2020 Safety Award nominee Q&A: Ed Rowe, NAMS

In the third of a nine-part Q&A series, NAMS Passenger Ramp Lead Ed Rowe answers questions about his life, career, and nomination for this year’s awards.

Northern Air Maintenance Services Passenger Ramp Lead Ed Rowe was nominated for  Safety Award because he goes out of his way to share ideas that simplify new or existing procedures. The simplification of a process establishes less room for a safety hazard and error. With each step in a process, there’s the potential for a new hazard. Eliminating unnecessary steps eliminates hazards.

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? 

I grew up in Michigan City, Indiana. I graduated from Rogers High School in 1991.

Tell me about your career, your current position, and what led you to it.

In 2001, after the military, I began working for Northern Air Cargo as a Warehouse Agent until 2004, when I accepted a position working at NAMS. I have been the Passenger Ramp Lead for over 12 years.

In your own words, why were you nominated for a safety award?

I didn’t think a nomination was possible for something I do on a day-to-day basis. I constantly try to share my ideas, knowledge, and experience consistently to provide a better and safer environment for myself, co-workers, and the Management Team.

Is there something in your life that drove your commitment to safety? How did you end up so focused on it?

The military and working with NAMS and other airlines is what has made me more safety conscious and committed to safety. Commitment makes safety practices meaningful. I believe that it inspires others to contribute to a safer work as well as your personal environment.

What was your first impression of NAMS? Tell us your favorite story about your time with the company. 

My first impression of NAMS was that it would be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge/ experience further to working with contract airline services and passengers. A memorable time with the company was when we first started the contract with Conoco Phillips/BP. We started with three 737-200s, then a few years later, three new 737-700s arrived, and it turned into a completely different operation which required additional training for both Ground Services and Maintenance. The new A/C was worth the additional training. I always like learning different things…it keeps it interesting.

Think about a time in your career when you felt like what you were doing was somehow less than completely safe. What did you learn from that experience? 

A time in my career when I felt like I was doing something less than completely safe is when I once brought in an A/C by myself. I was short on personnel and brought it with no wing walkers. I was doing it safely, but I should have stopped operations immediately and delayed the flight until I could get more assistance.

Speaking up for safety can be difficult for some people. What advice would you give to someone within our family of companies who’s convinced their feedback won’t matter – or worse, that they’ll somehow be punished for taking action? 

Feedback and speaking up make a difference and can save a life. If you have a feeling that something is unsafe, it probably is. Never let the fear of repercussions stop you from speaking up.

Jozette Montalvo, Vice President of Human Resources for Hawaii Petroleum, is the 2020 winner of the Mike Garvey Award for Distinguished Service in Safety. Read her story here!