Member Focus: Nick Hagstrom, RDG
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Nick Hagstrom, in this photo holding grey "25 Years of NATCA Activism" sign.
Air traffic control career: Currently works at Reading Tower (RDG) where he's been since 2008.
Born and raised: Kings Park, N.Y.
Q: How did you get involved with NATCA?
A: While living in Miami, I witnessed Steve Wallace and other leaders at Miami Center (ZMA) step up in defense of all controllers (regardless of time in or membership status within the union) during the implementation of the White Book. They really fought diligently, and their leadership and dedication was inspiring. I realized what a great union NATCA is and I had to be a part of it. At my first and current facility Reading Tower (RDG), Allen Fritz became my mentor. I saw how passionate he was for NATCA. I started asking him questions about anything I wanted to know and learned from him. He's still very passionate for this Union. He had been our facility representative for many years in the past, as well as our legislative representative. I still seek his advice and thank him for his many commitments.
Q: What are you involved in with NATCA?
A: I accepted my first position on the executive board as vice president for a couple months, and then was elected facility representative in March 2011. I was just re-elected to my second two-year term as facility representative. Recently, I went to the Minnesota Training Review Board class and learned how to better protect the members and improve the training program for the Eastern Region.
Q: How did you get involved in these leadership roles within NATCA?
A: During my time as vice president, the thought of becoming facility representative was definitely there. Our facility had many internal issues that needed to be addressed. Many members came to me with their concerns since I wasn't shy about voicing them. They really supported and encouraged me to become our facility representative.
Q: What's the toughest part of being a facility representative? What's the most rewarding?
A: The toughest part of being a facility representative is managing time to deal with the issues and responsibilities that come with the position. The most rewarding is being part of the positive changes in the facility and the camaraderie that has developed as a result.
Q: Being a facility representative, how do you encourage younger members to get involved?
A: Since we're a small facility, it's sometimes tough to get enough people involved to accomplish all of our tasks. During our quarterly meetings we try to communicate to our members what needs to be accomplished and encourage them to do more. I also have a very open door policy, allowing them to ask me anything, and even shadowing me if they want to learn more about what I do. I recently sent two of our younger members, George Grampp and Noah Pelkowski, to NATCA in Washington. They loved it so much that they took on positions on our executive board!
Q: Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?
A: I actually have a couple favorite moments, but there's one that really sticks out. I went to the Future Facilities meeting in Philadelphia. NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert and a couple of FAA counterparts were there. He (Rinaldi) gave a speech about becoming more collaborative and bringing members together in a positive way. The video that was shown gave a sense of pride for what we do and our mission as an organization. The days spent there were really powerful, and I was eager to bring that energy to my facility.
Q: Do you have any advice/tips/messages for members who would like to get involved?
A: My advice is to find somebody who can be your mentor. Really shadow them and ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask somebody what you can do to help out or get involved. There are numerous opportunities, some of which you may not even be aware.