Lizbeth Hochhalter grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After high school, she knew she wanted a career in law enforcement, and by 21 she had graduated with a degree in law enforcement science. Lizbeth has been married for 4 years, and she has one dog. Today, she has been working for the Sioux Falls airport for seven years.
Before starting her career at the airport, Lizbeth delivered ink and toner. She actually delivered to the airport, and with her newly obtained law enforcement degree, she saw an opportunity to begin the career she really wanted. For Lizbeth, it was a step in the right direction for a career in law enforcement. Now, she is comfortable and enjoys her job, and says working at the airport makes her feel much safer than being a police officer.
A typical day for Lizbeth is very busy. She begins at 4:30 a.m., and the first half of the day is usually filled with the same general work that all of the regular officers have, like doing the security and baggage checks, or running the X-Rays. After that, Lizbeth begins work as a security training instructor. She is in charge of the online computer systems that keep track of everyone’s training and certifications, and they ensure that everyone is up to date. Lizbeth also teaches classes, and evaluates and certifies officers. There are days when Lizbeth and her coworkers sacrifice breaks and lunch in order to get things done for the other officers. She says, “We are always needed somewhere, and while it’s hectic and crazy, it’s fulfilling at the same time.”
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? It’s always rewarding in an airport environment, where it’s high stress and people need assistance and direction, when you’re able to provide that. On the training side, when I can see someone that I trained or taught succeed, or pass a test, or perform a procedure correctly, that’s just as rewarding to me as if I had done it myself. I think it’s a direct reflection of myself and my own abilities.
What I do matters because…no one can come into a job, especially one as complicated and intense as ours, and just know exactly what to do right away. You need to have someone to show you how to do your job, you need to have someone there to train you. You need people who want to train and who want to show you the right way to do things, otherwise, people wouldn’t be able to do their job properly.
What are you most proud of at work? I am most proud when I can be done at the end of the day and I accomplished something. Whether I finished training someone, I signed someone off on a certificate, or I taught a class and everyone passed…being able to make the frantic days at the airport easier for someone else, that’s what makes me proud.
By: Salina Sanders