Member Focus: Trisha Pesiri
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Picture right to left Tony Borgert -AZ state coordinator, Western Pacific Regional Vice President Ham Ghaffari, Trisha Pesiri and Government Affairs Director Jose Ceballos.

Education: Notre Dame de Namur University, Bachelor of Science, Political Science/ International Communications. Mt San Antonio College, Associate of Science CTI, Aeronautical Science/CTI-Air Traffic Control.

Aviation career: American Trans Air, International Flight Attendant Military Transport.
Sun Air Jets, Charter Sales/Dispatch/Corporate Cabin Attendant. Started at the FAA in Feb. 2007 at her current facility, Santa Barbara Tower/TRACON.

Born and raised, other places of living: Born in Southern California and raised in Northern California. After moving all over the country, Pesiri now resides in the middle of California, in beautiful Santa Barbara.

Family: Parents Paul and Debbie Pesiri — Married 45 years. Sister and brother-in-law, Lisa and Chris Schaefer — both NATCAvists at SBA. Nephew, Grayson Paul Schaefer.
Q: How did you become a NATCA member?

A: I was in Oklahoma City for initial training during the White Book and without per diem. There, I attended the NATCA meet-and-greet and listened to Paul Rinaldi speak. I learned about NATCA and what they were doing to fight for our membership during a very unfortunate time. Having concerns about joining the agency I had several questions. Paul not only took the time to answer those questions, but also checked back in with me after I had arrived at SBA. He was genuinely interested in seeing how I and other new members were doing under the newly imposed work rules. Shortly after, Paul invited me to OKC to speak to new hires about my experience as a new air traffic controller and union member. He helped me recognize the significance of caring about every single member and the importance of the phenomenal work NATCA does each and every day, to not only protect our members, but to also ensure the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System.

Q: How did you get involved and what are you involved with in NATCA?

A: Early on I learned about NATCA’s legislative involvement with Senator Lieberman and how we were able to successfully re-instate per diem at the academy. Shortly after, I became the SBA facility legislative representative. After working in-district with Congresswoman Capps, I could clearly see the benefit of legislative activism and quickly realized that it was vital to NATCA’s overall success. Two years later I worked as a California State Coordinator. During that same time I was asked by Trish Gilbert to participate as a Workforce Engagement Terminal Design Team Member, which eventually lead me to became a National Training Facilitator for WE.  In May of 2010, I joined the National Legislative Committee proudly representing the Western Pacific Region, as the Regional Legislative Chair.

Q: In recent times, how has the importance of Legislative Activity been heightened?

A: With sequestration underway, it is now more important than ever to recognize that Legislative Activism is an essential component of our livelihood and careers. In recent times, not only has NATCA accomplished tremendous PAC growth we have also become a political powerhouse. We have worked hard to build strong relationships with both the House and Senate. With our collective dedication and perseverance we have successfully promoted NATCA’s legislative agenda to the fullest capacity. During the 112th congress we had favorably battled against a plethora of anti-federal employee attacks and we will continue to prevent and mitigate them in the 113th Congress.

Q: Why is attending NATCA in Washington 2013 important?

A: With attacks on federal employees, budget cuts and the sequester, there has never been a more critical time for our members to be on Capitol Hill, educating our elected officials on the essential work that we do everyday. NATCA in Washington 2013, is poised to be one of the most significant and timely NATCA in Washington events in the history of our Union.

Q: Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?

A: Attending my first NATCA in Washington and realizing that I had been given the unique opportunity to combine my love for aviation and passion for legislation together while working with incredible leadership and talented NACTAvists. I loved every minute of it.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of NATCA?  

A: I enjoy oil and acrylic painting, and I've been lucky to have some on display at a local Gallery in Santa Barbara. My life long love of soccer has recently presented me with the opportunity to play in the Air Traffic Controllers World Cup (WCC). Last year it took place in Brazil and I look forward to playing this year in Puerto Rico. I also enjoy spending time with my amazing family and friends, and that is something I can never get enough of.

Q: Do you have any advice/tips/messages for members who would like to get involved?

A: Mentorship is key. Whether you are receiving it or giving it, find people you respect and admire and learn as much as you possibly can from them. Be sure to learn from their experiences and be thankful for their time, hard work, and tremendous sacrifice. I am truly thankful to so many for the guidance they have provided me, and I am glad to share what I have learned with others. Most importantly, find things that you are truly passionate about. There are several ways to be involved in NATCA. So... if you participate in things you are truly interested in, it will never be work and more of a labor of love.