Friday, September 14, 2007

Farewell, Madam Administrator...see you soon, we're sure...

Marion Blakey ended her five-year tenure at FAA Thursday...

Since she's only leaving public service at a federal agency and not completely leaving aviation -- in fact, she's not even leaving The Beltway, as most by now should know -- it seemed worthwhile to post the final comments she sent to FAA staff on her final day.

As she prepares to take over the reigns at the Aerospace Industries Association in November we want to wish her well in her new, considerably more lucrative post. She's paid her dues, no way around it. Past disagreements were never personal -- perspective differences, perhaps. Few FAA administrators can claim to have put the energy and patience into their tenures.

Interestingly, it's worth noting that Blakey's last week at FAA brought about a level of public awareness and media attention more on par with an administrator in the midst of an air disaster or near-disaster relative to the attention most administrators engender on their way out of 800 Independence. Her parting advisories to the airline and general-aviation communities at the an aviation-club luncheon Tuesday provided a blend of surprising, awing and not-again moments -- again, of which much has already been made. It only hit me just how widespread the attention was to her luncheon comments on airlines reigning in their scheduling abuses -- before the FAA does -- and the need for G.A. to pay a higher share until I heard her distinct Southern voice giving few minutes to National Public Radio Thursday.

But, I came to snitch on the administrator, not to praise her or rehash what's been widely reported. She had something to say before she left and here it is:


Dear Colleagues:

It’s hard to believe my five-year tenure as FAA Administrator has come to an end. It has been quite a run, and I wanted to share a few thoughts with all of you as I depart. When I first came to the agency, I began meeting employees who had been with the agency 30 and 40 years, some even 50. Others were second-generation FAA, some even third, and that level of commitment to this agency struck me at the time as unusual. Now, I still see it as remarkable, but I understand it completely.

The work the FAA does involves tremendous day-to-day challenges – but at the same time it gives us as employees a unique chance to support a cause that is bigger than ourselves. These are two key ingredients of a meaningful career, and that makes the FAA a very tough act to follow. I have been blessed with many interesting, rewarding jobs in my life, but when I look back I doubt any will ever compare to my time here at the FAA.

For me, it has been time very well spent. Together we have helped deliver the safest period in aviation history, expanded our presence and advanced safety around the globe, run the FAA on a more effective, business-like basis, and firmly put us on course to the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

My role these past five years has been small compared to the job that so many thousands of you did — day in and day out, around the country and around the world. You have helped build and maintain the safest aviation system in the world, and I am extremely proud to have been associated with that effort.

These past five years have been filled with many challenges, but I leave with a deep satisfaction in the work we have done together. Like FAA employees have always done, you came through like champions. You are a very special group of dedicated public servants, and I will never forget the time I spent among you.

Marion C. Blakey



Post a Comment

<< Home