Ensuring Every Passenger Engagement Experience Is a Memorable One
If you recently visited Orlando International Airport, chances are you may have been within earshot of Transportation Security Officer Ivan Hernandez. Hernandez started with TSA ten years ago in Newark, New Jersey, and transferred to Orlando in 2011. Over the course of his career he has developed a reputation for engaging customer service and a knack for leaving positive, lasting impressions on passengers. Just last year, more than 80 compliments were submitted to Orlando’s Customer Service department on behalf of Hernandez, and this year he is already up to nearly 30 and counting.
A New York native, the events of September 11th shaped Hernandez and serve as the driving force behind his decision to begin a career with TSA. Following those tragic events, he spent months grieving the loss of close friends, comforting family, and attending funerals. That passion extends to the checkpoint, where he works hard to ensure every passenger engagement is a positive one. Throughout the years, he has taken many queues from his engagement and conflict management training -- which have helped him sharpen his skill sets and make him a passenger favorite.
“What I do matters because I know our mission is about as important as it gets and I am proud to do my part to ensure everyone’s security. Whether I am working as the Divestiture Officer, the Ticket Document Checker, or positioned at the Walk Through Metal Detector, I know that in most cases how I start a passenger engagement will determine whether that passenger’s security experience remains a positive one. Earning the passenger’s respect right off the bat has the added benefit of them also respecting my role and that of my colleagues – we are doing our job to make sure they arrive safely at their destination.
"What I find most rewarding about my job is knowing that if I start the passenger off on the right foot with the right attitude and information, that will have a ripple effect as they move through security. It means a better experience for what the X-ray operator needs to do and the Dynamic Officer and the Search Officer will have fewer bag checks and pat downs. In the end, it is all about collaborating with each other, the passengers and Officers, toward the same goal.
"What I find most challenging about my job is managing the multiple responsibilities required to operate a busy checkpoint. From lane rotations to filling in for my supervisor, conducting private screenings and the many other duties that pop up, I always remember that when I am called on to engage with a passenger I need to make sure I am 100 percent focused on that traveler. My interaction with everyone who comes through our lanes, however brief, can make a positive difference at the checkpoint for the traveling public.”
From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs