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Member Focus: Christine “Chrissy” Padgett // September 28, 2012

Christine “Chrissy” Padgett, Washington Center

Chrissy was born in Atlantic City, N.J. She grew up in Northern Virginia and South Jersey and currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Air traffic control career:

  • Hired in 1999
  • Worked at Atlanta Center (ZTL) for the first six years of career
  • Currently is a controller at Washington Center (ZDC), where she’s been for seven years

How did you get involved with NATCA?

My dad, Vic Padgett, and uncle, John Thornton, were both air traffic controllers and very involved in PATCO. My uncle was actually one of the original organizers of NATCA, so I learned a lot about air traffic control and union activism from them. When I had just gotten fully certified, Lee Riley was the FacRep for Atlanta Center. It was through him that I found my first mentor who encouraged me to get involved in NATCA. I started off as chair of the ZTL Election Committee, and from there I continued to get more involved.

So you have a family history of unionism?

Yes, both my dad and uncle were involved with PATCO and were ultimately fired during the strike. Although I was only four at the time, it always stayed with me — wanting to help with the union and fight the fight.

What are you currently involved with in NATCA?

Right now, I’m the Eastern Regional Reloaded Representative. I’m also on the Historical Committee and the local Election Committee for Washington Center.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to run, and I’ve gotten into a couple 5k races, and I also like Vinyasa yoga.

Do you have a favorite moment while at NATCA?

That’s really tough. I guess what sticks out, right now, is the last Convention we had in Denver. There was just a lot of solidarity and you could just see the unity between everyone.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself continuing to be a controller and a proud NATCA member, continuing to help in any way NATCA needs me.

Do you have any advice/tips/messages for members who would like to get involved?

Get active! Whether you’ve been a member for only a couple of years or for over twenty years, all you need is the desire to be a part of something great. Ask anyone, “Hey, can I help out?” Find someone who you admire, whether it’s at your facility or functions you attend, ask them to be your mentor. That’s something that’s really important to me since I’m involved with NATCA Reloaded, which focuses a lot on mentorship. Because for me that’s how I got started — someone took me under their wing. Don’t be intimidated to ask to help or lend a hand. People are always looking for help or volunteers at all levels of NATCA. Members should know that the Union is all of us working together, not just a few of us working alone.

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