“If the right conductor finds the right orchestra at the right time, they can make beautiful music. The CEO of an airport is like a conductor, because they must be an expert integrator. We have over 400 companies that operate here. As CEO, it’s my role to bring all those players together, integrating them.
On our journey to become the best airport in the world, it isn’t a sprint. It’s a relay and each of us is running a section of that race. We need dynamic young people to join that race as the industry grows, because many of us may never see the finish line. For me, it is time to pass the baton to the next person, to pass on our dream of being the best.
Everyone works towards that dream at Pearson, to be the best and to be the safest. In my eight years here, this airport has added 17 million passengers. That is tremendous volume. Thanks to our 50,000 workers here, we have been voted North America’s best large airport for the last two years. At the same time as we have grown, we have become safer, making significant progress to reduce the danger to airport workers.
As I look back, even as the CEO you wonder if the staff accept you. I’d only been on the job a year and I was mingling with staff, having a coffee after an employee town hall. One of our machinists walked over to me and shook my hand. ‘Howard, welcome to the GTAA,’ he said. ‘I have a gift for you.’ It was a little key chain—I’ve used it ever since, that’s how much it meant to me.
To the 1,700 at the GTAA and the 50,000 at Toronto Pearson, keep chasing your dream. Race towards our vision and pass the baton to the next runner.”
- Howard, Former President and CEO, GTAA