Professional Profiles

Lifelong learning gets business leader promoted

November 23, 2015
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Elvio Pecchia. Photo by Greg Ehlers.

By Andrew Kochergin

Elvio Pecchia has always aspired to lead. SFU’s Business Management Certificate helped him work his way up in the aviation industry to airport general manager.

Pecchia credits SFU’s part-time courses with helping him get promotions and excel in new work environments. “The business skills that you learn are well-rounded and well-balanced,” he says.

He enrolled in the program to augment his skills with current management concepts and practices. “It’s a very competitive world out there, and everyone’s vying for their next promotion,” he says. “You need to set yourself apart.”

Finding a suitable program had been a challenge. His job involved extensive travel, and he wanted to take courses in-class. SFU’s flexible schedule allowed him to balance coursework with his family and career. Additionally, he could start with a course that was more applicable to him, and learn the right skills just on time. 

Even after 30-plus years in the aviation industry, Pecchia learned new things in the Business Management Certificate. His classmates were of different ages and skill sets, but they all confronted the same challenges together. “You come out of it with one perspective,” he says, “but they come out of it with a perspective you might not even have envisioned. It’s all part of the personal enrichment that the classroom environment brings. And I thrive off of that.”

Pecchia also enjoyed the instructional style. “The instructors have all been great,” he says. “They recognize the importance of different ways of learning, and the experiences of folks that have been around the workforce.”

Only one month after completing the program, Pecchia was appointed airport general manager. His favourite part of the new job? Being able to take everything he’s learned in his career and at SFU, and share it with his colleagues.

“You’re never too old to learn,” he says. “The environment changes; business models change. Continuous learning is very vital for people who want to be successful, and are interested in promotions, and interested in enriching their lives. It’s worked for me.”