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Controllers at Memphis Tower and Radar Approach Control Facilities Win FAA Award - (1/26/2011)

CONTACT: Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON – Air traffic controllers at both the Memphis Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities joined with local Federal Aviation Administration management today in accepting the agency’s “Dorothy Tharnish Customer Service Award” from Administrator Randy Babbitt, capping a year of successful collaborative efforts between NATCA, FAA and other key stakeholders.

The award, according to the FAA, “recognizes an outstanding employee committed to customer service as exhibited by (1) development of new ways of doing business that improved customer service; (2) overall improved quality and level of customer service provided; (3) solved customer service problems quickly and creatively by anticipating barriers to success and analyzing trends and getting to know the customers; (4) modeled innovative work products and services; and (5) increased positive customer service feedback.”

The workforce at both FAA facilities at Memphis International Airport includes 34 certified professional controllers (CPCs) and trainees in the control tower and 37 CPCs and trainees in the TRACON. The accomplishments over the past year included ensuring safety while overcoming operational challenges brought on by such issues as the closing and rebuilding of runway 9/27. This seven-month project reduced the airport’s capacity by 30 percent. It was one of two extensive airport construction projects that forced controllers to work up alternative routings and utilize ingenuity and creativity in keeping up a high level of efficiency in the unique 24/7 busy facility that serves the hub for the worldwide cargo operation of FedEx.

“The air traffic controllers of Memphis Tower work diligently to ensure our daily operations are safe and efficient,” Memphis Tower NATCA Facility Representative Bruce Gustafson said. “We share information and exchange ideas on a regular basis. We challenge each other to perform at our highest possible level at all times. We have been through three major events during the past couple of years that were successfully completed without loss of efficiency and with a commitment to safety. The men and women of Memphis Tower demonstrate time and again that professionalism and dedication to our customers make a difference.”

Added Memphis TRACON NATCA Facility Representative Chris Piercy: “We always strive to provide the safest possible operation and we also realize that with the massive cargo operation of FedEx here, efficiency is key. Even a couple of extra minutes in the air can make the difference between a profitable flight and one that’s not. Safety and good customer service is inherent in our profession. The controllers here in Memphis do what all controllers do and that’s get ‘em from Point A to Point B as safely and as quickly as possible.”

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