Friday, February 1, 2019
Norbert Sissell RIP
I have not been updating my blog as of late. This is because I am still in shock, and morning. One does not usually feel this way for a boss. But Norbert was anything but a typical boss. He died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday 15 January and his memorial service was on Friday 22 January. But struggled as I have it has taken me this long to write this. People sometimes say that they would take a bullet for some one, or they would go to hell and back for someone. Norbert was that type of person. Norbert's title was director of Airport Operations for JetBlue airlines at Logan Airport, Boston Massachusetts. He has had that job since 2013. He has overseen JetBlue grow from about 40 flights a day to now over 180 flights. They are now the number one airline at Logan in terms of flights daily. He has also seen their expansion to Worcester Massachusetts. But to us who worked for him he was much more. I am sure he was busy in the board room and behind the scenes. But each day he could be seen on the front lines checking up and making sure all was well. No matter who you were Norbert knew your name and something about you. And he spoke to everyone the same way. No matter who you were; lowly boots on the tarmac ground operations or vice president of operations. If something's bothering you he would invite you to his office to talk about it. And if you did not show up he would come to you to find out if you were ok. During holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving he would make sure each employee on every shift got a home cooked meal. He would be there, either cooking or if catered passing out food. I heard someone ask him once when he got to eat. After all my workers have had their food he said. At busy airports planes come in early, or unexpectedly. And ground operations have to move it to bring them in. One time we had just come into the break room when we told to run out to gate 33 and bring a plane in. As we came out who do we see running to join us but Norbert. He was pulling on a safety vest and yelled out for someone to throw him a set of wands so he could wing walk. After that he stayed and helped us down load the bags. He later thanked all of us and said he knew personally what a pain it was to bring in a aircraft you were not ready for when you should be on break. Couple years later I had transferred from Logan to Worcester. Janine and I were flying out of Boston. Flying standby is always exciting as you wait to see if there are any empty seats for you. I introduced myself to the gate agent and said I was flying standby on this flight and wanted to let them know I was here. She did not look up from the computer and told me to sit down and she would call me when ready. At this moment I heard a booming voice calling out my name. I turned around and Norbert came up and gave be a bear hug. We all miss you since you left he said. Janine later told me the gate agents eyes bugged out. After Norbert left the gate agent came up to me and apologized and gave me my boarding passes. (Lesson learned, always treat everyone with respect when at the gate). At the memorial service the funeral home was pack with people who came to pay their respects. There was a line of people out the door and around the corner. We arrived at 4:00 and did not get inside until 6:30. When we left an hour later the line was still around the corner. Boston hired two large buses to bring crew members out who had just finished their shifts so they could say good bye. That was the kind of person Norbert was. I am lucky to have known him.