COVID might mean there are less planes coming and going, but Brisbane Airport is very much still open for business. And like any asset, the airport needs to be constantly maintained to ensure it is kept to the highest standard for the safety of everyone at BNE.
And that’s where people like Andrew Gott play an important role. Andrew is a Project Manager at Brisbane Airport, working within the Property Team.
When he’s not shooting hoops or hanging out with his family at the beach, you might find him in some unusual places at the airport – on the roof of the International Terminal, at the end of the high intensity approach lighting (HIAL) jetty or up the top of an apron lighting tower, to name a few.
An electrician by trade, he first started working in the aviation industry about 15 years ago at the RAAF base in Amberley. There, he looked after all the electrical works at the base, including airfield lighting. This experience put him in close contact with some memorable aircraft.
"Back then we were able to work right up beside the runway while F111s were taking off and landing. We also used to go out on the airfield whilst they practiced for Riverfire and other air shows.”
In 2008, Andrew began working at Brisbane Airport as a sub-contractor, finally making the move to a fully-fledged employee a few years ago.
“The things I love the most about working here are that one, every day is different, two, you feel like you are contributing to the greater community, and three, the people I get to work with are amazing. There are so many great people that work here and there is a genuine sense of care throughout the business.”
He’s a great person to talk with for a behind the scenes look at the airport, not only because of his knowledge and experience, but also because he cares about sharing it with others. He always tries to use his role to connect different areas of the business - in fact this is something about which he is very passionate.
“I am very fortunate to be able to get out of the office and enjoy the results of everyone’s hard work when it comes to project delivery. We deliver some interesting projects out here. A lot of people contribute to these that may never even see the final product. With this in mind, I make an effort to take the more office-based members of the team out to see what they have been a part of. ”
One of the projects Andrew has been working on recently is an upgrade to the lighting poles across all four aircraft aprons at Brisbane Airport (Domestic Terminal, International Terminal, General Aviation, Logistics).
Given that BNE is located adjacent to Moreton Bay, corrosion management is embedded within our maintenance schedules. As part of this project, the light tower headframes were upgraded to a new design that will allow mother nature to rinse off the corrosive salts. The new headframes also allow for future options, such as the installation of LED fittings.
Despite the daily challenges posed by working in an operational airside environment, the successful collaboration between BAC, CV Energy Services and the various stakeholders on Airport means the Apron Lighting project will be completed ahead of schedule. Andrew attributes the success to the communication and collaboration of all involved.
You can tell a lot about Andrew by the response he gave when asked to be profiled in this story.
“Happy to help, although I wouldn’t want to be singled out at all in relation to the success of this project. There are a lot of people that have made this successful and I just bring them together.”
He continues to give more credit to the BNE Facilities Team by explaining how they have taken a more hands on role in asset management in the past year. Where previously BAC would have typically used external contractors, the impact of COVID saw the team tasked with implementing strategies to reduce contractor/utilities costs and implement energy saving measures. The result was a bit of DIY - skilled and qualified DIY that is!
Turning back the clock to work on the assets and facilities themselves was a positive outcome for Andrew. It meant spending less time in the office and more time exploring the lesser-known parts of the airport. Undertaking maintenance projects such as the roof of the International Terminal, the roof of the multi-level carparks, the HIAL jetty out into Moreton Bay and the runways means that Andrew and the team often find themselves with the best views of arriving and departing aircraft.
“I never tire of the views. Never! It still amazes me that those things can fly. We have such amazing views out here. Uninterrupted really, in all directions.”
The best view of all, according to Andrew, is standing on the HIAL jetty while a plane is landing over you, with Moreton Bay in the background. Looking at his photos, we can't say we disagree.