Sharon Worthing, operations coordinator, celebrated 10 years with Avisure on 11 September, the longest she’s been with one company in her career. She had been interviewed for two jobs, and after walking out of the Avisure interview, got a phone call offering her the other job. ‘I felt really comfortable (with Avisure),’ she recalls, ‘I really got a great vibe’, so she rang, explained the situation, and was thrilled to be offered the job with Avisure on the spot.
A little surprising for someone who confesses to a fear of birds! That fear goes back to her childhood, and some adverse avian encounters. When she was three, her 13-year-old uncle locked her in a chicken coop. The more she cried, the more agitated the hens became, pecking and flapping, much to her teenaged uncle’s amusement; and living on a farm, their pair of farmyard geese used to chase her as soon she came out the door, hissing and wings flapping. ‘It’s not birds per se, but the wing flapping which scares me,’ she says. ‘I’ve worked through most of those phobias, and can now work with ibis—I even saved a fully-fledged juvenile lorikeet flapping around on the ground in a carpark one day.’
Over those ten years, she’s learned a lot about birds, although she explains she is the ‘only non-science person in Avisure. I am someone who uses other parts of the brain; I direct people and solve problems. You need different cogs in a machine to make it work, and I keep things running internally. However, she has had some opportunities to experience field work. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed being part of a recent emergency exercise Jill (Brix) managed at Ballina Airport; and ‘it was really exciting to have the opportunity when I was travelling about six years ago, to spend a day at Vancouver Airport. I met the most majestic animal I’ve seen, Hercules, the bald eagle, used at the airport to scare away migrating wildfowl; got a big buzz driving on the airport, and saw an amazing dunlin murmuration.’
Above all, though, it’s the people who have kept her at Avisure for all that time. ‘They’re a close-knit group,’ she says, ‘I always know they have my back. It’s been a good 10 years.’