Dee Dee, a bartender at Axel’s Bonfire, was nominated by Butch Howard of HMS HOST.
Here are Butch’s comments from his nominating essay.
Dee Dee Lind has worked at MSP Airport for more than 30 years! She exemplifies the term “going above and beyond” by consistently providing outstanding customer service and exceeding the expectations of guests at Axel’s Bonfire.
Dee Dee has an unbelievably positive and outgoing personality that’s impossible to miss. She goes out of her way to smile and chat with each guest, often eliciting laughter and smiles–no matter their mood when they walked in the door. A week doesn’t go by without receiving a compliment about her. She treats everyone as if they are her personal guest.
She also models great leadership and is well respected among her peers and managers. In fact, over the years she has trained more rookie managers than she cares to remember.
Following is a small sample of the many comments received about Dee Dee:
“I travel the world and she is among the best bartenders I have encountered.”
“Dee Dee is an outstanding bartender and the main reason I always stop by while on business. I visit the airport about 6 times a month and always stop by when Dee Dee is working. She is great!!!! A true asset to your business and the airport. Please let her know how much I appreciate her service and professionalism. She makes traveling through airports fun!!!”
“Just want to let you know that anytime I travel through MSP, I stop in for a beverage @ Axel’s because of the fabulous service we receive from Dee Dee every time we are in. She’s Great!”
“Dee Dee is an absolute gem of a bar host. One of those service people that really gets it – makes a long day on the road more than bearable – a real delight!”
“Our barkeeper rocked. Thanks for the memorable service.”
“We pass through Minneapolis a few times every year on our way to Canada to visit family. We will certainly be back to your restaurant in hopes of seeing DeeDee as much as having a drink and food. What a gem you have in DeeDee. She truly enjoys what she is doing and it shows!”
“Our experience was amazing due to the great service Dee Dee provided. What an amazing Lady!!!! She has the most bubbly, fun personality. I told her that I always said I wanted to be a southwest gate agent when I retire – not anymore – I want to work with Dee Dee – she gets to feed food, drinks and fun to travelers – some in a good mood and some grumpy ones – but they all leave in a good mood.”
Wayne, a “Red Coat” at Delta Air Lines, was nominated by four Delta employees: Nina Fontaine, Linda Nissen, Pat, Marrinan, and Sandra Fitzsimmons. Their essay reads:
Wayne Rychwalski has served Delta and its predecessors for more than 30 years at MSP. He possesses a rare combination of kindness, attentiveness and sincerity toward Delta passengers and team members alike. Time after time, Wayne has inspired unity and teamwork among his colleagues in the face of challenging flights and unforeseen changes in arrivals. Wayne is always quick to jump in and assist agents with meeting, greeting, boarding and setting up flights during busy times or if someone needs a break.
As a supervisor, Wayneoften arrives early or stays late to ensure that every flight is adequately covered throughout the day. He goes above and beyond to stay in contact with airport cleaning and maintenance staff in order to make sure his unit stays safe and clean. Wayne would probably take it upon himself to vacuum the jetways if he had a vacuum cleaner at the gates!
In the airline customer service industry, flexibility is a key attribute and Waynehas oodles of it. When Mother Nature throws us a curve and the operation is affected, he adjusts and smoothly change gears, all the while providing passengers who have had their travels interrupted with updated information.
One customer, recently impacted by a delayed flight from MSP to Seattle, sent a letter about Wayne saying, “It means a great deal to me when service employees dig into their humanity to help out a customer.”
Over the last three decades, monumental changes have occurred to both our airport and the airline industry. Through it all, Wayne’s dedication and commitment to making our airport community a better place for customers and fellow service employees alike has been a constant.
Aside from having an exemplary work ethic, Wayne is a genuinely good and caring person. He has a twinkle in his eye and a contagious smile that even the surliest of passengers cannot resist.
We are privileged to work with a model employee such as Wayne who is admired by so many. He inspires us to become better employees simply by having worked with him.
Melissa works as Public Affairs and Marketing Manager for the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). She was nominated by Public Affairs and Marketing’s Pat Hogan, Emberly Hermann-Johnson, and Kate Molitor, whose nomination essay follows.
A commitment to passengers and customers is inherent in Melissa’s philosophy and approach to everything she does: she consistently weighs how projects and actions will impact MSP Airport’s customers and makes decisions – or advocates for decisions by others – in the best interest of the customer.
Melissa has a take-charge personality, is highly organized, and always considers how best to motivate people to get tasks done. She leads by example: by considering potential impacts of decisions on customers first, she inspires others to do the same. She is quick to thank and reward airport colleagues for their efforts in helping move customer service projects forward, spending money from her own pocket on treats or other tokens of appreciation.
In 2010 Melissa’s actions helped put MSP at the forefront of airports in use of technology for airport communications and customer service. She was instrumental in helping make MSP more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing through her work on the visual paging program at MSP. She helped put airport information at travelers’ fingertips through the new touch-screen directories and the airport’s goHow Airport mobile app. She oversaw efforts to develop a new MSP business community portal, www.myMSPconnect.com. And she helped airport businesses market to customers through social media, public information display screens, the Eat Shop Relax brochure, static and digital directories and online coupons.
One of her more significant projects was the new Digital Concierge touch screen directories located at both ends of the MSP Airport Mall. Melissa chose to do much of the work to install the directories and perfect the touch screen performance at night in order to minimize impacts on travelers. Consequently, Melissa ended many long days of work at MSP with longer nights spent working with technicians to install, program and fine-tune the directories. Night after night, Melissa inconvenienced herself rather than inconveniencing travelers.
Melissa would be the first to say she didn’t accomplish all this singlehandedly. Instead, she did so with cooperation, coordination and assistance from colleagues and from the airport community as a whole. But it is that ability to identify needs and bring together stakeholders from throughout the airport to address these needs that makes Melissa so worthy of this year’s Employee of the Year award.