Restrictions due to COVID-19 hit the travel and tourism industry hard. The number one priority? Safety. I recently sat down with Tom Stoudt, the Executive Director for Lehigh Valley International Airport, to discuss how he is leading a regional airport and facing this challenge head-on. Tom, with a unique background as an aircraft mechanic who rose through the ranks into the executive suite, provides the key to his success as a leader: Collaboration. He also provides an insider look at how airports and airlines are preparing to move beyond the pandemic to provide a safe environment for workers and the public.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The art and science of engineering safety into the system.
- The impressive team it takes to get planes off the ground in a heavy infrastructure environment.
- Assigning deputies and the importance of not operating in isolation.
- How Tom’s background as an aircraft mechanic serves him in problem-solving as a leader.
- Being vigilant and focused as a leader. Preventing distraction and information overload.
- Communicating safety and ensure proper flow of information.
- Changing goals and shifting priorities in the face of major events (such as pandemics).
- Building a strong and diverse team. Trusting that team and making sure to listen as their leader.
STAY TUNED: Dennis asks Tom for an insider’s perspective on what aviation and the travel industry will look like beyond COVID-19.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Simon Sinek’s Podcast
- The Ziglar Show Podcast
- Peter Drucker, the “father of management”
- Les Brown Greatness Radio (not mentioned but recommended by Tom)
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill