Andrew Otterness joined the Kenmore Air family as the Lake Union Station Manager in 2002. Over the years his job has evolved, but one thing’s remained constant – everyone who meets him raves about his kind personality and ability to accomplish anything.
For the inside scoop about what makes Andrew tick, I went straight to the source. Here are the key takeaways from our chat:
MC: You’re the Director of Stations. What does that entail?
AO: In the beginning as Director of Stations, I was hands-on helping with the day-to-day at our Lake Union, Boeing, Eastsound, and Friday Harbor stations. But right now, I have four very independent people managing each station. With such a great staff, I’m often head-in-the-computer working on projects.
MC: What sort of projects? Are there fun new things happening at Kenmore?
AO: We’ve begun offering hotel packages. We introduced them slowly, offering them only over the phone. But now we have the website reservation system up and running. Passengers can book their flight and add on a hotel night at the same time.
MC: Many of our passengers speak of you fondly. Are you still able get out and talk to them?
AO: I believe in answering the phone as frequently as one can afford the time. I think it’s important to hear what customers have to say. It lets you get a grip on what people are asking and what sort of struggles they run into, such as the information flow on the website.
Additionally, I like to get out in the lobby when I can. It lets me see how things are running and speak to passengers face-to-face.
MC: What are some of the things you would strongly recommend to people looking to explore?
AO: There are so many. Butchart Gardens is one of the really unique ones. We do the Butchart Express which is through CVS tours. It’s curbside at the Empress. You walk up to the guy at the umbrella and say, “Hi. I have a ticket from Kenmore to visit the Butchart Gardens.” You get on the next bus, which arrive frequently. There is a city tour narration on the way there. You get two hours (or more if you want) in the gardens and then you get back on a bus and return to the Empress.
MC: You sound like you have a bit of an accent. Are you from here originally?
AO: I get that all the time. I was born in the Chicago suburbs, but the majority of my rearing was in Boise, Idaho. It might be from spending a lot of time working with our Canadian passengers, so maybe I’ve picked up a bit of their accent.
MC: Do you visit Boise often?
AO: I call it my second home. My parents are still there. My sister’s still there. Actually, that’s where my dog, Odin, is right now.
MC: Why’d you move to the Pacific Northwest?
AO: I went to college in California. After I graduated, I wanted to move to Washington and I’ve been here ever since.
MC: You mentioned your dog, Odin. Does he come to work with you?
AO: Sometimes, when he’s in town. He loves everyone and makes customers smile all the time. I can put him in the sunshine out back and people one-by-one have to stop and pet him. He’s in heaven. They love it. It’s great.
MC: How long have you and your husband been together?
AO: Italo and I met through mutual friends in 2001. We’ve been together since then.
MC: Has aviation always been a passion for you?
AO: Not from the pilot’s seat, but yes. Even before this job I’ve always liked looking at and talking about airplanes.
MC: Beyond airplanes and work, what are your hobbies?
AO: Camping is one of my top hobbies. I’m a recreational bicyclist. I like to kayak. Mine’s actually hanging outside. I also really love to cook. During the summer, I like to make a nice cedar plank salmon.