Tom Goemans started out as a conservatory student in Amsterdam, then switched to urban planning. He has now been working at the Corporate Affairs Department for more than two years. Aside from being Community Engagement Advisor for Schiphol Group, he is also an ambassador for Spot Schiphol. A logical combination, says Tom.
'The local community is vitally important for Schiphol. Area residents are dependent on the airport to varying extents, and the airport on them. My job is to bring the airport and the local community together', explains Tom. 'To do that, we work to engage residents and schools in the airport's environs and plane spotters in the decisions we take and activities we plan. Take the maintenance work carried out on Runway 06-24 in 2017, which put additional pressure on the other runways and was disruptive to local residents. To compensate, we had the idea to invite everyone with a postcode inside the affected area to take part in a "runway experience", an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour held on a Saturday and Sunday in April. People had to reserve, and within just 18 hours all the available places were taken. All together, around 1,000 people attended. We had 50 employees from Schiphol and Heijmans construction company take them on a tour and tell them about the history and renewal of the heavily used Runway 06-24. That was a unique experience in a place you would otherwise never get to see. The best thing was how enthusiastic the visitors were afterwards.'
'For me, the decision to become a Spot Schiphol ambassador was a logical one. In my daily work, I try to link the airport and the local community in ways that are relevant to both sides. To link the internal to the external, in other words. At Spot Schiphol I do the same thing, but connecting people who work at the airport with each other and with Schiphol. A strong network enables you to accomplish more by working together. In fact, informal networks are really the glue of the Schiphol community. That informal interaction makes it much easier to come up with ideas and solutions, and it's also just fun and interesting to get to know other people at Schiphol. I'd recommend becoming a part of the Schiphol community to everyone at the airport. Plus, we're about a lot more than just fun and activities. Schiphol-based companies even share their premises via the website for brainstorming sessions. All you have to do is sign up!'