CFS 2013: Previous and New Award Recognitions
Thursday, March 21, 2013

This year's Communicating for Safety brought some previous and new award recognitions:

Sentinel of Safety Award: Randy Babbitt
Dale Wright Career Achievement Award: Ricky Thompson
Steve Hansen Safety Advocate Award: Andy Marosvari
Raytheon Safety Award: Mel Davis
Professional Standards Workgroup Recognition


Sentinel of Safety Award: Randy Babbitt




NATCA created the Sentinel of Safety Award as a way to honor a member of the aviation community who has displayed outstanding achievement in the advancement of aviation safety. This year, Randy Babbitt, a true champion of aviation safety for more than four decades, received the award at the CFS awards luncheon.

"Paul and Trish and all of you at NATCA, thank you very much," said Babbitt as he accepted his award. "I'm humbled by this recognition (and) flattered by your thoughts, but I'm really pleased to see the progress, happy to be a part of it. Any organization is reflected by the characters of its people. And you, the people at NATCA, have made this airspace system the safest it has ever been, and will continue to be."

Babbitt is currently the Senior Vice President of Labor Relations for Southwest Airlines. He is responsible for all negotiation, communication, and ongoing relationships between the airline and the 11 unions that represent 87 percent of Southwest employees.

Babbitt served as FAA Administrator from 2009 to 2011. During his tenure, he was committed to restoring fairness to all air traffic controllers and worked diligently to provide frontline employees with pre-decisional involvement. Babbitt made it clear that achieving lasting success would require both the FAA and NATCA to "put chains" on the pendulum swings that often result when there is a change in leadership.

Click here to watch the full video clip.


Dale Wright Career Achievement Award: Ricky Thompson




Created just last year and named after Director of Safety and Technology Dale Wright, this year's recipient, Ricky Thompson, embodies career-long dedication, sacrifice and solidarity.

"(When I retired), I kind of thought I was done, I was going to work airplanes for a little while, maybe actually help my wife at home with a few things. But then I got a call from Paul and he said we had this new thing we were going to work on and we'd like you to do it. I went home and talked to (my wife) Mary and she said, well what did you say, and I said the president called and asked for help. If there's anything I can do, I'm going to do it. And it was an honor."

"It (the project) was challenging, it was interesting, and hopefully we made things a little bit better," said Thompson when accepting his award.

Thompson was not only a past facility representative at Anchorage Center (ZAN), but he also became Alaskan Regional Vice President in the spring of 1997 and served for four terms through 2009.

As a past PATCO and current NATCA controller, Thompson is known for standing up with courage and leadership. Upon joining the new NATCA union, he said, "We can make this a better [work] place by joining together."

He is now officially retired from the FAA, but remains a great role model for our future leaders.

Click here to watch the full video clip.


Steve Hansen Safety Advocate Award: Andy Marosvari




A supremely dedicated member, Andy Marosvari is a member of the national Professional Standards Workgroup and exemplifies professionalism in everything he does. Marosvari was awarded for his dedication to professionalism and safety with the Steve Hansen Safety Advocate Award.

"I am so surprised," said Marosvari as he accepted his award. "I just want to thank NATCA, what a great organization to belong to. Trish is right, I don't know how to say no, but's important to me. I'm passionate about safety and aviation. And thank you very much."

Not only is Marosvari on the national Professional Standards Workgroup, but he's also been on the National Safety Committee since 2008, and serves as the Professional Standards representative on the committee. He's also a member of the 7110.65 rewrite team working on the very manual that determines how we do our jobs.

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Raytheon Safety Award: Mel Davis



The first ever Raytheon Safety Award given to a NATCA member was presented to NATCA NextGen Representative Mel Davis for bringing the aviation industry stakeholders together to ensure safe operations in the National Airspace System (NAS).

"We want to thank Mel Davis for what he's doing in the name of aviation safety," said Michael Espinola, Director of Domestic Automation Systems in Raytheon's Network Centric Systems. "All of us have an interest in coming together to keep U.S. skies the safest in the world, and he has been an instrumental part of that."

Davis works with the FAA, industry and international organizations to provide controller perspective to projects. His work provides vendors and organizations with a better idea of what initiatives need to work in the NextGen area. Davis has improved the communications between NATCA and industry, leading the way for better air traffic products for the NAS.

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Professional Standards Workgroup Recognition



The groundbreaking efforts of the Professional Standards Workgroup has led to a much deserved recognition, and what better way than to honor them with awards during CFS 2013?

This team has called NATCA members to duty and to action and challenged air traffic controllers to take personal ownership of professionalism. Professional Standards Representative Garth Koleszar so accurately stated Day 2 of CFS, "You know professionalism when you see it. You know when you don't. You know what it takes. That's the standard."

The Professional Standards Program was rolled out under an accelerated timeline in order to introduce it into every facility as quickly as possible. As a result of time constraints and class size limitations, NATCA began the program with what can be considered the very minimum time and financial resources necessary to put the program in place.

This workgroup has made it clear that development and progress must continue to allow the program to mature to the point where the Professional Standards Program becomes an institutional concept. An open line of communication back and forth between the Professional Standards Program and groups such as ALPA, Tech Ops, and SUPCOM will be in instrumental in ensuring external program interaction is successful.

Click here to watch full video clip.