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Shelly Lopez, Sgt. Sean Hoerdt win 2022 MSP Airport Customer Service Hero Awards

Two Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) employees were honored at the April 17 Board of Commissioners meeting with the MSP Airport Customer Service Hero Awards for 2022, a coveted award that recognizes exceptional service that enhances the customer experience.

Shelly Lopez, a coordinator in the MAC's Customer Experience Department, was recognized for her work initiating and leading the Navigating MSP program since 2013. The program helps families of children with autism, passengers with mobility issues and others by providing free practice runs through the airport.

Shelly was also key to establishing the Travel Confidently MSP Education Center on Concourse C. The Center includes a mock Boeing 737 42-seat cabin, gifted by Delta Air Lines, allowing attendees to practice boarding an aircraft.

"The passion and empathy that Shelly brings to the Navigating MSP program is evident to anyone who has ever participated," said Phil Burke, the MAC's assistant director of Customer Experience. "Her commitment to passengers in need has helped ease the travel experience for thousands of travelers."

Sean Hoerdt, a sergeant in the Airport Police Department, received the award for his work with the Airport Police Honor Guard unit. Under his leadership, the unit provides numerous services, including coordinating the respectful transfer of deceased military personnel being flown through MSP Airport, while assisting family and friends.

The unit also leads 9/11 memorial events each year and coordinates the Minnesota sendoff for families of fallen officers headed to Washington, D.C., remembrance ceremonies. He also supervises the rotation of Honor Guard members who stand guard at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial in St. Paul.

"Sean's work over the past 13 years leading the Honor Guard unit speaks to his compassion and his respect for the family members of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Airport Police Chief Matt Christenson. "We're fortunate to have someone so dedicated to providing a meaningful remembrance experience to families of the fallen."

Lopez and Hoerdt were selected for the award by a committee made up of employees and volunteers who work through the Customer Service Action Council (CSAC). Both received a certificate, an engraved crystal trophy and a check for $1,000 from the Airport Foundation MSP.