Letter from VATUSA1 (8/15/22)

Anthony Santanastaso

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Letter from VATUSA1 (8/15/22)
« on: August 15, 2022, 07:52:07 PM »

I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your warm reception and congratulatory messages; I appreciate you more than you know. For the past several weeks, I have given much thought about what I would do immediately after being selected as VATUSA1 and, after careful consideration, I want to explain the first part of my vision and goals. I hope this insight into my thought process will shed light on the type of leadership I wish to demonstrate.

No matter what particular facet of my life, I operate by four basic principles: communication, collaboration, respect, and empathy. In addition, I strive to always listen before I speak (and I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I must continue to do this better) and place myself in another’s shoes before passing judgment. My approach towards problem solving is straight-forward and utilizes my “WWH” method: what is the problem, why is it a problem, and how can we fix it? I do not desire to create solutions for non-existent problems, nor do I desire to make solutions that do not properly address the problems at hand.

To do all the above, I must continue to recognize you all as human beings, not as avatars or handles. Human beings are complex and certainly have about as many faults as they do excellences. I will be the first to acknowledge that I have several faults, but through metacognition, self-reflection, approachability, and receptivity to feedback, I will mitigate the negative effects of my faults. It is my hope that you are willing to join me on this path of enlightenment and empathy, where we treat each other more respectfully, cordially, and professionally. Not because our titles or positions demand that to be the case, but because our actions toward each other earn us that dignity and right.

We cannot escape nor are we above politics, drama, and immaturity. We are like any other institution that inevitably falls prey to such negative behaviors. To say that we will rid ourselves of any of these things would be a false promise and an unrealistic goal. What we can do is adjust how we react to each other when such instances occur and learn from our mistakes. What we can do is prevent the circumstances that surround that particular behavior from happening in the future, and breed renewed energy and hope into the concept of growth and maturation. We will make mistakes; more importantly, I will make mistakes. My hope is that during my tenure, when mistakes happen, we approach each other with respect and professionalism and never lose sight of our integrity.

My philosophy about this network hasn’t changed for the past 20 years. Due in part to my complex background of experiences, I have been able to strike a balance between ultimate realism and simulation. It is my firm belief that this network has an enormous opportunity to introduce and invigorate teenagers and adults alike to enter the world of aviation and perhaps make it a part of their reality. Countless members have gone on to become air traffic controllers, pilots, mechanics, ramp agents, and every other type of industry profession or recreation. It is outright praiseworthy how many of those members still continue to give back to this community even though they’re performing the job in real life.

We must also recognize that many engage in this hobby because they would not realistically be able to engage in aviation at all. Whether it’s because of their cognitive or medical disposition, age, or personal choice, they are here to role play and manifest a life that would not otherwise be possible or practical. How we operate and the choices we make must always remain open to both of these types of members. Sometimes that will mean bending an aspect of reality, while other times it will mean members must step up and understand that this hobby is one that is built around a complicated skill set requiring a particular degree of aptitude. The only unforgivable and undesirable offense is to not try to be a better person, controller, pilot, student or staff member than who we were yesterday. Come prepared to training sessions, acclimate yourself to your aircraft offline before connecting to the network, and continuously strive to learn something new each day. No one, especially myself, is above the learning process. The day you stop acknowledging this concept is the day you should reevaluate your expectations.

Over the next few weeks I will be meeting individually with members of ZHQ (VATUSA Admin) and senior facility staff. Together, we will determine the next steps we need to take in order to move our division forward. I hope to have an update shortly thereafter. In the meanwhile, please carefully consider all that I’ve said and reflect upon your overall receptiveness and willingness to move forward with me under this philosophy. As the school year approaches, my availability will become more finite, but I will be certain to be as visible as possible. Please feel free to reach out via email if you ever have any questions or concerns. Thank you once again for this tremendous opportunity and I look forward to seeing VATUSA thrive and flourish!


The Power of EMPATHY

The Power of TEAMWORK

Admiral William H. McRaven 2014 Commencement Address
Transcript of Admiral William H. McRaven’s Address