This Week’s News and Notes: Member Spotlight on New NAL RVP Steve Munroe
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Member in the Spotlight
Steve Munroe, Alaskan Regional Vice President
FAA Service: Hired in February 1982
Hometown: Born in Nashua, N.H, and grew up five miles from Boston Center (ZBW). Moved to Anchorage and has lived there for 30 years with his wife of 28 years, Dena.
Q: How and why did you become an air traffic controller?
Munroe: It was kind of on a whim at the time; it was about six or eight months after the PATCO strike. My mom actually convinced me to do it. I knew I wanted to go to Alaska, and they hired me pretty quickly after finding that out.
Q: Do you have a family history of unionism?
Munroe: I actually don't. My dad was in the banking industry, so I really had no previous union influence or experience. But early in my career, I realized the need for a union in the profession.
Q: What spurred your involvement in NATCA leadership?
Munroe: I spent time helping organize in the early 80s and the next step was to stay involved. The agency's treatment of employees at the time did not seem right. My dad always taught me that if something seemed wrong, it probably was.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
Munroe: I do a lot of fishing. I'm actually in the process of building and operating an Alaskan Fly Fishing lodge. I've been doing guided fishing there. I also like to play hockey and have been to several ATC hockey tournaments. But now that I'm RVP, I probably have to put that stuff aside for a while.
Q: Of all your time at NATCA what is your favorite memory?
Munroe: I'm always proud of our union. I was honored to be on the Red Book negotiating team. It was one of the highlights of my NATCA career. I spent the long summer with some of the best LR minds in the union.
Q: What would you say to younger members who would like to hold leadership positions someday?
Munroe: I would tell younger members not to be intimidated about getting involved. It always seems like the people actively participating for NATCA have lots of knowledge. What they have is lots of experience that they use to gain that knowledge. The more you participate the more you learn. It is like controlling, the more you do it, hopefully the better you get at it. There are lots of people willing to help you get involved. You may make mistakes but you learn from them. NATCA offers lots of opportunities to those who want to take them. Get involved at some level. You are the future of your profession.
NATCA-FAA Collaboration Propels TAMR Improvements
(A joint NATCA-FAA update)
NATCA members across the country are collaborating with FAA management to bring an advanced automation system to more than 100 TRACONs.
The controllers are helping to guide the development and implementation of the Terminal Automation Modernization Replacement – TAMR – program, which will put all FAA TRACONs on a single automation platform for the first time in many years.
“Our mandate — from NATCA President Paul Rinaldi — is to get in there, roll our sleeves up and help the FAA be successful,” said Mitch Herrick (Miami Tower and TRACON), NATCA’s national lead for TAMR.
To support Segment One of the program, which will implement an updated version of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, or STARS, at 11 large TRACONs currently using the legacy Common Automated Radar Terminal System, Herrick asked the local NATCA representatives to select a NATCA member at each facility to help guide the program.
“In the spirit of collaboration, I said I want your best automation guy, who understands your system and who is willing to find solutions,” Herrick said.
The program won’t just install the version of STARS currently in use at several TRACONs around the country. It will incorporate elements that controllers like from the legacy Automated Radar Terminal System, or ARTS, upgrade the processor and add a new LCD flat panel monitor that will result in a new state-of-the-art STARS system. In fact, many of the keyboard entries for controllers will remain the same after the transition to STARS.
A team of experts from NATCA and FAA worked to ensure sites would receive a STARS product that includes necessary CARTS functions. The subject matter experts from the 11 facilities, led by Doug Peterson from Dallas TRACON, are able to weigh in on TAMR decisions for the facility, Herrick said.
Boise TRACON’s Mark Griffin is leading the effort for NATCA in Segment Two, which covers 94 smaller TRACONs and seven ARTS 1E sites. Six NATCA subject matter experts support him and have divided up responsibility for the smaller facilities.
But those individuals will not only be sharing their expertise to guide the program. They’ll also explain STARS’s benefits to controllers at the affected facilities and answer their questions about the change.
“They’re acting as ambassadors of the program to help dispel any myths or untruths that may be out there,” Herrick said. “We want these facilities in both segments to be excited about the program because it is a good program. It’s a fantastic system.”
“Collaboration with front line employees — the men and women who will use this equipment to do their jobs every day — has been essential to the successful development of the project,” said Jeff Yarnell, TAMR program manager. “With their expertise, experience and advice, we are going to be able to deliver an automation platform that will be a giant step forward from the one that’s currently in place.”
One of the concerns that controllers have raised is the knobs on the STARS radar displays. The ARTS system doesn’t have any knobs, and controllers who work with it wondered if they were necessary.
The NATCA subject matter experts have explained the utility of the knobs to controllers, making them aware of one of the many benefits of the new system.
“If you work at a STARS scope, the knobs have a great value,” Herrick said. “You can make an immediate change to your radar screen. They’ve proven to be invaluable.”
New Digital Edition of Air Traffic Controller Quarterly Now Available!
Now available is an electronic version of the first issue of our redesigned quarterly publication, the Air Traffic Controller. It uses the latest in digital publishing technology, providing a unique, fun way to enjoy our quarterly publication. Please click here to take a look:
We invite you to share your thoughts and future story ideas with us. Email Associate Director of Communications, Art & Design Laura Roose at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director of Communications Doug Church at email@example.com.
… And if You Want to Stop Receiving a Printed Copy of the Publication at Home
We have created two ways for you to opt out of receiving future issues of the printed version of the Air Traffic Controller:
1. Go to the NATCA Members Portal at https://portal.natca.org/, log in, and simply UNCHECK the box where it indicates, “receive newsletter.”
2. Call the National Office at 800-266-0895 or 202-628-5451 and ask to speak with a Support Staff Specialist, who can update your listing in the membership database.
Benefit Spotlight: Introducing FREE online service from Union Plus
Now you’ll never forget another holiday, oil change, or contract renewal date. Sign up for Rosie’s Reminder Service at http://www.unionplus.org/conversation/session. Customize your own reminders, and Rosie the Riveter will remind you by text or email. This online service is exclusively for union members from Union Plus and NATCA.
TIP: Ask Rosie to remind you when your mobile phone contract expires so you can switch to AT&T. You’ll save 15% off regular monthly individual or family calling plans, plus get a $25 credit when you purchase service online. Members using their AT&T union discount save an average of $71 annually.
What’s New at NATCA Store?
Introducing our latest products for 2012:
-- Gel-Skin Cover for iPad2 measuring 6.6" x 8.75" x .1". Gel-Skins are removable, reusable, durable, high gloss, slim profile, scratch resistant and non-slip grip. Gel-Skin products are guaranteed no fade for 5 years in direct sunlight. Simply stick the gel-skin at the back of your iPad and enjoy the three-dimensional graphic look and feel. Sold at $23.00 apiece.
-- NATCA Mouse pad – 7.5” x 8.5” x 1/4" Antimicrobial Fabric Surface Mouse Pad. Sold at $4.95 a piece.
-- Money Clip Wallet - Black credit card wallet money clip wallet with insert. Soft cowhide leather with the NATCA logo Die Struck Brass on the magnetic clip. Sold at $39.95 each.
All items are Union-made in the USA and are in stock for immediate shipment. Please visit us at www.natcastore.com. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send your message to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-266 0895 - Customer Service will be more than happy to assist you!
Upcoming Retirement Seminars
September 15 - Palmdale, Calif.
September 24 - Anchorage
October 5 - Huntsville, Ala.
November 7 - Detroit/Romulus, Mich.
November 16 - Cleveland
November 30 - Indianapolis
December 7 - Atlanta/Peachtree City, Ga.
December 11 - Hauppauge/Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
If you wish to register for one of the above referenced seminars, please do so by signing on to the NATCA Portal: http://portal.natca.org.
Please verify the personal information listed for you including email and cell phone number. If any information is incorrect or missing, please correct or add it under the "My Profile" tab.
To register for a seminar, click the "Events" tab. Then click "2012 Retirement Seminars-Membership Registration." Complete the requested information and hit "next." When you come to the screen listing the seminars, click on the box next to the one you wish to attend, hit "next," verify your requested seminar information and then click on the "done" key. You will receive a confirmation email that your registration was complete.
Spouses and significant others are also invited to attend. Please ensure that you add them to the registration when asked if you will be bringing a guest.
For your guide to “Understanding your NATCA Federal Benefits Package,” please visit this Web site: http://natca.sharmansite.com/. If you attempt to register for a seminar on this site, it will automatically lead you to the NATCA Portal.
If you have any questions regarding these events, registration process – or would like to have a retirement seminar take place in your area - please contact Sallie Sullivan at NATCA’s National Office by either emailing her at email@example.com or calling 202-220-9803.
Still Time to Get Involved in Ski Fest
The annual International Air Traffic Controllers SkiFest is scheduled for Jan. 19-26, 2013, at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.
Skifest packages start at $1,095 (based on quad occupancy in standard hotel room). Hotel reservations and all payments are due by Oct. 15, 2012. After that, prices are not guaranteed and is space-available only.
For more information, please go to: www.skifest.us.
In addition, the Golden Flight Level international ski event will be in Finland this coming winter. For more information, please go to: www.gfl2013.com.