Department of Aviation Custodial Crew Chief Vernon Lampkin recently received the “Unsung Heroes” award from Philadelphia International Airport’s (PHL) Employee Recognition Program, which honors employees who work behind the scenes and are not typically recognized for their work. Although they do not work directly with guests, their effectiveness significantly impacts the airport and guest experience.
Lampkin will celebrate his 10th anniversary at PHL in November. He works the 2-10 p.m. shift managing a team of custodial staff responsible for ensuring the bathrooms are always clean for passengers 24/7. He embodies teamwork, respect, and integrity while on the job. A firm principle he follows is punctuality, as he believes it sets the tone for everything else.
In her nomination of Lampkin, Custodial Worker II Sadeena Dotson stated, “He is one of the crew chiefs willing to get out there and help the other employees in any way that he can. He makes sure the workers are happy. If there is an issue, he is always right there to help us through it.”
Lampkin thanks Airport Facilities Manager Milton Robinson for giving him the opportunity at PHL and showing him that he can succeed. “I used to be a Custodial Worker I and know what it’s like. I don’t mind putting gloves on and helping my team out,” he said. “Many people like to work with me when we are on snow duty because I put a team together. I get a nice organized system going, so we’re working smarter, not harder.”
Lampkin recalls assisting a passenger who left his bags in the terminals and could not retrieve them as he was in baggage claim. “We located his bags and gave them to him,” said Lampkin. “I was happy to help him. It made his day and mine as well. We want passengers to have a good experience when they come to PHL.”
Lampkin enjoys building friendships with passengers he meets at the airport, as he often runs into them while they’re departing and returning to PHL. Whenever passengers ask him for directions around the airport, he takes his time to direct them with kindness. He’s a good listener, so whenever his team members need someone to talk to, he is always happy to pay attention.
A Philadelphia native, Lampkin is a huge sports fan of the city’s teams. He watched the historic Philadelphia Eagles’ NFL Conference Championship win at Lincoln Financial Field. “I’m excited because we have a young team and a young quarterback,” he said. “Everyone was counting us out. They didn’t expect us to get this far. We’re the underdogs again. I want to see us win, and I have faith that we will.”
Lampkin is an executive board member of AFSCME D.C.33 and is also involved in his local community. Last Halloween, he and his community bought pumpkins for all the kids on his block to paint. “A lot of people have been there for years, so it’s like a family,” said Lampkin. “We look out for each other. We try to steer the youth in the right direction. I share job information with them and keep them positive, so they have something to look forward to. I’m big on spending time with family and the community.”
Lampkin exudes a positive vibe and a great smile while welcoming passengers to PHL . “I like greeting people with a smile,” said Lampkin. “I’m always a happy person. I don’t let things bother me. I try to stay positive. Some days it’s hard, but you push through. To see someone smile makes me smile, and if I know mine will make someone else smile, I’ll do it all day.”
The PHL Employee Recognition Program was established by the airport’s Guest Experience (GX) Department. Honorees are nominated by their peers and selected by the GX Council Steering Committee’s Employee Conduct and Recognition Committee. For more information about the program and to nominate an employee, click here.