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International Airport, because Manitoba is where he’s from. “My wife, Melanie, jokes that we need an extra hour whenever we pass through Winnipeg for me to talk to ev- eryone.”

How it all started Mark got involved in the aviation industry at an early

age. At 18 his first job was for Pacific Western Airlines. Working out of Hangar T126, an old Second World War hangar that has since been demolished, he had the illustri- ous job of driving the toilet truck. Let’s just say that al- though the position had stunk, he became enmeshed in the airport culture and it led to better things. Mark returned to school while working. “When I was

younger I was very involved with hockey. It was more im- portant than school. So I had to complete my education

people and station operation centres (which includes fuel- lers and food suppliers).” He is the end of the line when people’s bags are mishandled or delayed. “I actually deal with customers a lot,” he says. “It’s my product, my airline and I stand behind it.” Mark’s job is fulfilling. Te operations world is dynam-

ic, offering new challenges all the time. “I get a rush of adrenaline whenever there is a problem that we need to overcome. It’s a challenge I always rise to and enjoy solv- ing. It could be a broken aircraft or weather system that creates an operational issue; you just never know when or what it could be.” In addition to a stimulating and fulfilling position, the

work environment is second to none. “Te people at Air Canada are the best. We’re a big family and I’ve known

“I had the privilege of being one of the last people at the old terminal just before they shut the doors. It was an emotional time, and one I will never forget. The last Air Canada flight

came in and after everyone left I had one last walk around, remembering all of the times I had spent there before it was permanently closed and demolished.”

later, and I am proud to say that I am a business adminis- tration grad from Red River College. Tis opened the door for me, allowing me to work in management positions,” Mark recalls. After Pacific Western was absorbed by Canadian Air-

lines, Mark became their ramp and operations guy, and continued to rise up through the company’s management hierarchy. Tese positions gave him great insight into how the airline business really worked. He moved to Edmonton and then Vancouver. And when Air Canada bought out Canadian Airlines, he became their general manager for the Prairies followed by a position as the director of opera- tions for Vancouver airport. After taking a hiatus from the airline industry working

with Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, he managed to find his way back working for YVRAS, a company that oper- ates airports all around the world. Eventually, he came back to the fold, rejoining Air Can-

ada as the senior director of western operations, a position that led to his ultimate dream job. Tis past April (2015), he was promoted to managing director of airport opera- tions, North America. What does that mean?

Mark laughs, “Well, I am responsible for 10,000 employ-

ees, expenditures of $750-million per year and all airport operations in Canada and the United States utilized by Air Canada. Essentially, I ensure we deliver our product ap- propriately. Tat involves the ramp and customer service

some of them for many years. Tat is probably what I like best about working for the company.” Family life

Born and raised in Selkirk, Mark is still a proud Mani- toban. “I miss Manitoba. I am close with a group of guys I went to high school with in Selkirk, and I have a lot of family still here,” he says. Mark’s wife also hails from Sel- kirk and is the glue that keeps the family together while he is on the road. His daughter is studying fine arts, majoring in film, and his son, recently graduated from high school, is studying international economics. “Tey are both very bright and successful, like their mom. I am a very proud dad,” he says. “Melanie makes sense of the mayhem that is our life. It’s the only way to succeed in this type of job; to have a partner organizing the home front.” Mark still loves hockey and has managed to play on two teams through the years, although this year he has reduced that to one, given his increased responsibilities at work. “I just have fun playing the game and hanging around with the guys. We are the men’s club that just has to play,” he says of this other passion. He staunchly defends Manitoba and promotes it as a

great place to live wherever he goes, and he compares every beach to Grand Beach. Mark retains ownership of his fam- ily’s 60-year-old farm, and he doesn’t rule out the possibil- ity of returning to Manitoba one day, but those plans are for far into the future; for now, Mark is living the dream with his dream job.

Fall 2015 • 77

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