Communicator Profile: Christine Alongi
She can usually be seen winging her way from one end of the airport to the other, BlackBerry in hand and notepad at the ready, but for Christine Alongi it is all in a day’s work. As Director of Communications & Public Affairs for the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA), Alongi is the public figure Manitobans are accustomed to seeing whenever there is news about Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.
Since joining the WAA, the past seven and half years has been a whirlwind of activity for Alongi.
As the airport spokeswoman, she handles a wide variety of communications activities that run the gauntlet from reporting on the airport’s financial position to providing a calm and measured approach to crisis communications when an aircraft is in distress or there is a passenger emergency and a diversion to Winnipeg is required.
Lately though, much of her time has been devoted to the $585 million airport redevelopment project that once complete, will transform Richardson International Airport into a showcase piece that all Manitobans can be proud of.
“I’ve made over 500 presentations to a variety of internal and external stakeholders about the airport redevelopment alone,” she notes. “I really enjoy getting people excited and getting them engaged about the project.”
The airport site redevelopment consists of four main components including a 1,600 stall, four-level parkade, groundside site services such as roadways and sewers, airside construction involving additional aircraft parking, and the main attraction, a new 51,000 sq. / m. air terminal building that is open and transparent with magnificent views of downtown Winnipeg.
“Arriving and departing passengers are in for quite the experience,” said Alongi of the new terminal. “It will be LEED Certified to incorporate systems that minimize the use of energy and reduce greenhouse gases while maintaining a comfortable environment for passengers. It will also be one of the ‘greenest’ in North America.”
As well, Universal Design features will make it accessible and usable by a broad range of individuals. This means wider walkways, barrier free pathways, and materials, textures and colours designed to aid in the flow of passengers.
“The terminal has been designed with ease of use in mind,” she noted.
Like many others, Alongi fell into the role of professional communicator. She is a graduate St. Mary’s Academy, The University of Winnipeg (Arts) Red River College (Business), while also holding a Certificate in Management Development from Q-Net, and continues with Le College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface for du Programme de francaise langue seconde. The born and raised Winnipegger got her start with Moffat Communications where she began as a network administrator and market analyst and gradually over her seven year career tackled branding, promotions, and project management.
Her move to the WAA came after Moffat sold its television and cable interests and she helped to wind down the company. Alongi was set for a new challenge.
“It’s been a very rewarding career. I love the detail work that goes into it,” she said of her role at the airport campus. “It’s also a source of immense pride.”
Alongi’s involvement at the WAA also involves the annual United Way campaign where teams get together to try and pull a 300,000 pound Boeing 727 across the tarmac in order to raise money that stays in the community.
“It’s a neat way to bring people together to pull for the same cause. Bringing so many people together and having a hand in that is a very rewarding achievement,” she said. “People at the airport are very proud of it.”
The recent naming of WAA as one of Manitoba’s Top 25 Employers is another source of delight for Alongi.
“We encourage everyone at every level to practice the principles of respect, integrity, and service excellence. We’re proud and committed to the community and our vision of leading transportation innovation and growth.”
So as the redevelopment nears its completion and the community turns to Alongi as their source of information for how to use all the new facilities, it becomes apparent that she truly relishes being a part of the airport team.
“There are lots of great stories and people you might not necessarily meet elsewhere. There are celebrities and royalty, Canadian Forces soldiers coming home, and ordinary people meeting and greeting and saying goodbye. The ability to be a part of it all and do unique things is great. You get to connect with so many, in our community and beyond.”