Cork Airport staff’s good deeds recognised with PMI award

A pat on the back for a good deed done is always welcome, even though volunteers are not seeking recognition when they freely give their time to others.

Cork Airport’s win at the Ireland Chapter of Project Management Institute’s (PMI) National Project Awards 2018: Darren D’Arcy, PwC director for portfolio and programme management in Ireland; Nathan Wall, safety lead at Cork Airport; Kevin Cotter, airport duty manager; Conor Ryan, head of enterprise change delivery at AIB Bank; Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at Cork Airport; Pat Lucey, president of the Ireland Chapter of PMI; and Yvonne O’Rourke (front), head of HR at Cork Airport. Photo: Maxwell Photography.

Cork Airport head of communications, Kevin Cullinane, said he could not estimate the time and energy devoted by the staff members whose efforts saw the airport’s Charity of the Year programme win the Social Good — Corporate award at the Ireland Chapter of Project Management Institute’s (PMI) prestigious National Project Awards 2018.

The announcement was made at the black-tie Gala dinner at the offices of headline sponsor PwC on Spencer Dock, Dublin.

The Social Good — Corporate 2018 award, sponsored by AIB, recognises excellence in project management in the corporate social responsibility category. Cork Airport, Ireland’s second busiest international airport, won for the project management around its Charity of the Year fundraising initiatives, including the annual 5km Runway Run, when 2,500 runners take to the runway after midnight.

“Some other programmes raised more money, but the scale of the effort that went into the Runway Run jumped off the page for the judges,” said Kevin Cullinane.

“The level of detail and planning that goes into turning a runway into a running track for a few hours, working with the Aviation Authority to close the runway and the security sweep and the clean-up afterwards.

“That initiative took the wholehearted commitment of so many people working in the airport. People know these causes need support, and they have a great commitment to getting things done. The 5km Runway Run had a project management team of six people, backed by volunteers doing everything from media relations to acting as ushers on the night.”

Mr Cullinane singled out chief organisers Nathan Wall, Cork Airport’s safety lead, and Kevin Cotter, the airport’s duty manager, for special mention. They put months into ensuring the smooth operation of the 5km Runway Run.

“It is great to see people’s project management skills getting the recognition they deserve,” said Mr Cullinane.

"Through the use of project management tools, we have found no need to limit the creativity of our staff when it comes to fundraising. Our programme runs across the year.”

The 5km Runway Run is just one of the many charitable events run by and at the airport. The award also recognised the airport staff’s support for many notable charities such as Shine Centre for Autism, Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, and Cork City Hospitals Children’s Fund.

This year, the airport also hosted a catwalk fashion show, with Air Lingus pilots modelling and with staff again volunteering their time late into the night. Around 30 choirs will sing in the airport over the Christmas period, many of those raising funds for charity.

Naturally, the airport gets huge footfall through the year. It connects with people from all walks of life, and clearly engages deeply with the lives of the communities that passes through its lounges.

“We see all facets of life,” said Mr Cullinane.

We see cheerful people excited about heading off on their holidays or weekend breaks. We also see people going to family funerals or going to see children in hospitals overseas.

“The charities we support often come about because the airport staff have a personal connection with the cause. The annual National Project Awards celebrate the very best of project management in business in Ireland.

Seven winners in total were announced on the night by MC, Newstalk business editor Vincent Wall.

Commending Cork Airport on their win, president of the Ireland Chapter of PMI, Pat Lucey, said: “Cork Airport is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Social Good — Corporate 2018 award.

“Their highly-successful project management approach to their CSR programme allows for innovative thinking and creativity when delivering the Charity of the Year initiative.

The quality and range of this year’s entries showcase why project management is vital to delivering successful projects across all sectors in Irish commercial life.

Meanwhile, Cork Airport is forecasting a growth of 7% next year with an expected 2.6 million passengers set to travel through the airport during 2019, with more than 50 routes across the UK, continental Europe and East Coast USA.

Project Management Institute (PMI) 2018 National Project Award Winners:

  • Project Professional of the Year 2018 (sponsored by PwC) — Declan Rundle, AIB.
  • PMO of the Year 2018 (sponsored by Datalex) — ESB IT Services.
  • Public Sector Project of the Year 2018 (sponsored by IPA) — Revenue Commissioners, Customer Engagement Strategy.
  • Private Sector Project of the Year 2018 (sponsored by Aspira) — AIB, GDPR Programme.
  • Social Good — Community (sponsored by PMI) — Tour de Munster, Charity Cycle.
  • Social Good – Corporate 2018 (sponsored by AIB) — Cork Airport, Charity of the Year programme
  • Distinguished Contribution to Project Management (sponsor , Cora Systems) — Ed Naughton, Institute of Project Management.

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