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Happy with Heppe – Top 10 Finalist in the Business Competition of Competitions of 2018

30.10.2018

Ulrich Heppe, CEO of Fraport Bulgaria has been distinguished as one of the 10 finalists in the 11th edition of the Manager of the Year competition.

The over 1700 employees of Fraport Bulgaria at both Varna and Burgas airports are on their toes, excited to learn that the modern and sustainable management and leadership practices of this gentleman of German descent have been noticed beyond the parameters of the two coastal airports. Congratulations for this rewarding acknowledgement and compliments to the two airport teams that stand firm behind it! It is the unparalleled manager hand in hand with his two terrific teams – Varna Airport and Burgas Airport, whose energy, hard work and professionalism have earned these remarkable, and this year all-time record breaking, results of achieving 5 000 000 + passengers in 2018.

Characterized by incessant curiosity, perseverance, openness and flexibility, the goal that Heppe set himself at the start of his tenure of Fraport Bulgaria in 2015 was to start a new period in the company focused on perfection, growth and care. This was quickly followed by the creation of the first of their kind company Mission, Values and Goals under the wings of the new corporate vision: To place the airport in the traveler’s heart. Considering passion and drive as the most essential assets when undertaking any activity, Heppe is adamant to infect others – employees, partners, stakeholders and just about all others with the same passion and drive, that would result to make the path to success an inevitable fact. It all comes down to each employee’s own conviction and internal motivation. If this exists, then everything else fits together like a puzzle.

Aviation is thrilling; managing airports is an even more thrilling experience that Ulrich Heppe embodies with his meticulously perfection-driven self, visionary approach, commitment, efficiency and flexibility – designing the key to the true heart of the corporate culture of both airports.

Fresh modernism is written all over this foreign CEO who is proud to be a visionary and to instill this in the people around him. The ultimate fulfillment for him is to have the vision in the air – in the terminal, in the apron and all around, caring for the smallest detail on a daily basis that, in turn, ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience not only for the passengers of both airports, but for their employees as well. The airport’s new program called We Care showcases this philosophy of always offering high quality service with a great big, authentic smile. The idea is to contribute to the positive feeling and mood of its passengers – to instill the feeling of comfort, fun and excitement, all characteristic of a holiday environment. All staff are made incessantly aware that they are the face of the country in this situation and should present it in the best possible light.

What is most important to Heppe in terms of the corporate culture: “First, I want employees to arrive to work positive and to be passionate and proud of their work. Second, I would like them to be forever asking themselves what they could directly improve and what could be improved in general – in terms of process management, efficiency and quality customer service. And lastly, I encourage them to share their improvement ideas with their management or through the open channels the company provides for sharing of this kind of information. I encourage employees to be actively involved and I am a great advocate of open communication and out-of-the-box thinking. I think that it is exactly this positive and inspirational way of thinking that defines our corporate culture and instills in each employee the conviction that we really are the best airport management company this side of the continent.”

Proudly strolling on his path of continuous learning and growth, dedicating more and more time for self-reflection, he is the vast mountain – experienced, wise and strong, supporting, guiding and finding a way to show his appreciation of the great efforts of every single person involved. As such a pillar for the employees, his biggest aim has always been to create a culture of open communication and mastery-oriented feedback. A leadership-minded attitude does not lag far behind the many aspirations of Heppe. In 2018, a set of 10 leadership standards were defined by all tiers of the Fraport Bulgaria management. They will be the runway lights, taking full guidance over the everyday behavior of each and every employee.

Directly involved in the Fraport Bulgaria operations over the last 10 years, he is witness to the ‘before and after’ effect of turning the airports into what they appear today – turning the dream into a reality. CEO of the Bulgarian operations since September 1st, 2015 for over three years now, his personal target has been to develop the two Bulgarian airports as leading Eastern European airports in their category with well-developed all-year-round traffic. The motto Ulrich Heppe enjoys to apply is “Love it, change it or leave it, but don’t complain.” The gratification is to endure the test of time that, to have sustainability at the center of each decision, so that results are solid and astonishing. The seven-year traffic growth trend is enough proof of the ceaseless efforts invested in the environment of the Fraport Twin Star Airport Management operations in Bulgaria. Managing the seasonality of the two airports – Varna and Burgas, increase the traffic in spring, summer, fall and winter. Methodically thorough, Heppe actively promotes the future strategy of the company, working to make it happen with the vast array of intra-industry partners and stakeholders. This includes the promotion of year-round traffic at both airports and expanding and managing the low cost carrier segment at both locations, creating a healthy mix, including major legacy and low cost carriers, in tune with the needs of current passenger demand.

In the last 10 years operating in Bulgaria, the company has invested more than 180 million Euro in both Varna and Burgas airports, in this way completely changing the face of both seaside gateways. To witness these activities and to experience the ‘before’ and ‘after’ effect is really a vision of great pleasure. Over 70 investment projects valued at over 11 million Euro are underway this year, and the same investment amount is planned for 2019, thus exceeding 50 million Euro of planed investment budget in the next five years. Perhaps, in the airport management context, this is innovation at its best. The people and results are in place to prove it.

The winner of the 2018 Manager of the Year competition will be announced at the official award ceremony on November 12 at the National Opera & Ballet.

If you recognize the winning formula, please vote for Ulrich Heppe, CEO of Fraport Bulgaria at: https://www.btv.bg/article/lifestyle/glasuvajte-za-svoja-favorit-v-konkursa-menidzhar-na-godinata-2018.html

We are thrilled that the competition is on! May the best Manager earn his 1st class take-off.