What’s ahead for 2019?
When Air Cargo World spoke with Rhoads, Amazon was on the cusp of peak season activity, but there was a distinct calmness about her demeanor. “It’s always an exciting time for us,” she said. “But we spend a lot of time planning for our peak season. The outcome is usually indicative of the amount of effort’s that’s put in.”
True to form, she was not thinking much beyond the immediate tasks at hand. Her outlook for 2019, she said, will have to wait until the peak runs like clockwork first. “But it’s not too early to start thinking about 2019,” she acknowledged. “We saw it in 2017 and this year, we’ve experienced quite a bit of growth. I think I need to make sure that we, as an organization, are prepared to handle that growth – whatever that may be.”
Much of next year will be spent on preliminary work for Amazon’s CVG hub, so that it no longer has to share DHL’s sorting equipment. “We’ll make sure that we’re ready for a 2021 launch,” she said.
For the most part, Rhoads said she prefers to rely on her experienced, cross-functional team to come up with day-to-day decisions. “But for some of the larger decisions that really drive our business, there have been particular points where I maybe provide a little rudder-steering in there,” she added. “But that’s the fun part about my job.”
After making countless practice runs landing on a moving speck on the ocean – and learning from mistakes until it was done right – Sarah Rhoads will likely continue guiding Amazon Air with a steely nerve and a steady hand.