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Salt Lake City Air Traffic Controller Named Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year - (10/26/2007)

CONTACT: Alex Caldwell, 202-220-9813, acaldwell@natcadc.org  

– The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is honoring Alan Cole with its 2007 Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year Award. Cole, a 21-year veteran and member of NATCA, is at Salt Lake City Tower. Cole’s candidacy for the award includes his overall dedication to the profession and his outstanding display of situational awareness in regards to air safety. 

First awarded in 1958, The Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year Award is presented to an individual civilian Air Traffic Control Specialist who has performed in an exemplary manner in support of air traffic control. The award is presented in three separate disciplines – enroute, terminal and flight service facilities. Cole, winner in the terminal category, plays a major role in the training of developmental controllers at his facility. At a time when veteran controllers are retiring rapidly, Cole’s role couldn’t be more important. 

When nominating the controller, Jill Story, Salt Lake City District Manager, cited Cole’s participation in On the Job Training (OJTI). Cole takes valuable time to work with employees to ensure improved performance and development. When the training process is complete and his developmentals leave his side they are able to do so with “a keen sense of pride and accomplishment,” wrote Story. “Cole is able to get “more done with fewer resources,” and “his integrity is above reproach.” 

Former NATCA Regional Legislative Representative Sesario Silva says of Cole, "Alan is a leader among the men and women that work tirelessly in service of our country and is a great example of all the controllers who guide you home everyday." Tim Hirsch, Salt Lake City Facility Representative said, “Alan sets an example that could be followed in any field of work. He is always striving to excel at the task at hand and is never finished until the job is done. He strives for perfection in everything he does and harbors teamwork in all he does. He also never looks for the credit and always serves those around him. He is predictable in that you know you have a willing and helping hand when working alongside Alan." 

In addition to all that Cole has done in the realms of training and development he has also served as an outstanding representative of the tower. Through his meetings with airlines, airports and other internal offices he has promoted his involvement with the Tower Data Link System (TDLS), an integrated, high-availability platform designed to support application programs for air traffic control operations. His expertise in developing and implementing TDLS at Salt Lake City led to a better product for the FAA. Alan, for many years, was the only person trained about the operation and configuration of the equipment. 

On his achievement Cole remarks, “I’m especially honored to receive this award from the Air Traffic Control Association because ATCA, like NATCA, focuses not only on the science but also on the art of air traffic control. I hope that as the FAA moves forward it will invest not only in the modern equipment that it needs but also in forging a stronger bond with its greater assets – the controllers.”


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