Damian Boucaud translated a dream into international excellence helping millions of people every year by serving as a leader in the workplace as well as the classroom.
Damian took his first trip to Toronto from Trinidad for a vacation when he was 10 years old, flying alone as an unaccompanied minor. Observing the comings and goings and constant activity fascinated him.
“We had a delay, and that was just more time to study every movement inside and outside of the terminal,” shares Damian. “Planes taxiing, being loaded and unloaded, the buzz around the gates, and I fell in love with airports. I wanted to be the guy with the orange wands directing the planes on the ground.”
After graduating high school, Damian started as a baggage handler at Toronto Pearson International Airport. This work would transform his dream into reality and give his career path wings.
“Especially during training, I enjoyed walking through the terminal, seeing all the people working or crowds travelling,” Damian reflects. “That same joy from my first trip came rushing back. Being that much older, it was fascinating to observe the intersection of all walks of life, some people on their best days, and some on their worst.”
“Plus,” grins Damian, “after a few months on the job, I got to be the guy with the orange wands, flagging and directing aircraft traffic to and from the gate.”
With his sky-high goals firmly in mind, he returned to Trinidad and earned his certificate and licence in Air Traffic Control from the Civil Aviation Training Center.
Taking his career to new heights, he left his job in the tower at the Piarco International Airport to return to Canada to attend Georgian’s Aviation Management program.
After graduating a year early, he earned a Master’s Degree in Aviation Management at Griffith University in Australia. Over the years, he’s completed various certificates in industry-related areas, the most recent being a two-year certificate in Project Management from the University of Toronto.
Teaching was a happy occurrence.
“One of my former professors had to take a surprise leave of absence, and Georgian reached out,” Damian shares. “It would add a new dimension to my career, and after that first semester, I’ve been a professor ever since.”
Damian’s dedication to education only deepened when he noticed one of his students struggling.
“One of my students, a bright and talented young lady that always sat in the front seats, asked to speak to me after class,” recalls Damian. “Her talents were never in doubt, regularly participating and contributing even though she always seemed half asleep. She informed me that she would be dropping out of college as her night shifts were not bringing in enough money and her family was struggling. She had found another job and decided to help her single mother with the bills so she and her siblings could live better.”
This would only be one instance of too many.
Damian realized he could help. He founded the Women in Aviation Scholarship for individuals facing situations just like this. The donation is intended to promote the presence of women in senior leadership roles in aviation, beginning in the classroom. This is in addition to his already existing Aviation Excellence Scholarship for high-performing students who require financial assistance.
In addition to founding a scholarship, Damian is an Airport Duty Manager at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, a professor of aviation management at both Georgian College and Seneca College, helps mentor students at both schools, and even coaches youth soccer in his spare time.