Aviation Safety Professionals
Professionalism is fundamental to the success of any organization whose primary function is safety and where the public’s trust must be earned and guarded. Recognizing the importance of professionalism, NATCA has created, and the FAA has collaboratively supported, the Professional Standards Program. Through this focus and partnership, NATCA’s Professional Standards Program has grown and been refined to become a model for other aviation safety organizations worldwide.
The Professional Standards Program
The Professional Standards Program employs the power of peer-to-peer discussion to give bargaining unit employees the ability to address conflict, conduct or performance of peers before such issues rise to a level that requires action by the Agency. Additionally, when matters have risen to a level requiring action by the Agency, the Professional Standards Program offers an alternative to traditional processes, giving managers an option to address these matters at the lowest possible level and demonstrating a focus on problem solving rather than discipline. Participant feedback commonly reflects genuine appreciation for the opportunity to correct an issue through the informal Professional Standards Program.
The History of NATCA’s Professional Standards Program
In 2009, NATCA set to the task of creating and standing up a Professional Standards Program. Founding Leads Garth Koleszar, Andy Marosvari and Jeff Richards studied the Air Line Pilots Association Professional Standards Program, the legal profession, the medical profession and hundreds of other safety professions to understand what professionalism means to an organization and applied that to who we are. The outcome was a program that has a focus on instilling professionalism as a core component of our identity as aviation safety professionals and continually promoting and maintaining the importance of professionalism through the program’s uniquely trained Professional Standards Committee members. These Professional Standards Committee members would be trained in advanced techniques that focus on problem solving, conflict resolution, responsibility acceptance, recognizing exceptional performance, mentoring and much more. Training was conducted continuously starting in 2011 and throughout 2012 to identify and teach at least one trained Professional Standards Committee member in every facility across the National Airspace System. In November of 2011, the Professional Standards Pilot Program accepted its first case and has been learning and evolving ever since. To date, the program utilizes nearly 500 trained Professional Standards Committee members and has now processed thousands of cases, serving as a template for other successful Professional Standards programs worldwide.
To ensure that every aviation safety professional understands the obligation we have accepted to keep the public’s trust, to lead by example, and to understand that our individual actions represent the entire profession, the Professional Air Traffic Controller’s Code and the FAA Employee’s Code have been created. These documents serve as a reminder of the standards we have set for ourselves and the goals of excellence that we continually strive for. These carefully crafted messages serve as a reflecting pool for readers to measure themselves against the contents.
Professional Standards Leadership
The Professional Standards program is led collaboratively by a workgroup comprised of three NATCA members and three FAA members as defined in Article 52 of the Collaborative Bargaining Agreement. To support the nearly 500 Professional Standards Committee members nationwide, the program also utilizes twenty-seven Professional Standards District Chairpersons to oversee the Professional Standards Committee members within the program’s unique Professional Standards districts. To contact the NATCA members of the National Professional Standards workgroup, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.