn out. I believe challenges are part of any job, and their outcome is determined by how you chose to deal with them. Our team works together to find the best solutions to meet our goals.

Tell us about a memorable incident.

We once had three freighters on the ground at the same time in Copenhagen: one flight was heading to the US and two flights were returning to Dubai. This was unusual for the CPH station, and it required close coordination with all our ground-handling colleagues. We managed to send off all flights on time thanks to great teamwork. I will always remember the spirit of the team that came together to make it happen. Since joining the Dubai team, my role has become more commercial and planning-based, but I continue to use and share the knowledge gained from my operations experience with my colleagues.

If you weren’t in freighter operations, what would you being doing?

Ever since high school I have known that I wanted to work in logistics. I started my career in aviation at the age of 19, when I joined a freight forwarding company, and have since gained over 18 years of experience. I am glad I work in the aviation sector, which is continuously developing.

What do you do to de-stress?

I go to the gym a few times a week. It keeps my mind clear, and I feel relaxed and recharged after a good workout. At the weekend, you can find me with a book by the pool, or out exploring Dubai and the UAE’s many interesting sites with friends. I am passionate about traveling and exploring the world, and my bucket list of places to visit seems to be growing longer by the day.

Casey Pottorff

When did you join Emirates?

I joined Emirates on 19 November 2017. I still consider myself a newbie!

What do you do as a Medical Training Officer?

As part of Group Medical Training (GMT), I’m responsible for the initial and annual recurrent medical training for cabin crew. I personally train about 250-300 colleagues per month. There are up to six batches of cabin crew annual recurrent trainings held every day, with around 20 cabin crew colleagues in each batch. The training includes basic life support along with aviation-related first aid techniques that enable the crew to deal with any medical emergencies that may occur onboard. We also conduct different medical trainings for senior crew members and pilots, including how to use onboard medical kits and equipment. In addition to working with crew, GMT also trains all ground-based first-aiders across the Group.

What do you love about your job?

I love the team of trainers I get to work with every day. They are supportive and make my job interesting and fun. I’m thankful that although I’m the newest member on the team, they’ve welcomed me into the GMT family. I also enjoy working with cabin crew colleagues because I get to learn about their varied backgrounds and interesting travel experiences during the course of our training.Another opportunity I’m excited about is the chance to volunteer with GMT as a first aider at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in November.

Tell us about any funny incidents that have occurred on the job.

One of the things I really enjoy about working in GMT is the humor that naturally comes from the integration of so many cultures, languages and backgrounds. During a recent training session, I looked at the clock at 12:10 pm and asked the group of trainees to return from their break at “twenty to” (meaning 12:40 pm). The trainees all took a very short break and came back to class 12 minutes later. They assumed that I had asked them to come back to class at 12:22 pm! This was not just funny, but also an eye-opening experience. I feel these instances are an opportunity to develop a more open and caring mind-set toward people from different cultures. They’ll hopefully make me a better communicator going forward.

If you weren’t in the medical field, what would you be doing?

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is own and run a guesthouse or bed and breakfast in a beautiful location. I imagine it being like the hotel in the movie Mamma Mia. I think Zanzibar would be a great choice, but anywhere picturesque with good weather and a relaxed atmosphere would be perfect.The idea of living somewhere tranquil and beautiful while being able to host people from all over the world sounds like a great job to me.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I live in Al Ain, so when it’s not blazing hot I enjoy being outside, playing Ultimate Frisbee in one of the city’s parks or barbecuing in the desert. I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends for brunches and dinners. I’m also trying to improve my fitness levels. I’ve boycotted elevators and use the stairs as often as possible each day. Every morning I grab a coffee with my colleagues in the cafeteria, which is on the seventh floor. The GMT office is on the fourth floor and our classrooms are on the 7th floor. Walking up and down between these locations works out to an average of about 30 flights of stairs a day. A few of my colleagues have also joined me on this ‘stair challenge’ – the more the merrier!

Where do you enjoy traveling to?

I really appreciate the travel benefits that come with the job. I enjoy going home to see my family in the US. Since joining Emirates, I’ve visited Cape Town and Prague. I love both these cities. I’ve got an upcoming trip planned to Taiwan in October to visit friends. I think my favorite destinations will always be those where I also get to meet up with loved ones.

Darryn Janse Van Vuuren

What does your job involve?

I manage the Safari Operations team, which includes everyone who contributes to the running of our desert adventures – from supervisors in the field, who oversee desert excursions and safari activities, to the grooms who train camels for polo games.

What are your career highlights so far?

I joined Arabian Adventures in March 2016, and since then I’ve helped create and train our safari team. I’ve also developed our fauna and flora training manual, which is now being used by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing for all Dubai-based safari guides.

What are some of the challenges you face at work?

Each day is different and presents a new set of challenges. We deal with last-minute cancellations, vehicle breakdowns and difficult weather conditions such as sandstorms and extreme heat. But I don’t handle these on my own. I have fantastic colleagues and a great support structure to ensure smooth and efficient operations. What do you love about your job? I enjoy showing people a different side of Dubai. There’s another world beyond the towering skyscrapers, high-end hotels and ultra-modern malls, and it’s wild, beautiful and exciting. I love showcasing the natural beauty of the UAE. The desert, wildlife and culture are so unique here. It’s also rewarding to see how guides in my team have evolved as they gain more experience. Guides are trained to spot and track animal footprints, and people really enjoy the local knowledge that they bring to our safaris.

What are some of the best outdoor activities that the UAE has to offer?

My personal favorite is the buggy excursion. We have these insanely high-powered off-road buggies that can go anywhere — they are great fun and super exciting. I also suggest: The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for a desert safari, camel trekking and luxury overnight camping.The Hatta Mountains for mountain biking, dirt biking and hiking. A trip to Lisaili for dune biking. Exploring the Mleiha archaeological site for its caves, tombs and museum. Jet skiing around the Palm Islands. And if you’re looking for something really unique , join us for a wildlife night drive. You’ll take a trip through the desert at night and get the opportunity to see the Arabian oryx, red fox and desert hare in their natural habitat.

If you weren’t in safari operations what would you be doing?

I’ve always wanted to work outdoors and was a game ranger in South Africa, my home country. If I wasn’t working on safari operations in Dubai, I’d be a game ranger back home.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

A good training session at the gym helps me relax. I work out in the evenings after work. I try and break my routine with a boxing session on Saturdays. I find that diet is the most important factor to keep fit. If you eat healthy, the rest is easy.

Jason Sidhu

When did you join Emirates?

I joined in May 2007 as a Customer Service Agent. I moved to the Melbourne Ticketing Office in 2011. In 2016, I joined the Sales Team as a Sales Support Assistant.

What does your role involve?

My job is to support Melbourne Sales colleagues in marketing Emirates’ products and services to the regional market. I assist the team focusing on group travel from Victoria and Tasmania, across various market segments including MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), religious travel and educational tours. I’ve also had the privilege of supporting the team at retail travel expos, and at events sponsored by Emirates, including a performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Open tennis tournament.

What are the highlights of your career so far?

The opportunities I’ve received, friends I’ve made, and my personal and professional growth are all important. That said, my journey with Emirates over the past 11 years has been filled with special moments. I was really excited to win the Chairman’s Award for Sales Excellence for Best Sales Support for 2017-18, in November. I received the award for my efforts in helping the Melbourne team generate a 2.5% revenue increase. I also helped the team secure the business of a large education group, which contributed AUD 1.06 million to the team’s revenue, showing a growth of 525% over the previous financial year. I supported the growth of our Hajj travel as well, which increased by 11.85% over the previous financial year.

What are some of the challenges you face on the job?

Every day brings new opportunities and that’s one of the best things about working with Emirates. Work never feels like a routine. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with competitors. The competition is tough and players are aplenty. In order to stay ahead, I actively monitor our competitors and market pricing.

What do you love about your job?

I enjoy being part of the Emirates family. I am constantly learning something new every day. My colleagues make my job fun and my managers are great. The fast pace, continuous growth and the opportunities to source new business are the other things I love most.

What are some of your memorable incidents on the job?

Hosting our customers at the 2012 Australian Open was an amazing experience, and they loved it. The icing on the cake was seeing tennis legends – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – in action.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I do CrossFit four times a week. Exercising takes my mind off work and provides a creative outlet. On my off days, you can find me at the gym or out for a run along Melbourne’s foreshore. I’m a foodie and like visiting the latest restaurants in the city. I love sharing a meal with close friends, and end the day listening to great music.

John Bateson

When did you join Emirates?

I joined the company in July 2011. I started with Image and Uniform Training and then moved to Uniform Standards in 2015.

Your job title – Uniform Standards Specialist – is unusual. What does it involve?

I am responsible for providing wellness advice and support to cabin crew, and setting up programs that reinforce the cornerstones of well-being: sleep, nutrition, activity, and stress management. I arrange seminars, wellness initiatives and campaigns targeting relevant aspects of health and well-being for cabin crew colleagues. I also work closely with other departments, including Emirates Clinic and Employee Assistance Program (EAP), to ensure crew have the right support. I meet with crew daily to offer guidance on aspects of wellness that are specific to their needs. I help them set short and long-term goals to stay on track with healthy lifestyle choices for their specific needs. Referrals come to us from managers, crew members, and support services such as the clinic or EAP. Some crew also request meetings to discuss different aspects of their wellness.

What are the highlights of your career?

It’s been a privilege to receive Najms for my work. These include one for organizing a wellness campaign at Departures in 2012 with Dawn Robertson, and fitness and nutrition colleagues. I’ve received three more since: in January 2015, for supporting a Group Learning & Development wellness event in which I provided one-on-one sessions for colleagues; in April 2013, for creating training videos for different hair styles in Image & Uniform; I received my most recent Najm in November 2017, for supporting campaigns at EGHQ’s Crew Arrivals in which we invited a number of companies that make wellness products to interact with the crew and provide information relevant to a healthy lifestyle. We were also invited to join a safety campaign to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in a variety of drinks and provide general nutritional guidance. I also love the opportunity to help people on a daily basis to improve different aspects of their well-being – from increased energy levels to enhanced fitness levels and greater confidence.

Tell us about the challenges you face on the job?

Working with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds means that food choices and the general perception of wellness can vary from person to person. For example, in some cultures it is normal to have a large meal at the end of the day as part of a family sit-down dinner. When a person raised in this environment comes to Dubai, they may continue having late evening dinners, but instead of a nutritious, home-cooked meal they are eating fast food and drinking fizzy drinks while watching TV – and often alone. They no longer have the quality social interactions that are beneficial to reducing stress. Eating meals deficient in nutrients and high in calories can also lead to weight gain, low energy and other health issues. New cabin crew often struggle to adjust to irregular sleep patterns that come with the role. Then the excitement of traveling to new cities, sightseeing and new foods may lead to dramatic changes in their lifestyle. I help colleagues understand how these patterns can affect their health, and what they need to do to follow a healthy, stress-free lifestyle.

What are your best memories on the job?

These would have to be during the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) in 2017. With the start of the 30X30 challenge, I posted a short video every day on Yammer to encourage people to try different exercises. Also, every day during the month-long challenge, Dawn and I would encourage people in our area to complete simple exercises. It was great to see the smiles on everyone’s faces after they had completed them. Colleagues were excited to improve their fitness levels. I’m sure we’ll see the same enthusiasm during DFC this year.

If you weren’t into wellness, what would you be doing instead?

I’ve worked in the wellness industry for 25 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. I enjoy incorporating the new wellness concepts I’ve learned from books, podcasts and seminars into my work and personal life.

How do you relax after work?

I enjoy exercising regularly at the gym. When the weather is cooler, I cycle at Al Qudra track. I also love tech gadgets so when I’m not exercising, you’ll find me flying my drone or shooting short videos of the trips I take with my wife.

Reshma Patricia Monteiro

When did you join Emirates and in what role?

I joined on 3 April 2004 as a check-in agent.

What are the highlights of your career so far?

I’ve worked for the world’s best airline for the past 14 years, and I’ve loved every moment of it. I’ve had the opportunity to work in various departments in Airport Services – from check-in and boarding to the Transfer Desk, Hub Control Centre and now, Ground Dispatch.

What do you do as a ground dispatcher?

I supervise all turnaround activities during the arrival and departure of Emirates and Qantas aircraft at DXB. This includes disembarking and boarding customers, loading and unloading cargo and baggage, cleaning and catering, offloading baggage belonging to customers who report late to the gate, and connecting and retracting aerobridges. I also make last-minute changes to the load sheet, which is handed to the captain before the aircraft is ready for take-off. It’s my responsibility to ensure our aircraft are released safely, and in accordance with procedures set by Emirates and Dubai Airports.

Tell us about Dubai Airports’ Customer Service Award (ACE) you received recently.

I was nominated by my shift controller for assisting a 77-year-old transiting customer, who was offloaded in Dubai from her flight to Budapest. Her foot was very swollen, and she needed immediate medical attention. The lady only spoke Hungarian and was quite distressed. Cabin crew colleagues managed to get her off the aircraft, but she refused to leave in the waiting ambulance and wouldn’t calm down. I called our department’s only Hungarian dispatcher - she was on annual leave, but I asked her to explain the situation to the lady. After two hours, she eventually calmed down and we took her to the Airport Medical Centre. She travelled to Budapest the next day. We briefed the crew about her condition, so she would receive special care.

What are the challenges you face on the ramp and how do you deal with it?

The biggest challenge is the adverse weather conditions we work under, especially during peak summer. I make sure my colleagues and I are well hydrated throughout our shift.

What do you like doing outside work?

I love listening to music. Dancing is also a passion. These hobbies help me relax and de-stress.