The answer to the above question is a complex one when you work in the Operations Department of CAK. Throughout our travels, the subject of our occupations inevitably comes up in conversation. When I tell people that I work for the airport, I am usually asked one of two questions; "Are you one of those people who holds the orange batons and parks airplanes?" or "Are you one of those people who looks at the radar and directs airplanes as they land?" My answer to the first question is, "No, aircraft marshallers are employees of the airlines." My answer to the second question is, "No, air traffic controllers are employees of the FAA." At this point, the person who has asked me what I do for a living will often get a confused look on their face and will ask me a question that I have heard countless times, "So what exactly do you do?"
I tell them that the Operations Department is ultimately responsible for all activities occurring on the airfield. We inspect the runways, taxiways, and airport facilities to ensure that they are safe for aircraft operations. We ensure that CAK complies with FAA and TSA regulations regarding airports, and we are firefighters who respond to aircraft emergencies. These are the main responsibilities that we have, but there have been so many more. I have travelled to the Rosenbauer fire truck plant in Minnesota to do a pre-delivery inspection on one of our two new aircraft rescue trucks. I have helped get the football teams to and from their chartered planes when Canton hosts The Pro Football Hall of Fame game. And just yesterday, I spent 9 hours (in addition to my normal 8 hour shift) working the snow desk during the winter storm that we Northeast Ohioans experienced. When people ask, "So what exactly do you do?" - I think to myself, "I wouldn't do anything else."