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ZNY Honors Member Linda Waters with All-Female Crew During Women’s Day

New York Center (ZNY) controller Linda Waters commemorated her 35 years as an air traffic controller and upcoming retirement in a special way. As a leader and matriarch of Area F, Waters knew that it could be staffed entirely with women. Additionally, she worked with ZNY FacRep Frank Galante and ZNY member Colleen Shea to get as many female controllers on staff that day, Jan. 21.

“When I first started [35 years ago], there were only three female controllers in my area,” said Waters. “In the past few years, Area F has been assigned several female trainees. One night, I realized that we actually had enough women to work the area, including our area manager and chief, and I thought, ‘we can do this.’ I suggested it to my colleagues, and they were all immediately on board. The rest is history.”

Twelve of the 13 women in Waters’s area were present, which allowed it to run on an entirely female crew, and nearly 30 ZNY female members were on hand to honor Waters’s request, officially named “Women’s Day at New York Center.”

In attendance to recognize Waters (pictured left) for her impeccable career and to celebrate the day with the ZNY female controllers were NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, FAA Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Teri Bristol, ZNY Acting Air Traffic Manager Tia Moore, ZNY Operating Manager Liesl Powers, and many other NATCA members. “Congratulations to Linda for 35 years at ZNY as an accomplished controller,” said Gilbert. “We wish her the best on her well-deserved retirement and in her future endeavors.”

“Linda has always looked out for our best interests and has been a strong source of support in our area,” Shea said. “She has taught us so much, and she will truly be missed.”

“It meant so much to me seeing it actually taking place,” said Waters. I am so proud of the women and men of ZNY.”

The members of ZNY also used the occasion to celebrate women in air traffic control and advocate for more women to join the field, especially with the FAA hiring bid that came out Jan. 24.
Said Gilbert, “Encourage young women to pursue a career in air traffic control. Let them know that we need them, want them, and they’re welcome in this career field. If you don’t encourage them, they might not think about it. Someone encouraged me when I didn’t even know what an air traffic controller was.”