Ernest Campos, better known around here as Ernie, is retiring Friday, March 23 from his position as the Airport Custodial Supervisor at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. During his 18 years at ICT, Campos has made sustainability, efficiency and safety his top priorities. When asked what he likes best about his job, Campos replied, “any challenge.”
Starting from a young age, he developed a passion for hard work. He made it his mission to learn everything he could to help him increase productivity in every aspect of his job. Today, he knows his products and materials so well, he’s had vendors ask him to come sell for them!
One of Ernie’s favorite topics is conservation. In 2006 he developed an airport-wide recycling program resulting in the recycling of over 4.7 million tons of material. This included recycled materials from the new terminal construction. Under his leadership, the airport’s recycling efforts have saved 13,205 trees and 23 million gallons of water. This program also prevented 19 million pounds of air pollution and 10,253 cubic yards of landfill waste.
Another example of his efforts to “go green” at ICT include the types of cleaning materials that are used. Ernie and his team of 17 people use natural products to prevent health and safety risks to employees and airport visitors. Ernie likes to purchase equipment that increases sustainability, like multi-use pieces and items made from recycled materials.
Because of Ernie’s efforts, ICT has been awarded several times, including the coveted “Airports Going Green” award in 2013, and a Regional Sustainability Award in 2011.
When the new terminal was being planned and constructed, Ernie was tasked with building a custodial program from the ground up. This included finding new technology, equipment and products that would work best for all of the new fixtures and textiles in the building. He did, and continues to do, such a great job that he was contacted by other airports for advice. In fact, one of the most prominent comments the Airport receives is that the terminal is always so clean.
Although Ernie is retiring in April, his working days are far from over. He plans to move back home to Garden City, KS, although he’ll miss Wichita and the family he’s been a part of at the airport. He looks forward to being active in his community and local government, and he even mentioned getting his old band back together.
Something else Ernie looks forward to is sharing knowledge of over 51 years of experience. He encourages people to follow their dreams. “I don’t want to see people sitting there in a rocking chair saying ‘I wish I would have.’” Instead, he’d like to hear people say “I’m glad I did.”
We’ll miss you, Ernie, and thank you for 18 years of dedicated service to Wichita Eisenhower National Airport.