Whether analysts at the Transportation Safety Board are investigating a downed aircraft in the ocean, a train in the Prairies or a pipeline through the mountains, the specialists who analyze data recorders find the answers.
Sometimes, like nobody else in the world.
Branden Murdoch grew up on a farm in British Columbia before discovering his love for aerospace engineering at Carleton University.
Today, he’s a PIPSC member and one of those world-class analysts.
In a day’s work, Branden analyzes information recovered from “black boxes” — flight-data and cockpit voice recorders. He and his team review information from crashes to help determine what happened and how to prevent accidents in the future.
Branden is proud that what he does makes an impact on people’s lives.
“Every day I know exactly what it is I’m going to work to accomplish … and that’s to improve transportation safety. Not only for Canadians but because our mandate is international … I know that I’m improving aviation and transportation safety worldwide,” Branden says.
Over the last few years, Branden and his colleagues have gained credibility in both the public and private sectors around the world. Crash data was often neglected by industry, and voicing key issues found in black boxes and other devices was an uphill battle. Given the team’s depth of commitment and practical abilities, they now know that when they speak, regulators listen.
Maintaining this impartiality from regulators is an integral part of why Branden’s work is done in the public sector rather than the private sector.
“Everybody likes to go home and visit their folks at Christmas, everybody wants their sunshine vacation … and no one wants their loved ones dying at sea on a fishing vessel,” he says. “So I think everybody can relate to these real tangible, heart-wrenching consequences when safety falls to the wayside and something slips through the cracks.”
What Branden is most proud of, though, has nothing to do with his work.
Like many of us, what gives him the most joy is having the work-life balance to go home feeling accomplished at the end of the day, and spending time with his family.
Working at the Transportation Safety Board and being a union member enables him to maintain that crucial balance, while also ensuring his team has the resources they need to do their best at their jobs.
“I know that Canadians can see that the work we do has real results in improving transportation safety and saving lives. It gives everybody peace of mind, knowing that they have some really bright minds here making sure that they’re safe whenever they hop on that airplane, train or vessel.”