Collaboration Hits its Stride in Region X ATO Units
Thursday, August 23, 2012

By Mike MacDonald, NATCA Region X RVP

We have been hearing it for years now: "Collaboration,” "change the culture,” and "Employee Engagement.” All are interesting concepts, but they are much more difficult to implement than it seems. Fortunately, the Vice Presidents for Technical Operations and Mission Support believe in implementing these concepts and have put the weight of their offices behind the effort.

During one collaboration meeting with the Technical Operations Directors, Service Center Directors and NATCA Region X Representatives Lynn Ray, Vice President of Mission Support Services, and Teri Bristol, Vice President of Technical Operations Services, declared that issues existing between Engineering Services and Service Centers should be addressed by the people in the room. This strong confidence led to the formation of the NATCA Region X Collaboration Steering Committee (NRXCSC).

NRXCSC meets for full-day meetings every six weeks and is facilitated by staff from the FAA Office of Organizational Development.

One of the primary tasks the NRXCSC addresses each meeting is the state of collaboration within Tech Ops, Service Centers and NATCA. The Region X Regional Coordinators provide status reports to each of the Joint Sponsor groups. This has helped to focus any areas of concern that might exist.  

The NRXCSC has identified two areas of mutual concern: reimbursable agreements and cost estimating. Recognizing the broad implications both of these programs present, the committee asked for briefings on each to help understand the current situation of both.

The Reimbursable Program has already undergone extensive work, so the team decided to add NATCA representation and task the team with developing an implementation plan for the short-term, mid-term, and long-term recommendations of the Reimbursable Workgroup.

Cost estimating was handled differently. The NRXCSC developed a Scoping Document and established a workgroup to validate the requirements and cost of a new cost-estimating tool and to then develop the roles and responsibilities for each organization. This team should be expected to complete their charge in 90 days.  

As everyone involved tries to establish a new culture for working together, the NRXCSC has recognized the issues and has set about to encourage and foster the change needed to make the cultural transition possible. This demonstrates a tangible success story on the concept of collaboration.