From the Division Director

Mark Hubbert

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From the Division Director
« on: July 30, 2020, 11:00:44 PM »
Dear VATUSA members,

Over the past 24 hours, members have made it clear: you’re unhappy with the direction leadership is taking VATUSA. The primary concerns include 1) The Division has lacked a clear vision, 2) Division initiatives are not transparent, 3) leadership is uncommunicative, and 4) decisions regarding COVID-19 came quickly without explanation. Simply put, Division leadership needs to be better at communicating with and serving you, the VATUSA membership.

After taking some time to reflect, I would like to address your four concerns.

In a forum post earlier in my tenure, I mentioned VATUSA’s vibrant community. The vibrance was certainly reflected in discussions on the VATUSA Discord Server. I wish to express my gratitude to the members who have voiced their concerns to make this organization better. All your concerns cannot be addressed overnight, but I’m committed to listening and acting on your feedback.

1) OUR VISION:
VATUSA’s vision is to grow our membership, expand our Division capabilities, and most importantly, foster a community centered around fun. Decisions made within the organization should support this vision while emphasizing doing the greatest good for the greatest numbers and reducing bureaucracy. Every member needs to commit to this vision to move our organization forward.

2) DIVISION INITIATIVES:
As seen through your feedback, I need to be more transparent with Division initiatives. VATUSA has been working on several initiatives to improve the Division, including: a Traffic Management Unit (TMU) Program, reestablishing the C3 rating, centralizing training records, standardizing our training program, and creating a pilot program.

The TMU Program is in progress. The goal is to have a functioning Traffic Management Command Center to mitigate traffic during peak periods, while maintaining the flexibility to scale down as needed. There is more to come about this program, but we aim to have it operating by September 22, 2020.

The plans to reestablish our C3 Rating Program are complete. I will release the program in its entirety to the Air Traffic Managers soon, then release the program to the general membership.

The centralized training records system is a top priority for our Data Services Team. While there is no official date of release, all indications show this will be complete in the very near future. In addition, our Training Department is roadmapping a plan to standardize our training program.

VATUSA is also seeking to initiate a Pilot Program that would increase the awareness of our pilot community, and offer various resources to pilots including skills training. Most importantly, this program would bridge any gaps between the controller and pilot communities.

With regard to items submitted to me from working groups, please know my team and I are working diligently to implement recommendations quickly in the most feasible and practical manner possible. I do know being busy with regular life commitments is a tired excuse, but I ask for some leniency in this area due to pressing personal issues I am facing. Expect news on these proposals soon.

I hope this gives you greater visibility into our initiatives. We’d also like your help and feedback on these projects to ensure they meet the needs of the Division. If you’re interested in helping, please let me know.

3) COMMUNICATION:
I am committed to improving communications within the Division. I am hopeful to use a variety of strategies to clearly convey our Division’s work and decisions. Per our Division Policy, official Division communications will come via email and the forum.

To show my commitment to improving communications, I am reinstituting the Communications Director position. Petey Shivery, current ATM for Jacksonville ARTCC, has been appointed for the role. Petey has professional experience in marketing, and currently manages digital marketing functions for a Fortune 500 company. His expertise will be instrumental in improving communications for our membership. He will continue to serve as the ATM of Jacksonville for an interim period to ensure a smooth and streamlined transition of leadership.

4) RESPONDING TO COVID-19:
In responding to COVID-19, Division leadership troubleshooted ways to manage overwhelming event traffic and accommodate the large influx of controllers. I hope you understand that actions were taken with the Division’s best interests in mind. We recognize our role of not being clear in providing the rationale behind these decisions.  We will do better moving forward.

The increase in controllers had a detrimental effect on training departments who were already overburdened. I extended a General Order on the Suspension of Visitor Training to lighten the training load at all ARTCCs. I felt it was in the best interest of overburdened ARTCCs to act quickly in light of the pandemic.

I also extended a General Order on the Suspension of Live Events. Here, too, I acted quickly because we need to keep our membership safe. Our organization cannot facilitate gatherings that could potentially contribute to community spread or violate local, state, or federal regulations. I take my responsibility to ensure our community’s wellbeing very seriously, and look forward to a time when resuming live events will be possible.

. . .

In summary, I must express gratitude to Division members who have contributed feedback that will help us move forward. As your Division Director, I want the same thing as you: the betterment of our community. Thousands of members in this Division means we have thousands of ideas to choose from to improve our community.  Please know your ideas are important to me.

Finally: Remember we are all on the same team. Every ARTCC is unique, but we’re all working toward the same vision. We should strive to better one another, and better each others’ experiences. When we log off, we should leave our Division better than we found it. Remember the importance of respect, thoughtfulness, and community when interacting with others. Let’s improve our home together.

Kind regards,

Mark Hubbert
VATUSA Division Director
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 11:05:35 PM by Peter Shivery »
Mark Hubbert
Division Director VATUSA Retired