Member in the Spotlight: Tom Bowman
Friday, November 02, 2012
Members at the 2012 Biennial Convention in Denver; Tom Bowman pictured front, third from the right. Western Pacific Regional Vice President Ham Ghaffari pictured front, fourth from the left.
Air traffic control career: Hired in June 2008. Controller at Carlsbad Palomar Tower (CRQ).
Born and raised: Born in Santa Barbara, Calif. Moved to Texas when he was 7. Moved back to California after high school.
Q: How did you get involved with NATCA?
A: I got involved in NATCA because at the time I knew a lot of people getting involved with it. I heard it was a great, but really didn't know that much about it. But the more I got involved, the more I recognized it as an opportunity to become a leader.
Q: What are you involved in with NATCA?
A: I'm involved in Professional Standards and I'm on the Convention Committee for the 2016 Biennial Convention in San Diego. I also try to take classes when I'm able, and recently took a labor relations class in Orlando, Fla., but I'm not involved in any labor relations teams. As far as leadership at my facility, I started off as the Vice President at CRQ before taking on the role as FacRep soon after. I was just reelected to my third consecutive term and I'm looking forward to continuing to improve the quality of life at CRQ.
Q: How did you get involved in these leadership roles within NATCA?
A: Growing up I've always been involved in leadership roles. I was Captain of the high school soccer team. In any type of school political position, I was on it. In business school, I was usually picked as the project lead. Leadership roles are something that I’ve always been attracted to and something that I’ve taken very seriously. But that's not solely why I got involved in leadership at NATCA. I wanted to have a work impact. I didn't want somebody always telling me what to do, I wanted to have a say in what I did. The more I got involved, the more I realized the importance of using my role to produce more leaders, not more followers.
Q: What are you doing now as a FacRep to get your facility more involved?
A: I really strive to get our members involved in everything I can. I just sent one of my members to a Legislative Activist training course. I sent another member to a Basic Representative training class. I try to send as many members as I can to Communicating for Safety. We have a lot of Article 48 workgroups in place. I try to get everybody involved in something besides controlling to increase their activism and hope that maybe they'll find their passion.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of NATCA?
A: I'm in real estate, I play soccer, I like to exercise and run. And of course I like to go to the beach, it's my sanctuary.
Q: Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?
A: The thing that sticks with me the most is seeing the emotion members have when they receive various awards. One event that really sticks out is when Garth Koleszar received an award in Hawaii. You could just see his emotion and happiness in receiving that award. He's so committed to NATCA; so much of his free time and so much of his life is in bettering other's lives. It sticks with me. It makes an impact on me to realize that it's not just about the little things. It's about the big picture about making the union better.
Q: Do you have any advice/tips/messages for members who would like to get involved?
A: In my opinion, you need to build a solid relationship with everyone that you can and that includes management. Try to build a trusting relationship with anyone who is going to have an impact about decisions at your facility, or decisions that have an impact on your union. As a leader, you have to have the courage to act against an expert's advice. And I don't mean that in a bad way, but if you seek advice from an expert and you're not sure you like the response you get, you don't have to take it. Act as a leader and make the decision on your own.