RVP Quotes About the Winning Saves

Rick Thompson
Alaskan Regional Vice President

I am proud to salute the inaugural Archie League Medal of Safety Award winner from the Alaskan Region, Meaghan Bradley from Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center.

Meaghan recently began her air traffic control career and rapidly achieved Certified Professional Controller status. She comes from a distinguished air traffic control and NATCA background. Her mother, Melanie Whatley, an Anchorage Tower controller, is a longtime NATCA member and former Merrill Field Tower facility representative.

Meaghan excelled at the University of Alaska Anchorage Collegiate Training Initiative program. She is currently training to compete in Alaska’s premier running event, “The Anchorage Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon” and is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training to raise money for leukemia research.

The Alaskan Region is rightly proud of the outstanding example of awareness and teamwork Meaghan and also fellow Anchorage Center Controller Terry Tramp displayed in ensuring the safety of the ATC system. 



John Tune 
Central Regional Vice President

Mark Goldstein, 43 years old, started his air traffic control career with the U.S. Navy in 1981. After serving five years, he was hired by the FAA and went to work in Salina, Kan., in 1987. Mark transferred to Wichita Tower in 1989 and has been a great addition to the air traffic control team.

Mark has an extensive background in aviation and is considered to be a conscientious air traffic controller. He is a private, instrument, commercial, and multi-engine rated pilot with a degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  He has used this experience to assist numerous pilots and his fellow controllers. I am proud that Mark is currently serving on the National Air Traffic Controllers Association's Central Region Runway Safety Action Team.

Not only is Mark safety-minded but he’s also civic-minded. His interests include golf, dirt bike riding, flying, and hockey. Mark loves hockey so much he has volunteered his time to share his knowledge and talent to young hockey players by coaching.

Mark is one of the many air traffic controllers who are ordinary individuals doing extraordinary jobs. His willingness to go above and beyond what is expected has provided the flying public and system users with exemplary service. I am very proud to salute a very deserving winner of the Archie League Medal of Safety.



Phil Barbarello
Eastern Regional Vice President

In our business, the difference between safety and disaster is often a matter of seconds. The focus and skill shown by two consummate professionals, Scott Dittamo of Newark Tower and Greg Horne of Washington Dulles Tower have made that crucial difference.

Scott, a 29-year-old developmental controller, showed the calm focus and presence of mind to notice a very unusual occurrence and alert a commercial aircraft on a short final that it had no landing gear extended, thus averting disaster. This is all the more noteworthy since Scott was training and was, therefore, under a lot of pressure to recognize and respond quickly and correctly to a number of situations new to him on the local control position. Greg, a veteran controller, stopped a small plane from entering a runway where another plane was landing. At one of the busiest towers in the region, his quick and decisive action was made without the luxury of time to consider options. 

It gives me tremendous pride and pleasure to see Scott and Greg represent our region in the first Archie League awards program because they embody the very best in our profession.



Mike Blake
New England Regional Vice President

When you meet Ken Hopf, you immediately understand why he is not only a deserving, but likable honoree in this, the first Archie League awards program.  A calming nature, engaging personality and infectious sense of humor help to ease co-workers and pilots alike. I remember first meeting Ken 21 years ago at Boston Center.  He made the impossible happen for me, even back then, when he could make me laugh as the lowliest developmental, encouraging me to succeed. Heck, I even think I looked forward to coming to work.

Ken is an Air Force veteran, having worked as a crew chief on F-4 Phantoms at Nellis AFB in Nevada. He was initially hired by the Federal Aviation Administration as an Airways Facilities technician and worked at Providence, R.I., for several years. Ken then transferred into air traffic, working at Boston Center, Groton Tower, Worcester Tower, Manchester Tower and now at Boston Consolidated TRACON.

Ken’s love for aviation is well-known. As a private pilot, flight instructor and air traffic controller, he has shared his love with many others. He has exceptional knowledge on aircraft systems and airmanship. Ken is deeply involved in his flying club, and, in fact, maintains the club’s aircraft.

Ken and his wife, Kathy, live in Bow, N.H., where they raised two grown daughters, Annie and Mary, in a house that Ken built. He is an avid snowboarder as well. One of my favorite things that I heard about was that Ken’s personable nature has earned him the nickname “Mr. Wonderful” by Kathy’s co-workers!



Carol Branaman
Northwest Mountain Regional Vice President

Skill, knowledge and clear and creative thinking made the difference between disaster and a very merry Christmas for the pilot and passengers of Bonanza 8604M, courtesy of a team of controllers at Portland Tower and TRACON, headed by Allan Blair and Brian Miller.

On December 23, 2004, the Bonanza pilot and two passengers found themselves above the clouds with 10 minutes of fuel and no instruments necessary for IFR flight.  While Allan fine-tuned his virtuoso performance through a series of sound and creative plan changes based on the changing scenario, Brian and the tower controller team played the crucial supporting role by clearing the airport for an arrival on any of its runways.

Allan and Brian exemplify the skill, judgment and flexibility that is the hallmark of an occupation filled with people who do extraordinary things routinely.  Thank you to the special team of professional controllers at Portland who gave the gift of life just in time for Christmas!  You rock!!



Darrell Meachum
Southwest Regional Vice President

I am extremely proud that NATCA is recognizing air traffic controllers with the Archie League Medal of Safety. As the first recipient of this award from the Southwest Region, Chris Owen embodies what it means to serve as an air traffic controller, and what it means to serve others through NATCA.

Chris is one of the most conscientious NATCA members I know.

His efforts on Sept. 27, 2004 were recognized by more than just NATCA and the Awards Selection Committee. Chris also received warm acknowledgements from the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, which issued a letter of commendation to the FAA affording him their “greatest appreciation.” The hospital advised the FAA that, “without the efforts of this individual, the patient’s life and well-being would have been at a much greater risk.”

Chris has been an air traffic controller since January 1991 and he currently works on the Glen Rose Specialty at Fort Worth Center. Chris serves the NATCA-ZFW membership as chair of the Membership Services Committee and in that role, he organizes the local’s annual holiday party and other assorted social events. Chris also serves nationally as a member of the User Request Evaluation Tool National Training Cadre.

I would like to add my thanks and congratulations to Chris for a job well done.



Bob Marks
Western Pacific Regional Vice President

Ron Chappell started with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1988 at Burbank Tower, combining a lifelong love of aviation with a career in air traffic control. In 1992, he transferred to Los Angeles Approach and later followed the facility down to San Diego when Southern California TRACON was commissioned. Ron holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and enjoys flying, spending time with his wife, Bridgette, and driving dune buggies in the desert. 

Al Hurst started at Los Angeles Center, transferring to the L.A. Area at SoCal TRACON almost 10 years ago. “Big Al”, as he is well known at SCT, likes to play on Yahoo computer games while on breaks from duty in the union office. His screen name is “Bigal,” but he used to get interrupted constantly with private messages from interesting people who thought his screen name was “Bi-gal.”  When notified of his co-selection with Ron for this award, Al pointed out that his operating initials now stood for “Archie League.” 

Both of these gentlemen exemplify what this award is all about. Professionalism, commitment to excellence, teamwork, and remaining calm under pressure is what saved the day in this instance. It is a pleasure for me to congratulate both Ron and Al, as well as the other candidates for the Western Pacific Archie League Award, for jobs well done!



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