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Mineta Recognizes NATCA Members for Their Significant Earthquake Recovery Efforts - (6/11/2001)

CONTACT: Courtney Portner, 202.220.9813, cportner@natcadc.org
WASHINGTON – By working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Seattle Earthquake response team rebuilt Seattle Tower in just 90 days. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta honored 25 individuals today, including six National Air Traffic Controllers Association engineers and one NATCA Logistics Division member at the John C. Whitehead Forum for their significant contributions during the recovery effort.

The Federal Aviation Administration Airway Facility engineers receiving recognition included Curt Howe, Pablo Riofrio, Don Schmeichel, Hal Snyder and Mark Stack. Jack Scott, an engineer from the agency’s Airports Division, and Brad Burton from the Logistics Division also received accommodation.

“Immediately after the earthquake, engineers were cutting down trees, logistics was cutting red tape and most importantly, planes were landing in Seattle. While other businesses would have closed down, Seattle Tower stayed operational,” Executive Vice President Ruth Marlin elaborated.

Within two hours after the earthquake, engineers brought the mobile tower into place, and controllers were handling traffic near capacity that day. Then after spotting a higher site to sit the mobile tower on, the engineers unhooked the mobile tower, drug it over, and had a crane lift it to its new position.

The Port of Seattle stabilized the partially collapsed Seattle Tower the afternoon of the quake, and FAA engineers coordinated the work of over 200 contractors brought on board to meet the aggressive schedule. Burton restored the regional office so NATCA members could return to a safe environment.

The new Seattle Tower, which can now withstand a 9.5 earthquake, features several enhancements. For instance, it is the first tower to have the clear, safety laminated glass mounted on the outside so it can move up to two inches, and if the glass breaks, it will fall outside the facility.

“While the speed in which the tower was refurbished is remarkable, the true measure of these individuals’ contribution goes far beyond these walls. It is these federal employees’ commitment, and their dedication to the public they serve that has made Seattle Tower a model of teamwork,” concluded Marlin.

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