Mike Thames Honored for Excellence

Punta Gorda Airport’s Mike Thames Honored by the Florida Airports Council for Excellence in Operations

PUNTA GORDA, FL (August 4, 2022) – The Florida Airports Council (FAC) named Gregory “Mike” Thames as its 2022 recipient of the Al Gulamali Award for Excellence in Airport Operations at its annual conference in Orlando on August 3, 2022.

The award selection panel chose Mike Thames, ACE AMP, Safety and Security Compliance Specialist at Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), out of an elite pool of nominees excelling in operational improvements at Florida’s airports. Mike’s nomination demonstrated his “positive contribution to an airport, the traveling public, or to the aviation community.”

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, airports nationwide are experiencing a rapid introduction of “new to aviation” staff, stakeholder and passenger expectations. PGD set out to demonstrate its commitment to safety and security by providing staff, stakeholders and passengers with a single representative who is empowered to address concerns and implement measures to ensure safe and secure operations throughout the airport. Mike stepped into the role and took associated challenges head on.

Besides being a Navy Veteran with a background in safety and security, Mike has worked in both the airport operations and FBO fueling departments at PGD, gaining an extensive understanding of all aspects of the airport.  Within weeks of taking on his role of Safety and Security Compliance Specialist, Mike began implementing a Safety Management System at PGD.

“Mike has gone above and beyond to improve the safety culture at PGD, and has consistently shown enthusiasm in career development opportunities, ” said Ray Laroche, Director of Operations at PGD. “This recognition by FAC is well-deserved, and we hope it continues to encourage Mike and staff to take on new challenges.”

On the security side, MIke has become a subject matter expert in TSA regulations earning his Airport Security Coordinator (ASC) certification, as well as the AAAE ACE–Security designation. Mike is also one of two PGD team members that has earned his Airfield Marking Professional (AMP) certification which allows him to review and recommend mitigations for discrepancies with airfield markings.

To be eligible for FAC’s Honorary Al Gulamali Award for Excellence in Airport Operations Award, the individual must be actively working in the field of airport operations (airside, landside, or terminal), but not on a managerial level or a part of the airport’s executive staff.

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