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    2021 Melbourne Airport Excellence Awards

    Melbourne Airport is proud to present our 2021 awards program, designed to honour everyone across the airport estate who goes above and beyond to enhance the traveller experience. 
    The Melbourne Airport Excellence Awards recognise and reward members of the Melbourne Airport community who demonstrate excellence, and who consistently strive to deliver on Melbourne Airport’s promise “to be an airport Melbourne can be proud of”. 
    The Awards are open to individuals, organisations, contractors, volunteers and suppliers. Each year nominations are received by members of the Melbourne Airport community, travellers, and other airport visitors. 
    The 2021 program has been reimagined, post the COVID-19 crisis, with thoughtful consideration being given to the journey everyone has been on over the last year. While still recognising those who go above and beyond to enhance the traveller experience, the program has evolved to honour and celebrate the courage and reimagination shown by our airport community to not only survive, but to be transformational in our recovery. 

    Nominations are now closed for the Melbourne Airport Excellence Awards 2021. Thank you to everyone who was inspired to nominate excellence in this year's awards program. Good luck to all of our nominees as they progress through the judging stage.

    Meet our esteemed judges...

    Traveller Experience Category Judges

    Excellence in the Traveller Experience – individual
    Excellence in the Traveller Experience – organisation
    Excellence in Teamwork & Collaboration

    Felicia Mariani
    Felicia has had a long and accomplished career in the tourism, entertainment and events sectors across both the USA and Australia. Felicia has held C-suite executive roles in the tourism and events industry in both Victoria and NSW, as well as five years at the helm of Tourism Tasmania and Managing Director of the national industry body representing Australia’s $40 billion inbound tourism sector.

    In 2018, with her passion for the tourism industry, Felicia took up the role as Chief Executive of the Victorian Industry Council (VTIC).

    James Goodwin

    James Goodwin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Airports Association in June 2020. Prior to this, James was the Chief Executive of Australia’s leading vehicle safety advocate, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) since 2015.  

    Before joining ANCAP, James held the position of Director – Government Relations & Communications at the Australian Automobile Association and also held a high-profile senior community and corporate affairs position at AirServices Australia.  

    ​​​​​​​A former journalist and news presenter, James worked for major network news outlets in Sydney and Canberra including several years in the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

    Wendi Pearce

    Wendi is the Head of Traveller Experience at Melbourne Airport. Wendi was appointed to this role in March 2020 after investment in improving the Traveller Experience was identified as an area of strategic importance and critical to Melbourne Airport’s business and reputation.

    Wendi joined as Head of Marketing in 2018. Wendi is a customer expert of more than three decades across three global industries – Aviation, Media and Grocery.

    Commercial Category Judges

    Excellence in the Traveller Experience – individual
    Excellence in the Traveller Experience – organisation
    Excellence in Teamwork & Collaboration


    Paul Guerra

    Paul is an internationally experienced leader having held Managing Director/CEO and Chairman level roles across Australia and Asia Pacific, spanning several key industries.

    Paul is the Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Paul’s previous positions include Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), Managing Director Asia Pacific for Optum International, a subsidiary of the United Health Group, one of the world’s leading providers of health services. Prior to this, Paul was the Victorian State Director for Vodafone, and prior to this, he held an extensive 17-year career with Motorola finishing as the Director and Vice President for Motorola Asia Pacific.

    Martine Letts

    Martine Letts is an experienced executive within the government, non-profit and international policy sectors. A former senior diplomat and former CEO of Australian Red Cross, Martine joined the Committee for Melbourne in March 2016 after serving as CEO of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC).

    Martine is a member of the Australian Volunteers International (AVI) board and a member of the Advisory Board of the Indigenous Runway Project. Martine speaks French, German and Spanish and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (FAIIA).

    Andrew Lund

    Andrew Lund is Melbourne Airport’s Head of Communications and Community Engagement. Andrew joined Melbourne Airport in August 2021 after almost 20 years as a journalist, most recently as Channel Nine’s State Political Reporter.

    An aviation devotee, we welcome Andrew’s expertise and enthusiasm for the judging of these highly competitive award categories.

    Chairman's Award for Excellence Judges


    Peter Hay

    Peter Hay was appointed Chairman of APAC in July 2019.

    Peter has a strong background and breadth of experience in business, corporate law, finance and investment banking advisory, with particular expertise in relation to mergers and acquisitions.

    Peter is currently Chairman of Newcrest Mining and Acting Chairman of Vicinity Centres. Peter is a former director on the boards of GUD Holdings, Myer, ANZ Bank, and Alumina.

    Lyell Strambi

    Lyell is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of APAC.

    Lyell joined APAC in September 2015. Lyell’s extensive experience spans more than 30 years in the aviation sector both in Australia and overseas. Before joining APAC, Lyell spent six years at Qantas, the last two as CEO of Qantas Domestic. Prior to this, Lyell worked for eight years at Virgin Atlantic Airways based in London.

    Humanitarian Award Judges

    Mari Ruiz-Matthyssen

    Mari is the Chief of People Experience & Marketing for APAC.  Mari is a passionate leader with more than 25 years’ international experience building engaging cultures with boards and executive teams.

    Mari is a current board member of Launceston Airport and is the Executive Sponsor of the APAC Mental Health Committee. Mari brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the judging panel of the Humanitarian Award.

    Major Brendan Nottle

    Major Brendan Nottle has been a Salvation Army officer for 30 years. He has served as the chaplain of the Collingwood Football Club since 2000.

    Since 2003, Brendan and his wife and mission partner Major Sandra Nottle have run the Salvos’ operations in the City of Melbourne. The Nottles have worked with Melbourne’s most vulnerable and marginalised people for decades.

    Martyn Scrimshaw

    Martyn Scrimshaw has been the Coordinating Chaplain at Melbourne Airport for the past four years, considered to be the most exhilarating and challenging of times he has ever experienced.

    With 20 years’ experience caring for staff, travellers and visitors to the airport, Martyn has supported people through life events and celebrations and has been close to many who suffer from poverty, homelessness, severe mental health and addictions.

    Marc Storti Award for Safety Judges

    Russell Collins

    Russell has been with Melbourne Airport for over 7 years and in this current role of Head of Safety, Risk & Compliance, brings extensive experience in managing organisational and construction related safety, together with risk management, compliance and quality assurance.

    Russell balances his work career with a commitment to serving others through his connection with the armed forces.

    Robert O’Neill

    Robert has spent his career in engineering and safety management and his ambition is to help as many organisations and safety professionals as possible to better understand and manage the safety risks in their operations.

    Following 18 years in Safety Management roles, he completed his GradDip OHSM at RMIT University and established a unique safety consulting organisation, Work Safety Hub.

    Barista of the Year Judges

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Justin Metcalf

    Justin Metcalf World Barista Judge™ is a former International Barista Judge and a recognized Coffee & Cafe consultant. Concentrating initially on perfecting the skills of the Barista, Justin’s passion then led to an active involvement in the specialty roasting industry, where he has established a reputation as a Master Roaster.

    Justin has led the judging of Barista competitions around the world including USA, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, right across Europe, New Zealand and Australia. We are incredibly lucky to once again have Justin as Head Judge of our Barista of the Year competition.

    Jimmy Tran

    Jimmy has worked as a barista at Melbourne Airport with Airport Retail Enterprises with his exceptional coffee making and artistry skills extending to Café Vue, Bar Pulpo and St.ALI.

    Jimmy took out the coveted title of ‘Melbourne Airport Barista of the Year’ in both 2018 and 2019.

    In 2020, Jimmy set up his own coffee roasting business called “Best Bean Best Cup” specialising in Vietnamese blends and special recipes. Jimmy is Head Roaster. 

    We are delighted Jimmy has agreed to return to the airport to join the 2021 Barista of the Year judging panel at Consultant Judge.

    Airline of the Year Judges

    Lorie Argus

    Lorie has more than 25 years’ experience in the aviation sector both in airports and airlines.  Currently Chief of Aviation, Lorie has extensive experience in long term strategy, big infrastructure, complex capital projects and leading high performing teams through high growth environments.

    Lorie joined Melbourne Airport in 2015 as Executive Operations, following a role in Queensland Urban Utilities (“QUU”) as General Manager Network Operations. 

    Prior to joining QUU, Lorie relocated to Australia after 10 years in the Canadian aviation market, joining the Virgin Group of Airlines commencing in 2003.

    Michael Cullen

    Michael joined APAC in 2006. During this time, Michael has worked across various aviation commercial, finance and business development roles.

    In his current role of Head of Airline Business Development, Michael and his team are responsible for managing strong partnerships with airlines, tourism bodies and industry to deliver growth of passenger and cargo capacity into Melbourne Airport - Australia’s largest single-precinct, 24/7 airport.

    Spotlight Award Judge

    Andrew Gardiner

    Andrew is the Chief of Commercial - Property & Retail for APAC.

    Andrew joined APAC in June 2014. He is an executive with over 40 years’ commercial experience in Australia and abroad. Having spent twenty years at Edgars in South Africa he has held positions of Managing Director at DFS Galleria Australia and General Manager of Retail at Sydney Airport.

    Andrew is a current board member of Launceston Airport and the Starlight Children’s Foundation Victoria.

    APAC Legend of the Year Judges

    Lyell Strambi

    Lyell is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of APAC.

    Lyell joined APAC in September 2015. Lyell’s extensive experience spans more than 30 years in the aviation sector both in Australia and overseas. Before joining APAC, Lyell spent six years at Qantas, the last two as CEO of Qantas Domestic. Prior to this, Lyell worked for eight years at Virgin Atlantic Airways based in London.

    Mari Ruiz-Matthyssen

    Mari is the Chief of People Experience & Marketing for APAC. 

    Mari is a passionate leader with more than 25 years’ international experience building engaging cultures with boards and executive teams.

    Mari joined Melbourne Airport in 2018. In addition to leading the People Experience and Marketing teams, Mari is a current board member of Launceston Airport and is the Executive Sponsor of the APAC Mental Health Committee. 

     2021 Awards info...

    Award Categories

    •  Excellence in the Traveller Experience – Individual 

    Outstanding interaction and service experienced by travellers from individuals is celebrated in this award. From ‘freeway to runway’ this award is open to all individuals from all organisations across the airport estate who consistently put the needs of our travellers first. 

    •  Excellence in the Traveller Experience – Organisation 

    The work of many organisations contributes to the vision of making Melbourne Airport ‘an airport to be proud of’. This award signifies our commitment to working with organisations who consistently deliver the highest standard of service to the traveller experience. 

    •  Excellence in Teamwork & Collaboration (open to any team or group of collaborators who work towards the Melbourne Airport vision)  

    Recognising that teamwork can come from both formal structures and impromptu collaborations between staff from different organisations, this award honours the people who unite and extract their best capabilities to achieve success.

    •  Excellence in Crisis-Inspired Innovation 

    Recognising this is a period of unprecedented change, the Excellence in Crisis-Inspired Innovation award is open to organisations who have adapted and evolved to stay relevant during challenging times at Melbourne Airport. The integrity of this award reflects both creativity - thinking of something new and innovation - the implementation of something new.  

    •  Excellence in Environment, Social & Governance   

    This award recognises the commitment provided by organisations to Melbourne Airport’s performance as a steward of the environment, contributing to the enhancement of the airport’s reputation in the local community, and as a sustainable business. 

    •  Melbourne Airport Spotlight Award (entry and judging is separate to the other categories) 

    The Melbourne Airport Spotlight Award shines a light on developments or projects that deliver a unique value or attribute to the airport. This award category is a showcase of ventures, with the winner propelling Melbourne Airport further on the world stage. 

    •  Airline of the Year (entry and judging is separate to the other categories) 

    In the most challenging of years in the airport’s history, the prestigious Airline of the Year award demonstrates a commitment to servicing Melbourne during the pandemic, Melbourne Airport community engagement and contribution, and Security and Emergency management preparedness and COVID protocols.  

    •  Business Partner of the Year  

    Reliable and trusted partners and suppliers are critical to the efficient workings of a 24/7 airport operation. This award pays tribute to the organisations and people within, who have the willingness to consistently work at a level that’s over and above what is negotiated, contracted and expected. 

    Awards of Distinction

    •  Marc Storti Award for Safety 

    This award epitomises Melbourne Airport’s non-negotiable commitment to workplace safety. With a prize tag of $5000.00, the winner of the Marc Storti Award for Safety exemplifies safety leadership for travellers, visitors and the entire airport community. 

    •  Humanitarian Award (open to anyone working at the airport who embodies the spirit of humanity when interacting and supporting those in need) 

    The Humanitarian Award reflects the spirit of humanity that lives within the people who work at Melbourne Airport. This award is the heart of Melbourne Airport and recognises the personal generosity and care that often outshines professional customer service. 

    •  Barista of the Year (entry and judging is separate to the other categories)  

    Melbourne’s love affair with coffee is celebrated in the Melbourne Airport ‘Barista of the Year’ award. Each awards program, World Barista Judge™ Justin Metcalf elevates this category to new levels, saluting the skills of our passionate world-class airport Baristas. 

    •  APAC Legend of the Year (entry and judging is separate to the other categories) 

    From all ‘APAC Legend of the Week’ nominations, one outstanding nominee will win the coveted ‘APAC Legend of the Year’ award. The APAC team member who personifies APAC values and symbolizes the APAC Way will be awarded the title of ‘APAC Legend of the Year’. 

    •  Chairman’s Award for Excellence (open to / selected from the individual category winners, except Barista of the Year) 

    The pinnacle of the program, the Chairman’s Award for Excellence recognises the individual who epitomises excellence in the performance of their duties. This award demonstrates an outstanding commitment to going ‘above and beyond’ and comes with a $5000.00 prize and beautifully crafted trophy. 

    2021 Awards Criteria...

    Award Criteria

    • Excellence in the Traveller Experience – Individual 

    • Authenticity: The nominee embodies our vision 'to be an airport Melbourne can be proud of' by consistently demonstrating a level of excellence when interacting with travellers 

    • Passion: The nominee demonstrates their personal commitment to the traveller, by consistently exceeding expectations 

    • Accountability: The nominee demonstrates a high regard for the traveller experience, taking responsibility for the way in which interactions take place 

    • Collaboration: When challenges arise, the nominee not only demonstrates resilience and creativity, but works collaboratively to ensure the traveller experience is a positive one 
    • Excellence in the Traveller Experience – Organisation 
    • Authenticity: The nominee consistently embodies our vision 'to be an airport Melbourne can be proud of' by consistently demonstrating a level of excellence when interacting with travellers 

    • Passion: The nominee is committed to our vision, by consistently exceeding Melbourne Airport's expectations 

    • Accountability: The nominee demonstrates a high regard for the traveller experience, taking responsibility for the way in which interactions with travellers take place 

    • Collaboration: When challenges arise, the nominee not only demonstrates resilience and creativity, but works collaboratively to ensure the traveller experience is a positive one 

    • Excellence in Teamwork & Collaboration 


    • Authenticity: Each team member contributes creatively, identifying opportunities and solutions to benefit the airport operation or traveller experience 

    • Passion: A spirit of teamwork is evident in all team members and approach the pursuit of excellence as an equally shared goal 

    • Accountability: Each team member consistently demonstrates a level of personal responsibility and is equally dedicated to the team and the outcome 

    • Collaboration: Individually, the team members commit to the collaboration process but unite as one in the pursuit of excellence

    • Excellence in Crisis-Inspired Innovation 

    • Authenticity: Through adversity, the nominee identifies opportunities for change and improvement in either short or longer term 

    • Passion: The nominee is motivated by creativity and innovation and is driven to be transformational in the airport’s recovery 

    • Accountability: The nominee takes ownership of challenging conditions and will not be defeated by difficulties that stand in the way of change 

    • Collaboration: Through an ever-changing landscape, the nominee seeks the input from experts to achieve successful outcomes 
    • Excellence in Environment, Social & Governance
    • Authenticity: The nominee is considered a leader in the field of environmental sustainability and positively contributes to the objective of enhancing Melbourne Airport’s reputation in the local community 

    • Passion: The nominee is motivated to supporting Melbourne Airport’s performance as a steward of the environment and brings superior knowledge and experience to the partnership 

    • Accountability: The nominee identifies and delivers world-class environmental solutions to Melbourne Airport’s business sustainability program  

    • Collaboration: The nominee is committed to excellence by working with expert stakeholders to deliver projects that position Melbourne Airport as a sustainable business
    • Business Partner of the Year 
    • Authenticity: The nominee initiates continuous improvement in their relationship with Melbourne Airport, working consistently produce a level of outperformance 

    • Passion: The nominee is motivated to act in Melbourne Airport’s best interests and is driven by a desire to represent Melbourne Airport at the highest possible level 
    • Accountability: The nominee is inspired to pursue opportunities to perform beyond expectations 
    • Collaboration: The nominee values and promotes the collective input from their team and stakeholders in the pursuit of excellence at Melbourne Airport 

    Awards of Distinction Criteria

    •  Marc Storti Award for Safety 

    •  Authenticity: The nominee contributes personal initiative to a culture of safety across the airport community 

    •  Passion: The nominee is self-motivated and driven to ensuring the environment is safe for airport colleagues and travellers 

    •  Accountability: Leading by example, the nominee embodies safety leadership, consistently demonstrating their commitment to workplace safety 

    •  Collaboration: The nominee seeks the expertise of a collaborative environment to identify and implement workplace safety solutions 

    •  Humanitarian Award 

    •  Authenticity: The nominee demonstrates a spirit of humanity when interacting with travellers 

    •  Passion: The nominee demonstrates altruism, exceeding the level of professional customer service expected in their position 

    •  Accountability: By demonstrating resilience and creativity when challenges arise, the nominee supports those in need through compassionate and selfless acts 

    •  Collaboration: The nominee is committed to our vision 'to be an airport Melbourne can be proud of' by their own behaviour and the way in which they interact with colleagues and the broader airport community 

    •  APAC Legend of the Year Award 

    •  Authenticity: The nominee demonstrates a relentless focus on continual improvement, pushing themselves to full potential therefore exceeding the requirements and expectations of their role 

    •  Passion: The nominee is committed to excellence, and is motivated by an innate talent that leads to extraordinary results that are truly inspirational to team members and stakeholders 

    •  Accountability: The nominee consistently pursues opportunities and demonstrates actions that redefines their usual area or level or responsibility, and to what they are answerable for 

    •  Collaboration: The nominee demonstrates a natural aptitude for, and is accomplished in the collective purpose, participation, and contribution of others in the pursuit of successful outcomes