ZBW Celebrates 50 Years of Safe Air Traffic Control
Friday, March 29, 2013

Photo credit Jay Bowers, pictured left to right: Michael Ollen (Congresswoman Kuster), Andy Leach (Senator Ayotte), Scott Merrick (Senator Shaheen),Patricia Clark, Kevin Bianchi (ZBW FACREP),Bob Jones (acting Air Traffic Manager)

On Saturday, March 23, 2013, Boston Center (ZBW) celebrated 50 years of safely and efficiently serving the flying public. And instead of the usual festivities that go with an anniversary celebration, ZBW had something else up their sleeve to commemorate the occasion by renaming their building. Completed in April 1963, the ZBW facility was renamed after Patty Clark, a dedicated federal employee who has been at ZBW for 50 years and a government employee for 60 years.

"Patty is an exemplary employee who is respected and loved by all for her dedication and strong work ethic," said New England Region Legislative Representative Jay Bowers. "She is the cream of the crop of federal employees and a shining example to us all."

The idea stemmed from ZBW Awards and Recognition Committee who approached Bowers to run with the plan. Bowers took the idea to change the building's name to New Hampshire's members of Congress who loved it.

On March 12, Senator Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced the Patricia Clark Bill, or S540, into the Senate to refer to the Committee. On that same day, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) introduced the companion bill HR1092. On March 21, S540 was voted on and passed by the Senate. It's hopeful that the HR1092 bill will swiftly pass in the coming weeks once the House gets back from Easter recess.

ZBW Facility Representative Kevin Bianchi spoke to nearly 150 people on March 23 celebrating the Center's 50th anniversary, and announced the building's renaming initiative.

"As I look around the room, I realize I know most of you. However, I do not know you all," said Bianchi during his speech. "There is one person in this room who knows you all, and that is Patty Clark. Patty, I personally want to honor you. Without you this building would not be the same."

Bowers said it was a team effort by ZBW and NH delegation to get the plan to rename the building completed in time for the anniversary celebration.

“After the committee brought me the idea, I knew there would be a time crunch, so I was in constant communication, mostly with Senator Shaheen’s office, for a couple months," said Bowers. "The look of surprise and the tears in [Patty’s] eyes while we honored her is something I won’t soon forget. This is the most rewarding thing I have ever had the pleasure of helping accomplish. We can’t say enough about the Awards and Recognition Committee for bringing this forward to show just what Patty means to ZBW.”

Senate Bill 540 states:

"To designate the air route traffic control center located in Nashua, New Hampshire, as the 'Patricia Clark Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center.' Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. DESIGNATION OF PATRICIA CLARK BOSTON

AIR ROUTE TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER. (a) IN GENERAL.—The air route traffic control center located in Nashua, New Hampshire, and any successor air route traffic control center at that location, shall be known and designated as the 'Patricia Clark Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center.'"

ZBW handles over a millions flights per year, and covers 165,000 square miles of airspace including Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and parts of both New York and Pennsylvania.

Click here to see Senator Shaheen's letter.
Click here to see Congresswoman Kuster's letter.
Click here to see Congresswoman Ayotte's letter.