July 24, 2020
Leave Ordinary Behind: Q&A with Jordan Kanigan
Finding clarity in chaos. That’s how some describe the work done by Jordan Kanigan, a regional instructional design support based in Edmonton. As a member of NAV CANADA’s Operational Training Unit, the team that runs the company’s air navigation services school, Jordan works with subject matter experts to distill complex aviation rules, regulations and data into lesson plans for the next generation of Air Traffic Controllers in Edmonton.
Here’s how Jordan leaves ordinary behind.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AT NAV CANADA?
I work as a regional Instructional Design Support (IDS) in the Edmonton Flight Information Region. I work out of one of NAV CANADA’s seven Area Control Centers, which are spread out across Canada, in the Operational Training Unit. I recently transitioned to this role, but I have been with NAV CANADA since 2018.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
To keep it simple, I usually describe what I do for a living as someone who designs and maintains training documentation for future Air Traffic Controllers. In order to become an Air Traffic Controller in Canada, you need to be hired on as a trainee. Our company then puts you through an extensive training program in our school, as our courses are highly specialized and there is no external training offered to the public.
As each Air Traffic Controller is trained for a specific part of Canada’s airspace, they become our Subject Matter Experts (SME) and are responsible for creating and updating course content for their future classes. My job as an IDS consists of the designing, proofing and delivery aspect of courseware by taking the material we are given and formatting it into lesson plans, etc.
I also work on special projects, simulation and various tablet applications. To sum all of that up, controllers have the knowledge required to create content, and the IDS format, proof and update any references/agreements that have expired as procedures are constantly changing.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE CAREER PATH YOU HAVE CHOSEN?
I have been most surprised about the fact that I have developed a deep passion for aviation. Prior to NAV CANADA, I was a dispatcher/flight coordinator for a private jet company, an executive assistant, a medical receptionist, an administrative assistant, a waitress and four years working at a coffee shop during high school.
I never intended to end up in aviation, it sort of found me. My former spouse was an airline pilot, so we would move often, over a nine year period, as he bid on new jobs across the country, so I would take temporary positions wherever we ended up as we would typically only stay in each city for a year or two.
Looking back now, I am quite impressed with how I managed to build an extensive resume. It’s nice being able to see all the dots connect, especially since I went to school for Social Work. I don’t see myself changing my career path anytime soon, but I do appreciate having the flexibility to create new paths from the well-worn trail.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Outside of work, you’ll likely find me in the gym strength training, running my husky, going on adventures with my son, meditating, writing a book called Nook, trying out new microbreweries or collecting natural materials such as driftwood, rocks, or plant clippings for my home.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER AT NAV CANADA?
My advice is directly from NAV CANADA’s website: we are looking for extraordinary people, so be prepared to leave ordinary behind. That line resonates with me as I left a permanent position as a dispatcher/flight coordinator, at a private jet company, for a one year maternity leave contract at NAV CANADA as the General Manager’s Executive Assistant at the Edmonton Area Control Centre. I didn’t think twice about my decision when I was questioned, because I knew if I could just get my foot in the door my potential in this company would be endless as I just needed to show them what I had to offer. Don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds of great companies out there, but NAV CANADA is in its entirely own category.
I have worked for other large organizations and NAV CANADA has surpassed all of them, combined. This company has completely changed my life, and I say that with complete conviction without wanting it to sound cliché. If you are serious about a career at NAV CANADA, apply and don’t look back. You don’t need to have experience in aviation, they will teach you everything you need to know. You just need to have what it takes and by “having what it takes,” I mean resiliency, a strong work ethic and an eagerness to continually learn.
I’ve never been one to promote a company prior to NAV CANADA, however; this organization shaped me into the woman I have become today. Compassion and duty to one’s employees runs deep at this company. I truly believe that we are at the foundation of this company’s core, which means that employees are not just a number, they are part of an ever-growing dynamic family, and I take great pride in recommending this organization to the entire world.
Leave Ordinary Behind is an ongoing series that shines a spotlight on people who have pursued unique careers at NAV CANADA.
Interested in learning more about careers at NAV CANADA? Click here.
Did you like this article? If so, subscribe to our blog! The NAV CANADA Blog takes you behind-the-scenes and offers unique stories about Canada’s Air Navigation Services.