Jocelyn Lebell is Director of Corporate Services at Hawkair. In this interview she speaks with YVR-based Taryn Acheson, Hawkair Manager of Regulatory Affairs. Hawkair is a regional airline known for it’s guest experience serving Northern BC out of Vancovuer International airport.
Taryn Acheson is responsible for overseeing the regulatory relationships of the airline within all business units. She took the position in August 2014, having led the safety department at the airline prior to the appointment. Acheson is part of the Women in Leadership Executive Development Program and has been a team member for over 10 years.
JL: Taryn congratulations firstly, you’ve just recently completed the third successful TC Assessment / Program Validation Inspection in a row. With the success it leads to wonder what’s the future of SMS for Hawkair?
TA: The key to a successful SMS is continual improvement. I envision a Safety Management System for Hawkair that is in constant growth. With our new online reporting system we now have a system that will grow with us and will be a leader in the online SMS systems for the aviation industry. As we continue to receive more buy in from the employees our reporting will increase creating increased awareness of safety. Our processes will become more efficient and safety will continue to be at the forefront of all decision making at Hawkair.
“Within Hawkair we have created a positive safety culture where reporting and keeping safety top of mind during decision making is prevalent. I am proud of where our SMS is at and where it is headed.”
JL: You started off in Customer Service, how has that background shaped your vision of safety?
TA: Working in customer service gave me the experience of working with numerous departments within Hawkair. I was able to see how management decisions and procedures affect our guests and the everyday operations of the company. I am able to now make informed decisions and recommendations which will benefit the safety of Hawkair. I am also able to identify with employees which helps me in communication on safety awareness and promotion of our SMS.
JL: You’ve been leading the safety area and have seen how the industry has evolved, what’s the biggest opportunity to improve safety in the industry today?
TA: Knowledge is power! The more safety information that can be relayed to air operators and their employees the safer the aviation industry will be. Through further communication and training I believe this is an achievable goal. Over the years Transport Canada has been taking a more hands on approach with SMS for air operators which has made a large difference in improving the SMS of airlines.
JL: You’ve been involved with SMS for more than 10 years and right from its inception by the industry, tell us what you’re most proud of.
TA: I am most proud of how much SMS has grown. In reality when SMS first was introduced to aviation, not many people really understood what it was and how it would benefit the aviation industry. Over the years SMS has matured and the underlying purpose has proved successful. Within Hawkair we have created a positive safety culture where reporting and keeping safety top of mind during decision making is prevalent. I am proud of where our SMS is at and where it is headed.
JL: What do you like most about your role as Manager of Regulatory Affairs?
TA: I love the fact that SMS is companywide. Every employee and contractor plays a role in our SMS. I am able to work closely with each department and am able to make a difference which is rewarding.
JL: What is the most challenging part of your job?
TA: Every company is different and therefore so is every company’s SMS. Each auditor and inspector tend to have different opinions and requirements of SMS. It is challenging at times to appease them all however at the end of the day I make sure our SMS works for us and our company culture.
JL: What advice can you give to a Hawkair employee who is interested in gaining more experience in SMS?
TA: Get involved!
There are many ways to get involved in SMS. SMS is companywide so every employee has a voice in it and our SMS department wants to hear it. Employees can report using our HHER system, join our Workplace Health and Safety Committee, participate in Safety surveys and also come visit the SMS department as our door is always open.