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National Professionalism Award Winner: Karena Marinas

Karena Marinas
Los Angeles Center (ZLA)

Marinas has served in many roles during her 14 years at ZLA. She has been on the local Professional Standards Committee, the Local Safety Council, served as a Facility Safety Rep, an Aviation Safety Investigator, and an OSHA NATCA Academy Instructor. She currently serves as the OSHA Committee Chair.

Several of Marinas’s peers who nominated her for the award spoke eloquently about her many accomplishments and professional traits:

“I can’t think of a better recipient for the NATCA Professionalism Award than Karena Marinas. Since the first week I checked into ZLA eight years ago, she has been the person we all go to for all things safety and professionalism. All the various committees she’s a part of and roles she plays both locally and nationally aside, every day she is on the floor working the operation, she is the most professional controller and co-worker I know.”

“I credit Karena for jump-starting my involvement in NATCA and I am thankful every day for it. I do not know anyone else more professional or as committed to safety than Karena and I feel confident that you will agree that she is the most deserving candidate for the NATCA Professionalism Award.”

“Karena executes and fulfills her responsibilities daily with uncompromising dedication and an unwavering commitment to maintaining a professional decorum. I count myself fortunate to have worked with her on a variety of issues and workgroups and have used her example as an inspiration for my own interactions.”

“My experiences with Karena have always been extremely positive and her professionalism displayed at ZLA has been a great example for everyone.”

“Karena strives to resolve issues by working with all sides to achieve the most beneficial outcome for everyone involved. All the while, treating everyone with respect and maintaining the highest level of professionalism.”

About the National Professionalism Award

NATCA’s Professional Standards program maintains and promotes professionalism across all of NATCA’s bargaining units. We achieve that through a commitment to safety and the public’s trust. We work to inspire, motivate, and provide personal examples of our professionalism to others and to maintain the highest standard of excellence. 

NATCA’s National Professionalism Award was created to recognize those who have demonstrated a consistent personal commitment to safety and excellence, and whose professional contributions and individual performance have enhanced the standing of our professions.

“Every year it gets harder to narrow it down to the winners from so many amazing nominations,” said Garth Koleszar of the National Professional Standards Committee. “Every single one of the nominees displayed professionalism worthy of the award.”

Lydia Baune, a member of both the National Professional Standards and Respect Committees, said, “We also want to thank each and every one of you who chooses professionalism every day. This award is for each of you as well. You are making a positive impact on our profession and on safety.”

Those nominated were evaluated on their body of work throughout their careers. The factors considered were: 

  • How did they, as individuals, promote professionalism?
  • How did they inspire and motivate others?
  • Did they personally demonstrate professionalism?
  • Consideration was given to the testimonials and statements provided by their peers. 

“Professionalism adds to safety,” Joshua Cooper, fellow National Professional Standards and Respect Committee member said. “Without professionalism we lose trust and this affects the entire National Airspace System. These individuals represent a continued daily commitment to our professionalism.”

Chris Keyes, the newest member of the National Professional Standards Committee added, “Exemplary professionalism has an incredible impact on our workplace relationships and environments. The dedication to professionalism that this year’s award winners have shown is more than evident in their nominations. They have all made a tremendous impact on others through their focus on professionalism and determination to serve their peers. We can all be very proud to have them as our NATCA brothers and sisters.”

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