NATCA Staff Spotlight: Director of Public Affairs Thom Metzger
We have an amazing National Office staff that our membership can be very proud of. Director of Public Affairs Thom Metzger came to NATCA from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration in 2017. Thom celebrated his five-year anniversary on March 6.
A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Southern California, Thom leads the public affairs team in coordinating communications, outreach and events, and technology for NATCA. “The most rewarding part about being on NATCA’s staff is getting to interact with so many of NATCA’s great members,” Thom said. “Their passion for our Union and their profession is remarkable.” Read more below.
Where are you from, or what places have you lived?
I grew up in a small town outside of Toledo, Ohio, called Wauseon.
Where did you go to school, or what other education do you have?
I went to college at Georgetown University and have a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
How did you come to work at NATCA?
I was working at the U.S. Department of Energy in the National Nuclear Security Administration, and a recruiter reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in joining NATCA’s team.
Do you have family members who are involved in unions?
My sister works at the UCLA Medical Center and is a proud member of the Healthcare Workers Unit of Local 2 of the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE-CWA, AFL-CIO).
What’s the most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA’s staff? What’s the most challenging?
The most rewarding part is getting to interact with so many of NATCA’s great members. Their passion for our Union and their profession is remarkable.
Our public affairs team is very busy coordinating communications, events, and technology for NATCA, so staying on top of everything that our team touches can be challenging.
Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of your work for NATCA?
I like spending time with my family, playing with our dogs, watching movies, reading, working out, traveling, and building LEGO sets.
Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?
“Favorite” might not be the right word, but I will always remember the time during the last government shutdown as an important time in my career. We successfully arranged a large number of interviews for NATCA’s leaders with some of the highest profile news programs, and the voice of our Union definitely was included in television, radio, and print news stories in a way that other federal-sector unions didn’t achieve. I have spent my career pitching news stories, so it was gratifying to see us really be a part of the national dialogue about the shutdown. I think those efforts may have helped bring an end to that terrible shutdown.
My favorite bands are mostly: alternative music bands from the 1980s like the Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Echo and the Bunnymen
I have a major phobia of: If something makes me uneasy, I try and embrace it as an opportunity for growth. I was terrified the first time I went skydiving, walked onto the floor of a full Madison Square Garden, or completed my first scuba cave dive, but those experiences all ended up being amazing.
My specialty meal to cook is: tacos on tuesday or anything on our grill.
If I could pick four people to have dinner with, dead or alive, I would choose: my grandparents.
My favorite comfort food is: lasagna or a club sandwich.
My favorite book I could read over and over is: Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City
The best place I’ve ever traveled to was: I backpacked throughout Europe for a good part of a year before college.
My parents always told me: to work hard and never give up achieving your dreams.
The funniest movies I have ever seen are: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “This Is Spinal Tap,” “Anchorman,” and “Office Space.”
The strangest food I have ever eaten is: fried scorpions from a Vietnamese street market food stall.
The one thing that always makes me laugh is: my dogs.
Candy or Chocolate: Do I have to choose?
Dogs or cats: I currently have two dogs (Xander and Dino), but also have always had cats. My family lost three feline family members (Maddie, Lucy, and Linus) during the last year.