It was mid-January when a representative from Amazon contacted BWI Marshall Airport with news that the company would need badges for an influx of new employees.
The coronavirus was devastating countries overseas, and health experts predicted the United States was next. As a result, Amazon wanted to increase its workforce at BWI Marshall to handle an expected surge in home deliveries.
Over the next 90 days, BWI Marshall badging agents issued more than 1,600 badges to Amazon employees now working on airport property – helping community members secure valuable jobs and keeping the supply chain moving. This feat was accomplished on top of the agents’ normal workload. They issue more than 20,000 badges a year.
“That is remarkable in and of itself,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “Add in 1,600 Amazon badges in the middle of a pandemic, and you can see that it was a truly incredible feat.”
Amazon employees need BWI credentials to work on airport property and, ultimately, deliver essential goods to homes and businesses. Without the efficient efforts of BWI’s badging agents, the delivery of these goods would be delayed; and with these delays, residents and businesses would suffer.
“I feel like we’re truly lucky to have such a dedicated team of professionals who have met the challenges (of COVID-19), especially in recent days,” said Bob Boblitz, Manager of Airport Security for the Maryland Aviation Administration. “This thing is ever evolving, but we’ve shown some flexibility. The way we’ve been able to adapt to the changes with this pandemic is incredible.”
Badging agents work closely with federal partners to conduct background checks and perform other critical assessments on anyone who works at the airport, from ground handlers and cargo carriers to restaurant workers and cleaning contractors.
While passenger traffic at BWI Marshall has dropped more than 90 percent and many businesses have temporarily shuttered due to COVID-19, the airport remains a critical hub for cargo moving up and down the East Coast and across the nation. Those cargo handlers to rely on BWI Marshall’s badging agents to issue their credentials.
“We all play an important role in the COVID-19 crisis,” Secretary Slater said. “Moving forward, it’s reassuring to know BWI Marshall is in such good hands. Our security personnel at the airport are top-notch, and our badging agents are a critical part of that team.”