Spirit of Service Award Honors Navigators
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Navigator volunteer program is well-known throughout the aviation industry, to travelers and local residents. No doubt if you have traveled through Sky Harbor you have seen the helpful and friendly individuals in purple jackets with “Ask Me” buttons. But on Tuesday, July 13, the Navigator program received high honors at the annual Governor’s Tourism Awards presented by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT).
Each year, the AOT presents awards to honor organizations and individuals for the important contributions they have made to Arizona’s tourism industry over the course of the past year. The Navigator program was recognized with the Spirit of Service award which honors volunteers who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to Arizona’s tourism industry and go above and beyond with outstanding customer service.
So just what do the Navigators do and how have they helped Arizona? Navigators are volunteers whose mission is to help travelers have a positive and easy travel experience while at Sky Harbor. In addition to answering questions and providing information, Navigators are often the first faces people see when they come into the Airport.
The program started in 2000 with 20 volunteers and since that time has grown to over 330 volunteers who serve throughout the Airport. During very busy times at the Airport, Navigators assist with special events whether it’s welcoming Santa to the Airport for a holiday celebration, directing attendees to military soldiers’ homecomings, singing for Customer Appreciation Day or just making someone’s day brighter.
In 2009 alone, Navigators helped more than 39 million passengers at Sky Harbor and donated over 59,000 hours of their time to the program. With their passion for helping people and the Airport, they truly are a dedicated group.
”The Navigator program is unique in that they are the only volunteer group of this size in the state of Arizona that is dedicated to helping promote tourism and relieve the stress of travel,” said PHX Sky Harbor Customer Service Manager Alisa Smith.
It is fitting that the Navigators receive this award as this year marks the 10th anniversary of the program.
“For the past ten years, Navigators have volunteered their own time to welcome millions of our state’s visitors and residents,” said Smith.
In order to become a Navigator, volunteers complete eight weeks of training where they learn all about the Airport so that they can answer passenger questions with ease and accuracy. Many of the Navigators are also CPR certified and know how to use Automatic External Defibrillators so that they can assist in medical emergencies.
Does the Navigator program sound like something you might be interested in or do you know someone who might be interested? PHX Sky Harbor is currently seeking more volunteers for the upcoming training in September. For more information, click here to visit the Customer Service section of the website.
In the photo above right, Deputy Aviation Director Deborah Ostreicher (center) accepts the Spirit of Service Award on behalf of PHX Sky Harbor from Governor Jan Brewer (left) and Arizona Office of Tourism Director Sherry Henry (right).
First posted: 7/21/2010