b'INFO TECHNOLOGYMCI85At MCI, Robinson stations one ramp controller at the north position, another ramp controller at the south position, and a supervisor that oversees both locations. The supervisor also rotates in for operational duties when each of the controllers needs a break.Bourgeois took the helm of ramp staffing activities in July 2022, about seven months before the new terminal was scheduled to begin operating. In that time, he had to hire a full staff, develop a training program, create letters of agreement and create documentation for operation of the new VRCS. His first hire was a good human manager who treats people with respect and works with all the stakeholders. The manager,Chris Thigpen, started 60 days before the new control system went operational; 30days later, they selected the rest of thestaff together. The new virtual system provides By the time they completed the hiring cycle,controllers with comprehensive Bourgeois had established and documentedviews of the ramp and airfield. the operating procedures. Despite his own years of tower experience, he did not require incoming staff to have air traffic control experience. I look for good humans, Bourgeois says. I can teach anyone how to do ramp control, but I cant always teach them how to be good people. They need to work well together. New team members were trained with a giant diagram of the airport, using toy planes to simulate movement around the ramp. They practiced deconflict strategies and learned how various movements affect other actions. It might sound quaint that Robinson uses paper maps and toy planes for high-tech training, but Bourgeois says its very common and effective. Its easy to move planes from place to place in three dimensions, he explains. We train staff in the classroom and then do on-the-job training until controllers are good enough to do it on their own. We observe them and monitor their grades on training sheets, and the manager makes the decision when theyre ready. Getting ReadyWith a tight timeline and a lot of chess pieces for MCI to move around before opening its new terminal, strong communication and collaboration were important. Countless projects were happening at the same time, and the AirportImprovement.comSeptember 2023'