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Home Agency News * COO Teri Bristol * ATO Leadership

Hi everyone.  Last week, I talked about mid-cycle performance reviews, and the need to ask three key questions: What’s going great?  What can be improved?  What resources can we tap to strengthen our skills and abilities? 

        Those three questions can apply to us individually and just as importantly, in a broader sense to the entire organization.  The three questions were a prominent backdrop throughout the ATO Leadership Summit held this week in Washington, DC.  The Summit is an opportunity twice a year for ATO leadership to come together and discuss how we are doing and what we need to focus on and improve going forward.

What is going great?  There are numerous examples of progress made over the past year.  For instance, we talked about actions taken to address this year’s Top 5 Hazard list, and launching the Take a Stand for Safety campaign with NATCA to address key safety topics like weather dissemination.  We discussed the achievements on the NextGen front – including deployment of Data Communications departure clearance services at 16 control towers and safely reducing wake separation standards at 14 locations.  We have also taken steps to revamp community involvement processes for PBN and Metroplex projects.  The list goes on but I would also point out that the strategic effort to integrate UAS and commercial space operations into the NAS was a dominant topic at the Summit. 

        What can be improved to enhance the health and performance of our organization?   We discussed the challenges of the pending retirement wave, succession planning and the opportunities associated with the coming shift in the generational mix of the workforce.  We also discussed the importance of continued collaborative efforts both within the ATO and with our colleagues across the agency – particularly with UAS and commercial space integration activities.

        What resources can we tap to strengthen our skills and abilities?  One of my passions is the need to build diverse career portfolios.  I stressed this idea at the Summit because I firmly believe that career diversity benefits employees and organizations.  Everyone’s career path doesn’t always need to be vertical, as noted in this short video we played at the Summit.  Sometimes you might want to make a lateral move, even possibly to a job outside your traditional area, to pick up important skills that better qualify you for the job you want.  The Career Planning Program, which includes the Career Planning Builder, is one tool that can help you to map out some of these career choices.    

        Of course, you don’t have to be a senior executive to be a leader.  In my book, you’re a leader anytime you collaborate and build connections, be creative and team-oriented in problem solving, make a point of praising your co-workers for a job well done, and thinking in terms of how your actions support the FAA’s mission and strategic goals. 

        So ask yourself: What’s going great?  What can be improved?  What resources can we tap to strengthen our skills and abilities? 

Thanks everyone,


Teri L. Bristol

ATO Chief Operating Officer