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Professional Women Controllers Inc
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Featured News

Women who made History

Women who made History

Join us during Women's History Month as we celebrate the women who flew faster, higher & farther to break gender barriers in aviation.
Child Care Program

Child Care Program

More families now qualify for the Child Care Program subsidy.



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Upcoming Events

PWC Mentorship Program

July 19

PWC Mentorship Program Lunch and Learn event.  July 19, 2018 from 12:30pm - 1:30pm in FOB-10B, 6th floor ATO Conference Room B

SkyOne and PWC

July 18

SkyOne and PWC invite you to join them at Tin Roof Bistro July 18, 2018 from 5 - 8pm.  RSVP is required by July 10th to secure your spot!

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Patti Wilson LIVE!

Patti Wilson on getting things done, decompressing + getting off the path to nowhere positive as an Air Traffic Controller. 

Kara Martin Snyder, Health & Lifestyle Strategist talks with our very own Patti Wilson.  One of the ways Kara supports women is through this podcast. Her job as host is to introduce you to women who are making an impact in the world without letting burnout slow them down. This episode’s guest is no exception. Back in April, the idea for this podcast came to Kara while she was plunked at the airport. Kara was wondering about what some of the most stressful jobs for women were. Bam! I immediately thought of air traffic controllers. Trying to track down a female professional controller was no easy feat. (Turns out, women are less than 20% of that workforce.) After several months of research, connecting, planning, and FAA approval - Kara is so excited to introduce us to this week’s guest, Patti Wilson!

Patti Wilson has been in the air traffic control industry for the past 29 years. She’s the Operations Manager at Northern California Terminal Radar Approach Control, and is currently in her second term as President of Professional Women Controllers. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also very involved in nonprofit work with Zonta International. She’s also a pistol deeply committed to pulling up a seat for more women at the aviation table.

Patti brings both a breadth and depth of experience and wisdom to our conversation. She paints a picture of what being an air traffic controller is like (the good, the stressful and the invisible to us non-controller folks). She also talks about the difference between communication at work versus everyday conversations (like the risk of talking to people in bullet points and commands outside of work). We also cover staying humble, handling stress, and giving/receiving feedback.

You’re now cleared for listening takeoff. So, go ahead and switch to listening to this podcast on your favorite smartphone or listening device.


Who is PWC -Katrina Smith

Meet PWC Member Katrina Smith

Hello my name is Katrina Smith. I started my ATC career in 2002 at Fort Wainwright ATCT, Alaska in the US Army on active duty.  I was subsequently stationed at Fort Hood ATCT, Texas and Al-Taji ATCT, Iraq.  In 2010, I joined the FAA at Hilo ATCT, Hawaii.  Following that, I became a Front Line Manager at Aurora ATCT, Illinois and am currently an Operations Supervisor at Chicago Center. I am a Warrant Officer Air Traffic Controller in the Pennsylvania National Guard and I have been a PWC member since 2014. 

To read more about Katrina click here

More Headlines

Diamond Anniversary for Our Aviation Jewel in New Jersey

I spent some time working at the William J. Hughes Technical Center earlier in my career when I was fielding and managing terminal automation systems and later while I was on a detail managing en route automation second level engineering.  I like the balance our Tech Center colleagues manage to strike between executing world-class aviation work with the utmost professionalism and passion while making everyone feel comfortable in a casual, family-like atmosphere.

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Game-Changing ATO Training

The tools we use to help us learn have come such a long way since the days when overhead projectors, photocopiers and handheld calculators seemed like high technology. Now, many kids have a tablet and a smartphone to help them with school work from a very young age.

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A Great Place to Get Your Next Headset – The ATO

We usually think of ourselves as a service provider with many internal and external customers. But we also are a customer ourselves when it comes to some services and supplies.

The ATO spends more than $148 million a year on a range of parts and services from the FAA Logistics Center (AML) at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, where we get everything from headsets and radios used by air traffic controllers to the radar system components that Technical Operations installs and maintains in the field. We have been AML’s largest customer for its $230 million a year business.

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Broad Roles for ATO in Community Drone Projects

Keeping air traffic safe and efficient is our primary mission -- but we have to be careful not to confuse that mandate with maintaining the status quo. Innovation is a key strategic priority for our agency and for the ATO, and I’m asking you all to adapt to our dynamic environment and be ready.

One of the ways the ATO is immersed in innovative activities is through the role we are playing in the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP), the administration’s opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities to ensure safe UAS integration in our airspace.

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Recognize Marvelous Work and Fantastic Colleagues

As I visit facilities across the NAS to meet with many of you, I’m always so impressed with the breadth and quality of our people and our work. Everywhere I go, it’s easy to spot people who are leaders, going above and beyond their daily work to solve problems and make the ATO a better place to work.

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The Northeast Corridor – Start Spreading the News

On some weekends, it’s easy for me to feel productive by mowing the lawn, weeding the flower beds and washing the deck. But I know I have to also make time to tackle difficult projects that could potentially give my home more value and efficiency in the long run, like determining whether I should get solar panels or replacement windows to save energy, or install new gutters or plumbing to avoid water damage.

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Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

I read this story awhile back that talked about how Google asks its employees to provide feedback about their managers on a semi-annual basis. The questions the technology company poses include whether supervisors communicate clear goals, share relevant information and value employee perspectives. Sounds familiar! The questions are very similar to some of those we ask in the FedView survey that gauges federal employee satisfaction and engagement.

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Ask the GM - There's no crying in baseball

I grew up with four brothers, and we all watched and played baseball in the summer. Over time, we realized that the game was much more than whether a batter could hit or a fielder could catch. The game had layers of strategy built in and even people who didn’t take the field were instrumental in a team’s fate. The team’s manager chooses the batting order of the players, selects a pitcher and decides when to bring in a reliever. He can focus on tackling the challenges of the daily operation while the team’s general manager focuses on broader strategies that impact the future like trading players and negotiating contracts.

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A key reason we value our jobs so much is we have such an important mission of ensuring that air travelers move safely and efficiently through our national airspace.  When we also feel appreciated, trusted and respected among our co-workers, we look forward to coming to work every day.

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I got a chance to hear a marvelous speaker at the Professional Women Controllers conference earlier this week. Her name is Christine Darden and she is one of the NASA mathematicians who inspired the book Hidden Figures, which was later turned into an Oscar-nominated movie. She led some of the major research on supersonic flight and sonic booms.

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