Spotlight on… Julia Knecht-Ostwaldt, COO and CargoCoach

CargoForwarder Global’s ‘Spotlight On…’ series aims to highlight the many different functions involved in ensuring that cargo flies from A to B safely, efficiently, and on time. Every week, another person in the industry explains what they do, what brings them to our industry and why, and what advice do they have for those considering a career in air cargo. This week, we hear from STRIKE Aviation Group’s COO, Julia Knecht-Ostwaldt (JKO).

COO and CargoCoach. Image: Julia Knecht-Ostwaldt

CFG: What is your current function? And what are your responsibilities?

JKO: My responsibilities include those of a COO, alongside exhibition and event planning, cargo operations, and optimizing workflows and SOPs. In January each year, we select the important events that we as STRIKE Aviation Group want to participate in, planning around 10 events per year. In regard to the day-to-day job, it is my responsibility to optimize the daily workflows using those AI and IT systems on the market designed to help maintain the increasing duties with same number of staff, using automation to support the team as much as possible.

In my additional function as Board Member of the Federation of Airline GSA Geneva, I am involved in pushing forward items that the board is heavily working on, and where you can expect to see updates coming this year.

CFG: What does a normal day look like for you? Or is there such a thing?

JKO: Every day is different to the previous day – that makes it so nice and never boring. It is definitely not a nine-to-five job and certainly not a job that is carried out only on weekdays. You need to be available to reply to mails and WhatsApp at any time of the day, but nevertheless this gives you the flexibility that you are not fixed to a certain location. You can get the work done anywhere in the world and work remotely.

CFG: How long have you been in the air cargo industry, and what brought you to it?

JKO: I started in forwarding in 2003 and changed to the GSSA world in 2006. I was introduced to forwarding by a friend and he connected to the matching company where I was able to start my carrier as trainee. Whilst I very much enjoyed the job, working with end customers was not really my passion, so I decided to change sides and work as GSSA, where my customers, the freight forwarders, are well educated in the area of logistics.

CFG: What do you enjoy most about your job?

JKO: The variety of things which need getting done. And since I also want to give guidance to everyone who is passionate about the air cargo industry, I recently launched CargoCoach. The concept was on my mind for quite some time. The idea is to offer all sorts of information on loadability, industry related language and other important points – all from a single source and just a click away.

CFG: Where do you see the greatest challenges in our industry?

JKO: The mostly man driven fixed boundaries. By that, I mean that if you are a woman in a male-dominated industry, you need to grow your self-confidence to overcome hassles and boundaries. Successfully mastering these, gains you respect and a name in the industry. That said, our industry should open to more flexibility, and we should learn from other industries.

CFG: What advice would you give to people looking to get into the air cargo industry? Any particular training they should aim for?

JKO: Start in Forwarding to learn the aviation basics and change to an airline or a cargo GSSA to discover and see a wider picture. As long as you are an open-minded person and you are willing to learn, this can be performed at any skill level and as an on-the-job training.

CFG: If the air cargo industry were a film/book, what would its title be?

JKO: Get infected! Live Aviation Life.

Thank you for sharing your insights, Julia.

If you would like to share your personal air cargo story with our CargoForwarder Global readers, feel free to send your answers to the above questions to cargoforwarderglobal@kopfpilot.at We look forward to shining a spotlight on your job area, views, and experiences.

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