Winners of the Excellence in Training Award:
2022: Thomas Marynik
Marynik began his career at ZAB in 2003 and continues as a CPC there to this day.
He led NATCA and the agency in Redesigning the Enroute Radar Associate Stage training. Radar Associate training is the most significant course that en route controllers will take during their career.
It is the cornerstone of en route air traffic controllers and provides the foundation upon which all other en route controller training is built.
This redesign represented a generational change and provided trainees with among the most comprehensive training we have ever deployed.
He led a team that diligently worked on ensuring that the content for instructor-led training was correct and that all aspects of the position and job sub-tasks were covered.
The redesign accounted for programs that are in the process of being deployed, such as Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC). This redesign was completed in the face of many obstacles, mainly due to the pandemic and budget cuts.
He was and remains instrumental in all things related to Enroute training; he is an SME and relied upon by other SMEs. He contributed to establishing parameters for the changes to the 3120.4 for the EnRoute and TMU appendices, lent his expertise to TBO and TBFM training, and provided SPOT training, SGET training, and scenario development.
2021: Marc Schneider
Schneider served in the USAF and the USA, retiring from the Indiana National Guard in 2008 after 23 years. He was a direct hire at ZID (DOD Controller) in 1998 where he met his wife, Wendy. He also has a master’s degree in education.
He has been a local Secretary, Treasurer, Area Rep, and Training Rep. He is presently the ZID FacRep, the Great Lakes Training Rep, and one of the Great Lakes ARVP.
In addition, he is a member of the NATCA Benefits Committee, NATCA Training Committee, and the NATCA Onboarding Committee. He teaches the Secretary/Treasurer Class, the National OJTI Training Cadre Class and the Training Review Board Class.
In March of 2020, because of the COVID pandemic, the need to conduct Training Review Boards virtually was an issue we faced for the first time.
Schneider went through the detailed process of making necessary changes to the curriculum and ensuring that it was transferable via this new medium.
As a result, we have been able to develop upwards of 100 personnel that can now conduct TRBs in accordance with the standard jointly set forth by NATCA and the Agency.
In late 2020 the Air Traffic Technical Training Order, 3120.4, was collaboratively updated, and with that came the need to adjust the curriculum.
As OJT resumed across the country, a shortage of OJTIs was identified as an impediment to training. He was tasked with helping with the solution.
Navigating COVID restrictions, he organized and scheduled training at critical locations. He deployed a hybrid approach requiring at least one instructor in person and one via virtual means when travel prohibited both being in person. His leadership was instrumental in mitigating the loss of OJTIs due to attrition.
As restrictions have lifted, he has taken the lead of returning us to a more normal posture; in doing so, he remains NATCA’s Lead CADRE for TRBs and OJTIs and has scheduled over 20 combined full capacity in-person deliveries for both courses.
2020: Elise Muise
Muise began her career at ZBW in 2007. She became a member of the constitution committee in 2012 and was elected as a member of the NATCA Charitable Foundation board of directors in 2022.
When the COVID-19 pandemic altered most of our norms, Web-based Recurrent Training wasn’t spared. Under normal circumstances, the SMEs that develop the training have several in-person meetings and content development sessions. Obviously, with travel severely limited, the norms had to be thrown aside.
Muise stepped up and provided the excellent leadership she always had. She put together a plan using GoTo meetings and Google Drive as meeting spaces.
She divided work among the SMEs; she kept them motivated despite working remotely.
She was additionally tasked with creating Microlearning as a medium for deploying training so lessons could be taken in a smaller, more digestible manner that allows learners to use mobile devices.
When the training was developed, the challenges just began. For training to be validated, it must pass the rigorous standard of an Operational Tryout and a First Course Conduct; neither of these processes lends itself to be done remotely.
Yet again, she produced a plan and overcame obstacles leading to the completion of Web-Based Recurrent Training. In doing so, she created approximately 30,000 training opportunities during a time when we could not meet in large groups.
Without her tremendous efforts and those of her team, our training culture would’ve certainly been altered by the pandemic.
2019: Tom Adcock
NATCA presented its first Excellence in Training Award to Tom Adcock (Miami Center, ZMA) during Communicating For Safety 2019.
Adcock was NATCA’s training representative from 2012 through 2019, when he became the Director of Safety and Technology. NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert said Adcock exemplifies NATCA’s daily commitment to training and learning.
Adcock also served as the training rep at ZMA for 18 years. As national training rep, he led NATCA’s collaborative efforts with the Federal Aviation Administration on developing future training for air traffic controllers. He traveled often to individual facilities to brief NATCA members on training and training programs.
“I want to thank Paul and Trish for trusting me to do this job seven years ago,” he said. “I want to thank many of the collaborative partners; thank you to the SMEs and the CADREs – you all have made the work easier.”
Watch video of the award presentation below.