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NATCA Staff Spotlight: Deputy Director of Public Affairs for Events and Outreach Jill Blimline

NATCA is incredibly fortunate to have a team at our National Office that exemplifies dedication and excellence. Each day, they pour their hearts and efforts into their work, driven by a commitment to deliver unparalleled service and representation. NATCA’s members have every reason to be proud of this remarkable team, for they are the backbone that supports and uplifts our Union. Today, we are excited to shine the spotlight on a standout member of our National Office team: Deputy Director of Public Affairs for Events and Outreach Jill Blimline.

Where are you from, or what places have you lived?

I am from Baltimore and spent most of my life in Baltimore, with some short stints living in Annapolis and Northern Virginia. I currently live in Towson which is a suburb of Baltimore County.

Where did you go to school, or what other education do you have?

I graduated from Towson University. I am also a Certified Meetings Professional.

How did you come to work at NATCA?

I have been in the events industry for 26 years. I knew I was ready for a change from my last career of 6 years and wanted to make the right move. I wanted to work somewhere that would make full use of my experience in this field, something meaningful, and to be a part of something that truly mattered. No one will ever say that the job of an Air Traffic Controller isn’t important. Keeping everyone safe is vital. I had been searching for about 8 months and when I saw this opportunity I thought, “Now this is something that affects everyone.” I spent hours perusing the website, learning about air traffic controllers and the history of the profession, I read all about the safety conferences, seeing the impact of the NATCA Charitable Foundation, and following NATCA on LinkedIn — I even tuned into the Live Streaming Archie Awards before my first interview, and I was hooked. I thought, there is no way I can’t work here. I would have been devastated to not get the job — I was totally invested in the organization. I was elated when I received the offer to support such an incredible union.

Do you have family members who are involved in unions?

My dad was a member of the Communication Workers of America Union for 11 years. My mom was a member of the Education Support Professionals of Baltimore County Union for 19 years.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA’s staff? What’s the most challenging?

Staff members are kind and respectful of one another. They genuinely seem happy to work together and be a part of this organization. And when you are happy, you not only get the job done, but you do your best at that job. Everyone gives their all and they care about the staff and the membership. Many of the staff have been here for a long time, and it’s easy to see why. I work closely with NATCA members on committees, and I am impressed with how much time and effort they volunteer to plan events. I came from a past organization where the staff led and executed all the event logistics, and it’s impressive to work alongside NATCA members to accomplish these goals.

I thought the most challenging part would be going back to an office environment and commuting to Washington, D.C., after 6 years of remote work, but I am enjoying the NATCA office environment and being back in the city has reconnected me with so many of my hotel and meeting professional friends who I didn’t get to see much of over the last few years. I feel very alive!

Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of your work for NATCA?

I own a gravel bike and ride rails to trails often. Any chance I get to ride a new trail, I do it. I have a few trails I frequent to get the exercise in but make a point to take a few long weekend vacations a year to ride a new trail.  Often rail trails are lined with local breweries, so it’s a fun way to visit those as well and to see a town in a whole new way while meeting the locals.

Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?

My first week we had the December birthday lunch celebrations, so that wasn’t a bad way to come into a new place of employment. And three of us at the NATCA office share a December 13 birthday. Pretty interesting for a small organization!

My favorite sport is: Ice Hockey. My two sons have been skating since they could walk. Brett is a senior in high school and Paul is a freshman. We spend the majority of September through March in an ice rink or at a tournament. We love the Washington Capitals! Currently they are both on travel teams, and they also are on the same high school team!

My parents always told me:  Never go to bed mad at one another. Make sure to let people know you love them.

The one thing that always makes me laugh is: Standup Comedy- I will know within 5 minutes of watching a standup if I will be investing my time to watch the rest of the show and when I do, I am completely into it, cackling the whole time. Dave Chapelle, Jim Gaffigan, Bill Burr, Neal Brennan, Sebastian Maniscalco, and Andrew Jeselnik are a few of my go-tos!

Dogs or cats: Dogs, I have two Boston Terriers that I am absolutely obsessed with and have recently added a Labrador Retriever to the mix.

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