Insider Features:
Celebrating NATCA Women In Control
Pictured from top to bottom, left to right: Kristin Simms (OAK), Candice Gertonson (HCF), Dawn McFalls (MRI), Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, Stephanie Winder (ZLC), Kristen Laubach (PHL), Jamie Green (PVD), and Kristen Lewandowski (P80).
We continue to honor the hard-working women of NATCA for Women’s History Month . We’re pleased to present the second half of our two-part series of questions and answers of some of NATCA's female leaders. We continue to amplify women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present, and inspire the future.

Where will we find you at 10 a.m. on a day when you're not scheduled to work?

Kristen Lewandowski, Northwest Mountain Region, Portland TRACON (P80) FacRep -- Spending time with my family. I put in many hours outside of my scheduled 40 as a FacRep and in my role with NCF (NATCA Charitable Foundation), but I always make an effort to spend time with my family just enjoying the life we’ve built. I’ll note that I don’t always succeed in balancing that time well, but I do always try.

How do you balance being a mother and a professional? What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?

Jamie Green, New England Region, Providence ATCT (PVD), Legislative Rep for PVD, and on Feb. 5, the State of the Union guest of Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline -- This is definitely the hardest question for me. Finding a balance of contributing to the team with all I have to offer and still being present at as many things as possible for my children will continuously be my biggest challenge. My family support system is the only thing that helps keep the balance. At this stage of my life, missing hockey games for my son, or dance for my daughter, or even just missing dinner, can sometimes seem discouraging. However, when my kids tell me how proud they are of me, I am reassured that I am doing the right thing as their role model.

Has there been a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted, like a promotion you wanted and didn’t get or a situation that didn’t turn out how you had hoped?

Allison Schwaegel, Central Region, St. Louis/Lambert ATCT (STL) FacRep -- When I became FacRep I had a lot of plans and a long list of tasks that I wanted to accomplish, but just a month after I took over our staffing dropped significantly and that is where all of my energy went for three years. I am happy that this problem is now fixed, but I will always be a little disappointed that staffing took up so much time and energy.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be one of the most significant in your career.

Kristen Laubach, Eastern Region, Philadelphia ATCT (PHL), CISM team member, Article 114 Rep for Airport Capacity Decision Support Tool (ADEST) -- I am most proud of being part of the NATCA Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team. Aircraft accidents are not something controllers want to think about, but it's a reality of our jobs. NATCA has done a great job working with the FAA to develop the CISM team and offer this service to the membership.

What was the organizational culture like 10 years ago for women and working mothers? Do you feel the Agency and aviation industry make continual efforts towards improving the culture for women?

Trish Gilbert, NATCA Executive Vice President -- Ten years ago, the ATC workforce was better staffed, so time off was easier to get. Everything else is slightly better now. There is space now for nursing mothers in facilities, albeit all are not ideal. The federal government, as the largest employer in the United States, should make instituting paid parental leave a priority; until then, support for women in the workforce seems hollow.

Are there challenges facing female controllers that are unique from those faced by their male peers?

Stephanie Winder, Northwest Mountain Region, Salt Lake Center (ZLC) FacRep -- Being the minority in most every situation can be intimidating. I want to be part of the solution and continue to provide innovative ideas and strategies to the NAS, so it’s important to speak up and let your voice, thoughts, and opinions be included in the conversation.

What can be done to make aviation safety professions more interesting to younger women?

Dawn McFalls, Alaskan Region, Merrill Field ATCT (MRI), National Legislative Committee Alaskan Region Rep -- We should participate in career days at schools because early outreach is a must. Getting young girls interested in our field is really easy to do. I had the privilege to work in the tower simulator at our local Girls in Aviation Day last year, and I honestly believe that was their favorite part of the day. I continue to describe our job as “poetry in motion,” and it’s truly beautiful to behold.

Karena Marinas: New OSHA Committee Chair
As longtime Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Committee Chair Mike Odryna (Boston Center, ZBW) retires this month after a 35-year career in the FAA, Los Angeles Center (ZLA) member Karena Marinas will take on the role of leading the committee in making sure NATCA members are safe in the workplace and well-represented.

Marinas joined the OSHA Committee in 2011 after serving as the safety rep at ZLA and wanted to continue to grow her activism in NATCA. When then-Western Pacific (NWP) Regional Vice President Ham Ghaffari put a regional solicitation out to the NWP membership for a position on the OSHA committee, Marinas figured it was a good fit and a great way to serve.

“I had a little background in workers' compensation from a previous job, and had a little exposure to OSHA as a result; but that was the extent of my knowledge,” Marinas said. “What I felt I could really bring to the table was a willingness to learn and serve our membership.”
OSHA Committee members Dominic Petrelli , Karena Marinas, and Lawrence Trottini present Mike Odryna with an honorarium for his service to the Committee.
One of the challenges of serving as an OSHA rep, Marinas explained, is that FacReps often have minimal knowledge about OSHA and why air traffic controllers should or would care.

“For this reason, I like to point out that we controllers can't do our job safely or efficiently, if the environment we are working in is unsafe and unhealthy,” Marinas said. “We need our health and surroundings to be as optimal as possible to do the best job we can. That will allow us to safely move airplanes without interruption.” Read more .
Eric Labardini's Mark on ADS-B
Eric Labardini first volunteered to join the National Surveillance and Broadcast Services (SBS) workgroup in November 2010. “I was initially charged with implementation of ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) surveillance into ERAM (En Route Automation Modernization) systems and other activities,” he said.

In December 2012, Labardini was selected to be the lead SBS representative under terms of the collaboration article (Article 48) in the Red Book NATCA-Federal Aviation Administration collective bargaining agreement. It’s now covered under Article 114 of the Slate Book. He said he has been fortunate to lead a very talented and dedicated team: Chris Aymond (New Orleans Moisant ATCT, MSY), Craig Bielek (Boston TRACON, A90), Dan Hamilton (San Francisco ATCT, SFO), Andrew Stachowiak (Houston TRACON, I90), and Tom Zarick (Denver Center, ZDV). Read more .
Phoenix Tower Members "Opt" for the Stairs
NATCA members at Phoenix Sky Harbor ATCT (PHX) and Phoenix TRACON (P50) hosted NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert recently for a facility visit. The visit came with an unexpected workout on the climb up the stairs to the tower, since the elevator was broken.

“We were excited that Trish was willing to climb the stairs with us,” PHX FacRep Brian Fox said.

Beginning in November 2018, the tower’s elevator started having major problems, Fox said. Maintenance ordered the parts, and the repairs were funded and approved. The maintenance crew worked 24-hour shifts to repair it during the government shutdown. The elevator had been back in service until a broken pipe flooded the elevator shaft and took the elevator out of service again a few days before Gilbert’s visit.

“The controllers that work here walk up and down the stairs in this 326-foot tower every day to provide stellar air traffic services, while they still are waiting for back pay from the shutdown,” Gilbert said. “They are truly dedicated professionals.”
PHX, a level 10 facility, opened on January 14, 2007, and is co-located with P50. The facility is responsible for 4,000 feet of airspace. Both P50 and PHX are in the top 20 of the nation’s TRACONs and Towers, respectively, for aircraft operations. PHX sees a large variety of aircraft, including air carriers, cargo, corporate jets, small private aircraft, and military aircraft.

Having an average of around 300 days of sunshine a year, PHX doesn’t usually suffer with weather complications. Instead, the desert brings dust walls, called a haboob, which is an intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current.
NATCA News and Notes
AMA Amarillo Goes ATC-0
Last Wednesday, Amarillo ATCT (AMA) members had to evacuate the tower and declare AMA ATC-0 due to high wind gusts. “There were steady 60 knot winds with gusts to 75 knots in the afternoon,” said AMA member Scott Kordes. The wind was so strong, at times reaching 80 miles per hour, it blew the siding off the tower. Tech ops were worried about the structure of the building and called for a mandatory evacuation. Fortunately winds died down, and AMA was back to normal operations the next day. “Debris is being cleared this week,” said AMA FacRep Brandon Ivey. “Soon contractors will be coming to replace the existing siding and better waterproof the tower.”
Onboarding Committee Assisting New FacReps
Pictured left to right: Joel Ortiz (Western Pacific RVP), Rob Kindred (ZAN), Samantha Navarro (SEA), Terry Donaldson (D10) , Jerry O’Gorman (FAT), TJ Woodyard (ACY) , Bryan Krampovitis (BDL), Dan Carrico (ORD), Anthony Schifano (CLT), Todd Mariani (ZKC), and Aaron Merrick (Central Region RVP).
The On-boarding Committee, led by Central Regional Vice President (RVP) Aaron Merrick, is tasked with creating guidelines and materials to help new facility representatives ease into their roles. “We have found in the past that many times FacReps were left to simply figure things out on their own,” said Merrick. “Our committee aids in creating a smoother transition to help the FacReps learn and adjust in their new roles.”

The On-boarding Committee is not a substitute for Representative Training (RT1), which deals with more of the labor-management relations (LMR) side of things. On-boarding is more focused on the day-to-day tasks that a FacRep needs to handle, such as communication with members, scheduling e-board and local meetings, how to manage facility finances, and more.

The Committee held its first meeting of the year to focus on updating its procedures and materials, and on-boarding the newest members to the Committee.
NATCA Hosts FAA Academy Meet and Greet
At NATCA’s March FAA Academy Meet and Greet, President Paul Rinaldi, Eastern Regional Vice President Rich Santa, Central Regional Vice President Aaron Merrick, National Professional Standards co-leads Garth Koleszar and Lydia Baune, Reloaded Committee Member John Riopel, Benefits Committee Chair John Bratcher, and SkyOne’s Dina Earl spoke to more than 100 FAA Academy students about Union benefits and involvement, legislative activism, and issues facing the National Airspace System.

As the first opportunity for students to meet with NATCA leaders in Oklahoma City (OKC) since the government shutdown, students attended en masse -- the room was standing-room only. Many of the students had been furloughed and sent home during the shutdown. NATCA advocated to have their classes reinstated.

The next OKC Meet and Greet is scheduled for April 23.
Aerospace Aviation Summit and Drone Competition
NATCA Technical Representative Liaison Matt Sullivan and Washington National ATCT (DCA) FacRep Aubrey Farrar spoke at the Aerospace Aviation Summit and Drone Competition at Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs, Md., on March 5. The annual summit brings government, the aerospace industry, and youth together to provide students with aerospace exhibits and workshops to give them an overview of aerospace careers.
Philadelphia Tower Donates to Cuddle Me Program
Pictured left to right: Mike Ross, Aaron Leffard, NCF Board of Director member Jason Boyde, Cuddle Me CEO and Founder Ann McIntyre, NCF Secretary Kristen Laubach, NCF Volunteer Scott Nagy, Ira Thompson, and Anthony Tisdale. Not pictured is Cuddle Me Rep Daniel Maney.
Philadelphia ATCT (PHL) controllers presented a check for $1,000 to the Cuddle Me Program on behalf of the NATCA Charitable Foundation. The Cuddle Me Program provides free diapers and wipes, as well as other essentials to babies and families in need. “The program assisted many federal workers in need during the government shutdown, with over 4500 requests from federal workers and a distribution of more than 80,000 diapers,” said PHL member and NCF volunteer Jason Boyde.
Seattle Center FacRep Presents Donation to Leap for Lupus
Seattle Center (ZSE) FacRep Alex Navarro III presented a check for $2,000 on behalf of the NATCA Charitable Foundation to the Leap for Lupus Foundation. Co-founder John Mitchell is a retired ZSE controller and created the organization with his wife, Valinda Mitchell, who has lupus. They raise funds through skydiving to help fund medical research for lupus and reliable treatment options. Visit for more information.
NATCA 2020 Convention Planning Underway
Pictured left to right at Space Center Houston: Lee Moore (I90), Deedra Norwood (ZHU), Kelly Richardson (NATCA Staff), Holly Cron (ZHU), Josh Goolsby (I90), Sandy Tighe (ZMP), Corrie Conrad (PDX), Andrew LeBovidge (NSW RVP), Donnie Martindale (IAH), and Corey Soignet (IAH).
The planning committee for NATCA’s 2020 Convention in Houston is preparing to welcome our Union brothers and sisters to their great city in May 2020. NATCA Southwest Regional Vice President Andrew LeBovidge and the other committee members recently toured possible event venues to develop a schedule of entertaining and unique events. The Houston Convention promises to be several incredible days of NATCA business and solidarity.
Archie League Deadline Approaching
Nominate a deserving aviation safety professional to be recognized at the 15th Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Awards ceremony. The award was named for the first air traffic controller and highlights a variety of aviation saves, some which involve a team of professionals working together, while others are the result of just one person's efforts. Any NATCA member can nominate another member in good standing before the April 30, 2019 deadline.  Click here  for more information. The awards will be presented on Sept. 18, 2019 at the Communicating For Safety conference in Las Vegas.
OSHA Webinar: Asbestos in Our Buildings
Many people think that asbestos building materials were banned. That would be logical based on their extreme negative health effects. Losses inflicted from asbestos-related diseases outpace all other occupational exposures combined. Unfortunately, a proposed EPA ban on all asbestos materials was struck down in 1991 by a Federal appeals court .

Certain types of asbestos materials are banned. But a large group of materials referred to as "miscellaneous" were used for building well into the 1990s and beyond.

In this webinar we will discuss the following:
  • Types of asbestos material by class
  • EPA bans on certain class types
  • What materials are asbestos suspect based on construction date
  • FAA asbestos inspections limitations
  • Impact of construction

NATCA's 2016 Slate Book contract with the FAA gives us rights to protect all building occupants. This webinar will help us use these tools.

To register for the webinar, please click here .
Store Item of the Week:
Passport Case
Features of this product: This black case is economical when you travel by plane or on a cruise. The slit on the right pocket can be used for claim tags or luggage tags. Union-made in the United States.

Price: $3.

To see the item and how to order: Click here . Select USPS or UPS as your shipping preference on your orders. To check on stock availability or for further assistance, call 800-266-0895 or email .
Member Benefits: Penn State World Campus/NATCA Alliance
Have you or someone in your family thought about pursuing a college degree? Through the Penn State World Campus/NATCA Alliance partnership, you, your spouse, and children qualify for in-state tuition rates from Penn State, as well as a five percent tuition discount. In addition, if have you taken any NATCA Academy courses, you can earn college credit for completion of all certified NATCA courses as well!

Through the Penn State/NATCA program, you can earn your degree or certificate online when you choose from more than 125 online programs by clicking here . Not only does NATCA provide a great avenue to a renowned educational institution, it also has a path to financial assistance to help further your education. The SRF-14 NATCA Education Reimbursement Fund is established for assisting active members in good standing to obtain a Bachelor of Labor Studies degree or any other educational course or certificate as deemed appropriate and approved by the National Executive Board from any NATCA-approved institution or program.

To find out more about Penn State or the Education Reimbursement Fund, visit .