The TAC Associate Commitment - TAC Air Dives Into Employee Support and Elevated Customer Service
TAC Air goes in-depth with the CleanFlying Coalition in this interview-style article to discuss their involvement in NATA's Safety 1st Clean program, their own operational changes in response to COVID-19 including the TAC Associate Commitment, and the response that TAC Air employees have regarding these changes.
All 15 TAC Air FBO locations are certified under the NATA Safety 1st Clean program to reinforce the company’s commitment to the safety and well-being of customers and associates. With the leadership of Bob Schick, TAC Air Director of Operations Support, the NATA initiative helped accelerate the implementation of strict protocols to ensure the levels of sanitization met the guidelines of the CDC and local/state health officials.
“The safety and health of TAC Air associates and customers is paramount. The adjustments made enhance everyone’s safety and participation in the NATA Safety 1st Clean program gives travelers the knowledge of our clean and healthy environments,” stated TAC Air Chief Operating Officer Joe Gibney.
During the beginning onset of the pandemic, TAC Air quickly identified the risks and implemented cleaning and sanitization safety measures inside the facilities and outside on the ramp that reduced potential spread. In addition to cleaning, employee separation, face coverings and split shift assignments helped to mitigate potential exposure.
The first step was approaching all cleanliness and safety guidelines through our established and rigorous standards with a team focus to ensure we met state, local and CDC guidelines. As a part of these new standards, the TAC Air COVID-19 Safety Protocol response was developed. The response can be found on the company website header at www.TACair.com.
To keep the facilities clean and to protect customers and associates, TAC Air personnel are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face coverings and gloves as appropriate and social distance when in confined spaces. Shuttle vans and courtesy vehicles are thoroughly disinfected after each use, and special Safety Green “Sanitized & Clean” stickers are placed across vehicle door handles to signify they are cleaned and ready for use. Other areas receiving special attention include catering and complimentary ice, both sealed with the same Safety Green stickers and delivered to the aircraft wearing gloves and face coverings.
“We have the responsibility to protect customers visiting TAC Air,” said TAC Air Director of Operations Support Bob Schick. “We have focused on enhancing the cleaning protocols within our FBOs and how we handle customers as they travel through our facilities, from business to military to first responders, in this time of COVID-19.”
Upon entering a TAC Air FBO terminal, customers appreciate the hand sanitizing stations available at all points of contact, from door to front counter. They notice furniture has been rearranged to support proper social distancing while still allowing a comfortable place for individuals or families/groups travelling together to sit while waiting on their flights. All areas are frequently cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day, and customers have expressed appreciation for those they see cleaning. Customer feedback says they feel safe with the extra measures being taken behind TAC Air transaction counters to be as touch-free as possible.
Each traveler has different needs and are great at asking for assistance with their own efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most notable are the travelers and crew that have been over communicating to make sure everyone is aware of their schedules, accommodations and special requests. The phrase, ‘we are all in this together’ helps demonstrate how everyone has been helpful and flexible with the changes that have taken place.
Like most everyone working as an essential employee at the start of the pandemic, TAC Air associates quickly reacted to the needs for enhanced cleaning, touchless transactions and wearing a face covering. In fact, the adoption of the new procedures was swift. Everyone understands their role in helping flatten the curve and the need to protect themselves, their families and customers utilizing the terminal and hangar facilities.
It doesn’t go without saying, the hardest adjustment for the Line Service Technicians has been wearing a 2-ply face covering on the ramp when it is 110 degrees with a heat index over 120 degrees. Regardless, if you enter a TAC Air ramp your aircraft will be greeted with face covered associates and the biggest smiles, which are somewhat still visible through the face coverings (if that’s possible).
The shift alterations required at the beginning have gone back to normal shift rotations, making the expected time at work more predictable as the traffic of aircraft has increased through the summer months. TAC Air - SHV General Manager Steven Ryberg observed team members helping each other when TAC Air first implemented the new safety protocols. He recalls, “I saw peers reminding one another to wear face coverings during the first few weeks of the new procedures. Now, face coverings have become second nature for associates to wear as part of their uniforms and are as natural as wearing their airport badges.”
Beginning in March, through a company-wide Virtual Town Hall meeting, executive leadership announced the changes taking place for all associates across TAC - The Arnold Companies (parent company to TAC Air, Keystone Aviation and TACenergy), including remote working when possible and separated shifts. The leadership team communicated the company’s first and primary goal was to ensure the well-being and health of associates and their families—the TAC Associate Commitment. Chairman & CEO Greg Arnold provided his commitment to keeping all active associates on the payroll through this time period. This commitment has helped the company maintain the levels of service expected by customers from well-trained, experienced employees and has helped the associates stay focused on what is important in this time—their health and families. Arnold reiterated in a recent communication to the company, “It has been our commitment from the start to maintain the current workforce with no furloughs and no pay cuts.”
The COVID situation has been stressful in general, and not worrying about job stability helps alleviate stress. TAC Air associates go about their days with peace of mind and that translates into focus on doing a good job and providing the highest level of service. “Since the company is showing associates compassion and they know company leadership truly cares about their well-being, associates want to stay safe and healthy. When they don’t worry they can continue to offer the best services, as safely as possible, to TAC Air customers,” stated TAC Air-APA General Manager Michael Welch.
TAC Air has invested in attracting, hiring, training and educating top-notch individuals. That’s what makes our service to our customers so great. Protecting the quality of our team members during the COVID pandemic and in the long term, employee retention is more cost-effective for the company and helps us continue to meet the demands of aviation customers in both general and commercial aviation. “The safety-conscious environment at FBOs requires qualified, highly-skilled associates like we have at TAC Air,” explained Ryberg. “To lose this great group of people would be detrimental to daily operations and morale. We are fortunate to have associates who are committed to our business as much as the leadership is to them.”
Following the NATA Safety 1st Clean guidelines has given associates peace of mind knowing the company is meeting industry standards and doing everything possible to keep them safe at work, which in turn limits the risk of exposing their families. “Associates’ commitment has enabled TAC Air to maintain business continuity as we provide customers ‘SERVICE WITH NO CEILING’ at our FBOs across the country,” stated Welch. “The associates are accustomed to protocols and procedures with every part of their job. Having new rules of cleaning, sanitizing and distancing is now a routine part of those procedures.”
Knowing the company is committed to its associates allows them to focus on delivering the right levels of customer service without distraction. “My team and I have peace of mind knowing our jobs are safe, so we can stay focused on our health and safety and provide great service when at work. These times aren’t easy to deal with for anyone, but this kind of commitment from my employer is a huge stress reliever. I really appreciate everything TAC is doing to help,” said TAC Air - DAL Customer Service Manager Hunter Davies.