We don't talk enough...

Derek Vento

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We don't talk enough...
« on: November 07, 2018, 09:27:16 pm »
I don't think there's any other way to put it. We as a community don't talk enough. Your local ARTCC teamspeak isnt enough. We need more transparency with one another and need to speak more. You want a regional meeting? Whoop dee do. The goal is to advance a community of people that apparently love flying and enjoy controlling airplanes. If we took every teamspeak/discord and combined them on a Wednesday night, I could only imagine what the turnout would be?! We expect people to get "better" as students but think about how much a senior staff member could learn! Think about how much a new staff member of his or her ARTCC could learn. ATMs, TAs need to get better on how to run their respective facilities. I'm sorry but...we do not share enough information with each other. It's called a DIVISION and unfortunately that is exactly what's occurring...People need to step up. If the membership of your ARTCC is trying to suggest things to you, or is providing you feedback, LISTEN to them! You took up a volunteer position, so DO IT! RUN your ARTCC and if you need help stop acting like you're too good to ask for it! There are some older gentleman in some of these places that are offering SIMPLE life advice. The personal life you live transfers into who you are as a manger, leader and training administrator.

Students should pro actively be learning and should be consulting with people from other ARTCCs. Don't sit here and tell me it should occur through the forums, because I'll sit here and tell you why I wholeheartedly disagree. In aviation it's a field of communication...so why aren't we?! There are tons of members out there that have tons of knowledge and I'm sure would love to help someone else. There are tons of upper staff that I'm sure could use help or are willing to offer help, but we have got to put the ego to the side, reach out and ask for the help. If you're one of those that wants the help, reach out to your neighboring or ARTCC "across the country" and ask for a hand. Ladies and Gentleman, some of ya'll are complacent. I like going in TS to groan and moan every now and then but we have to speak with one another more often...

Oh and trust me, if you don't think I'm ready to get beat up on this post, you're 10 steps behind...

I love ya'll, I do, but we need to be better about speaking to one another.

That is all.

Derek
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 12:07:26 am by Derek Vento »

Chris Hadden

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2018, 05:31:44 am »
Derek, Im with you on this and agree with the very majority of what you have said.

    I believe we need the top of the division to be TRANSPARENT. I have no idea what USA 1, 2, 3 and up's goals are. Or what they want us to be doing. I want to be part of the change you guys want to bring, but it is impossible to help when there is no word being directly discussed with us. The forums are more like a battle ground of political debates rather than a resource. I purposely avoid most of the threads I have access to because they are like mini battlefields that are just not worth getting involved in. I don't feel like our opinions are truly considered and valued in some circumstances. Instead it just ends with who can prove the other person wrong. Rather than taking in and effectively using the feedback that was provided.

    Division staff need to come in our TS or Discord and TALK with us, you guys are in charge, check in with each facility on a frequent basis and offer assistance with our perseverance. Get to know the very people who are far under you by being there. Be physically present in the community! I take pride when I see our division staff on the network controlling or flying, but don't over do it. Because you never know when someone in the division will need your help. Without transparency from the division level, ARTCC level transparency will never happen. It always starts from the top.

    Where are our regular division meetings? The professional development course? Pilot and Controller training courses? Four great ways to connect with the whole community both facility staff and members via real human voices, not a forum thread. Create regular surveys or questionnaires to gather the interests of the division, and deliver where needed... I don't usually really voice my opinion on here (for the reasons I listed above). But I really do agree with this topic and hope that Mark, Tony, Brandon, and the rest of the team can take this critical feedback and criticism that we are providing, and implement new ways of connecting the division back together as one.

Rick Rump

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2018, 07:19:32 am »
Hopefully no one on Division staff minds that I am speaking out of turn here.

I have been urging a transparent and interactive communications protocol in VATUSA. We need to be active, and we need to make it known why things are done the way they are done. I use to not like discord, but I totally recognize the community building aspects it creates. As someone who came here from a lot of RL organizations where team and community building is important, not having co-location makes the job difficult in some aspects but easier than others. Discord gives us a persistent community that you can access from anywhere and not miss a beat (an advantage over RL co-location), but it is so much more difficult to directly moderate. I would love to see a VATUSA Discord, I really would -- But I personally fear it becoming a free-for-all and very time consuming for that reason. Maybe if someone would make an unofficial one we all could use (Or is that also a bad idea? I do not know).
Another thing I would like to see is regular passive communication via a posted newsletter or something, I am hoping that when we hire a new Communications Director we can see something like this.

The forums are suppose to be an excellent form of passive communication, but like you put it, they can easily become "minibattlefields" and that discourages their correct use. That may be on us for not enforcing a requirement for civil discussion and then getting too involved in said uncivil discussion and the like.

Chris, you know that I personally have reached out to you and I have to every TA in VATUSA for any assistance I can offer. I think Brandon and I however can do a better job of being around personally, so if you guys at ZAU are using Discord shoot me a friend and/or server invite (terrorwolf#7622) and I will gladly hop in, participate, and do what I personally think my job is, be a resource and facilitator for your training department. I really believe in coalition building to an important thing to get something as daunting as a standardized training program to actually work, and I think that I need to be more active in the sub-divisions to work on selling it better to anyone who may detract.

I have always felt, and still believe that to affect positive change we need to be willing to accept opinions and criticism. One avenue I told Mark we need to start using are quarterly surveys to all controllers to cover topics of training, retention, events, etc., and I have offered to spearhead that effort. I practiced Appreciate Inquiry and informed decision making when I was ATM at ZDC in numerous changes we were thinking about (some were membership recommendations, others were ideas we gathered through brainstorming), and getting the feedback on these ideas from our membership at large was fantastic. A few on Division staff are working on exit surveys -- It is too late when you are giving exit surveys to really fix the problem they were having. Investigating in-process lets you adjust as needed.

Also, resource sharing is important! I also want to see a "best practices" guide for facility management and training (I am sure we can come up with other ideas) be developed. It has been something I have been passionate about for a while.

As an aside with respect to controller training: 12/8 is our first class if you missed my e-mail. These are going to be a monthly thing, I already have almost half of the ninety spots already reserved.

-RR

P.S. Derek, thanks for posting this. I am glad to know that the general membership has feelings on this that align with mine.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 07:31:05 am by Rick Rump »
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Tony Jeppesen

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2018, 12:38:28 pm »
This has been something of a hot topic among the Division Staff the last couple of weeks.  I'm not in disagreement communications is in the pits as of late.  It's something the Division is currently, and actively discussing.  Its great to see this post coming out and I think this might be a great place to start sharing ideas as to ways to improve this.

So as VATUSA2 here is some questions I have for everyone.

In what areas would you like to see more communication from VATUSA?

What kind of tools do you feel we should be using to communicate with the membership?

How do you feel the goals of VATUSA haven't been communicated?

Would you read a monthly or quarterly newsletter?

Describe how you believe a VATUSA Discord Server would benefit the Division Communications, and what kind of information would you like to see on it? 



The key to making this work it has to be productive, because as mentioned already many times the topics in the forums turn ugly, get off topic, criticism is taken to far and people take it personally.  This stops communications or effective communications anyway and progress is lost.  I'd love to hit on a lot of these topics that Derek and Rick are discussing, but I think those are things we should discuss as separate topics.  Topics like resource sharing, training initiatives, etc are all subjects of their own with a lot of meat.

I'd love to use this topic to discuss ways of making our communication better so that we can effectively tackle those other topics brought up in this post.  I'd love to see some real progress. I don't want to just see a bunch of people complaining or giving examples of how bad its been, lets use this time to make it better.  To talk about how to make it better, and be positive about it.  Or if you have a complaint you want to point out thats fine, but please bring a possible solution with your complaint, don't complain for the sake of complaining.
Tony Jeppesen
Depurty Division Director - VATUSA

Derek Hood

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2018, 02:17:59 pm »
Tony,

All good questions.  I personally feel that a big problem with Vatusa is the BS we have all seen the past few weeks.  Everyone has their own agenda and feels they “run” the show.  This is a group effort and we aren’t playing well as a group. 

Transparency is key with any group and I feel like the higher ups here choose to keep a tight lip for reasons I don’t understand.  I still love this network 8 years later and cut my teeth while learning to fly real world on here.  It seems that there is no real urgency to keep people intrigued with our “passion”. 

Derek

Antony Radley

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2018, 03:35:16 pm »
Great points so far - excellent to get the ball rolling and I thank you Derek for starting it. My main issue with VATUSA is its structure, and I think if you want real change within the division is to change how its built from the ground up (This includes ARTCC staff).

It should never fall down to 1 person and should always work under a democratic system. A group of people decide the way forward but collectively organising ideas and voting on the best ones to move forward with.
Antony Radley (S-3)
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Tony Jeppesen

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2018, 05:25:14 pm »
Great points so far - excellent to get the ball rolling and I thank you Derek for starting it. My main issue with VATUSA is its structure, and I think if you want real change within the division is to change how its built from the ground up (This includes ARTCC staff).

It should never fall down to 1 person and should always work under a democratic system. A group of people decide the way forward but collectively organising ideas and voting on the best ones to move forward with.

Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

Derek-
What do you feel VATUSA has been tight lipped about? Things like this are important for us to know as well, so we know what you expect from us. 
Tony Jeppesen
Depurty Division Director - VATUSA

Derek Vento

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 08:26:32 pm »
Transparency is huge! Members like S1’s & 2’s are SO key to “keep around”. We talk about retention but one of your best ways to keep them around is to communicate. I can’t agree more with what Chris Hadden said…”we want to see you!” I see Brandon Barrett more than anything else. I enjoy the fact that he jumps into a teamspeak and jokes with us. He controls from time to time, and shares laughs, talks about life. No one ever feels on edge, and it’s like hanging out with one of the guys. I hate to say it, but I don’t think a lot of the newer members know who our top division staff even are.

Too many ARTCCs that seem as if they don’t know who to seek for help, when in fact, it’s VATUSA. Can I ask…what is the purpose of  the Air Traffic Director? I don’t get any updates from them? I can’t even think of the last time I’ve seen one. Again, is this position responsible for delivering information from VATUSA1? I'm not sure if many people know what these roles are or even consist of. Is the role of the director to supervise multiple ARTCCs because if so, I would love to see a system of checks and balances to ensure that the staff of an ARTCC is being held accountable.

I feel for the members that think that this individual is doing a good job. They think it’s a good job because they’ve only been here for 5 months and they have never been to any other ARTCC. These guys and gals deserve more but I don’t see anyone putting anyone’s feet to the ground to make sure they are doing their job besides asking “So how are things in the ARTCC?” “Good”. Well duh, they’re not going to say “I’m doing a terrible job”. I know some people have a lot on their plate but either there are not many tasks being delegated or people are not showing up to work.

Some in the above posts have mentioned a teamspeak or discord. Sure, but why not come in and hangout with us. We don’t get to vote for our leaders, so at least give us your time and show face. I am very happy with the responses this post has produced but please, please, please do not just stop in to appease me, please move a few pieces on the chess board. Surveys are great, but how about an anonymous suggestion box on the VATUSA website? The issue is, there are a lot of people that are afraid to speak up because they do not want to deal with repercussions, and they surely do not want to be critiqued. Giving someone the chance to speak without judgement is key!

Tony, you mentioned where do we want to see more communication from VATUSA? I think a great idea would be, to tell us what you’re working on, tell us what you discussed with the ATMs at a level that doesn’t compromise anything that should be TRULY kept under the sheets for certain ears. This is an age of digital media and there are talented people on this network. Can we improve a way to deliver messages to people? There are people that come and go and unless you’re on your own teamspeak about three times a week, and your ARTCC does not send out a newsletter, and you’re not on the forums, how will anyone know what’s going on within the division or local level? There has to be a sense of standardization and accountability.
I’m truly open to a constant discussion and if it requires like 10 of us to get together and I take notes/minutes, I’m game!

Dhruv Kalra

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2018, 10:23:24 pm »
Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

This attitude is a logical fallacy. You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship. There's absolutely a need for someone to call the shots in administrative matters, but can you honestly tell me with a straight face that we're stronger as a division after the events of the past 8 days? We're down an entire facility staff, a division events director, and the only losers are the rank and file controllers and students at the affected facility, who are left leaderless and discouraged because the community that they built together has been blown up. I'm all for appropriate disciplinary action being taken, but to jump right to staff removal is something that should be done only after a grave amount of care. The previous VATUSA1 removed ONE ATM in a 5 year tenure; the current administration has made that same move three times in less than a year. Surely you don't disagree that there's some cause for concern with that statistic.

The volunteers - the ones devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money, and expertise with little return aside from their own enjoyment are the lifeblood of this division. ARTCCs are tight-knit communities because for the longest time, the division hasn't done much to force us to co-mingle and coexist. The construct in which we operate makes us work together on things like LOAs, etc. out of necessity and not out of a desire to build bridges or relationships across the borders. Couple that with the fact that in this hobby, there's always going to be an implicit air of competition from one facility to the next, and you have the friendly, but largely adversarial view by which most controllers and staff regard their neighbors.

That being said, it also takes a cultural shift. Many times during high traffic situations, tempers flare, and we're busy looking for ways to blame everyone around us (including the pilots). What we need to be doing is taking more pride in the way we work and doing our best to not shovel our mess into the adjoining sectors or facilities. I just had a long conversation with one of my S3 controllers who is on the precipice of his Center OTS. He was concerned about "what if [insert Center here] screws us over on spacing?" to which I had to gently nudge him into acknowledging that none of us are perfect at this hobby. Rather than trying to blame the neighbors for underperforming, we should be looking for ways to help them step up their game. Constructive feedback and sharing of techniques and best practices goes a long way, and I'm incredibly happy to see Rick's initiatives to start that process.

DK hit it on the head - at the end of the day, we're all on the same team.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 12:00:22 pm by Dhruv Kalra »
Dhruv Kalra
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Derek Hood

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2018, 12:06:29 am »
Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

This attitude is a logical fallacy. You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship. There's absolutely a need for someone to call the shots in administrative matters, but can you honestly tell me with a straight face that we're stronger as a division after the events of the past 8 days? We're down an entire facility staff, a division events director, and the only losers are the rank and file controllers and students at the affected facility, who are left leaderless and discouraged because the community that they built together has been blown up. I'm all for appropriate disciplinary action being taken, but to jump right to staff removal is something that should be done only after a grave amount of care. The previous VATUSA1 removed ONE ATM in a 5 year tenure; the current administration has made that same move three times in less than a year. Surely you don't disagree that there's some cause for concern with that statistic.

The volunteers - the ones devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money, and expertise with little return aside from their own enjoyment are the lifeblood of this division. ARTCCs are tight-knit communities because for the longest time, the division hasn't done much to force us to co-mingle and coexist. The construct in which we operate makes us work together on things like LOAs, etc. out of necessity and not out of a desire to build bridges or relationships across the borders. Couple that with the fact that in this hobby, there's always going to be an implicit air of competition from one facility to the next, and you have the friendly, but largely adversarial view by which most controllers and staff regard their neighbors.

That being said, it also takes a cultural shift. Many times during high traffic situations, tempers flare, and we're busy looking for ways to blame everyone around us (including the pilots). What we need to be doing is taking more pride in the way we work and doing our best to not shovel our mess into the adjoining sectors or facilities. I just had a long conversation with one of my S3 controllers who is on the precipice of his Center OTS. He was concerned about "what if [insert Center here] screws us over on spacing?" to which I had to gently nudge him into acknowledging that none of us are perfect at this hobby. Rather than trying to blame the neighbors for underperforming, we should be looking for ways to help them step up their game. Constructive feedback and sharing of techniques and best practices goes a long way, and I'm incredibly happy to see Rick's initiatives to start that process.

DK hit it on the head - at the end of the day, we're all on the same team.

This is spot on Dhruv.  What I wanted to say, but diplomatic and eloquent lol.

Derek

Tony Jeppesen

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2018, 10:26:51 am »
Unfortunately VATSIM is not a democratic organization.  This structure doesn't just pertain to VATUSA, all of the Regions have a similar structure. It doesn't mean that doing what the masses need to survive shouldn't be done, and input is required to make decisions that benefit the masses.  To get the input, we need to figure out how to communicate.  This system has worked for a long time.

This attitude is a logical fallacy. You can't run a volunteer organization as a dictatorship. There's absolutely a need for someone to call the shots in administrative matters, but can you honestly tell me with a straight face that we're stronger as a division after the events of the past 8 days? We're down an entire facility staff, a division events director, and the only losers are the rank and file controllers and students at the affected facility, who are left leaderless and discouraged because the community that they built together has been blown up. I'm all for appropriate disciplinary action being taken, but to jump right to staff removal is something that should be done only after a grave amount of care. The previous VATUSA1 removed ONE ATM in a 5 year tenure; the current administration has made that same move three times in less than a year. Surely you don't disagree that there's some cause for concern with that statistic.

The volunteers - the ones devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money, and expertise with little return aside from their own enjoyment are the lifeblood of this division. ARTCCs are tight-knit communities because for the longest time, the division hasn't done much to force us to co-mingle and coexist. The construct in which we operate makes us work together on things like LOAs, etc. out of necessity and not out of a desire to build bridges or relationships across the borders. Couple that with the fact that in this hobby, there's always going to be an implicit air of competition from one facility to the next, and you have the friendly, but largely adversarial view by which most controllers and staff regard their neighbors.

That being said, it also takes a cultural shift. Many times during high traffic situations, tempers flare, and we're busy looking for ways to blame everyone around us (including the pilots). What we need to be doing is taking more pride in the way we work and doing our best to not shovel our mess into the adjoining sectors or facilities. I just had a long conversation with one of my S3 controllers who is on the precipice of his Center OTS. He was concerned about "what if [insert Center here] screws us over on spacing?" to which I had to gently nudge him into acknowledging that none of us are perfect at this hobby. Rather than trying to blame the neighbors for underperforming, we should be looking for ways to help them step up their game. Constructive feedback and sharing of techniques and best practices goes a long way, and I'm incredibly happy to see Rick's initiatives to start that process.

DK hit it on the head - at the end of the day, we're all on the same team.

Well your right we can't run the Division as a dictatorship and its not being ran as dictatorship, and you took my words out of context.  What we have is a communication problem, we have people feeling like they don't know where the Division is going or what our plans are, and frankly I agree.  I think the we have done a horrible job of selling the things we are working on, keeping the masses up to date on projects etc. 

Regarding of the removal of three ATMs, I'm not going to discuss the ins and outs of those removals.  What I can tell you is two of those ARTCCs are in a better place now. They are more inclusive, their memberships have grown substantially, and most importantly the people within those ARTCCs are now having fun.  This discussion isn't about the removal of 3 ATMs, its about trying to figure out how we can communicate with you as a member of the Division so everyone knows what is going on, so everyone has an opportunity speak about initiatives, and get their input in.

You talk about volunteers devoting time, blood, sweat, tears, money and expertise to the Division.... What do you think I am? I don't get a paycheck for what I do, I have poured blood, sweat, tears, money and expertise into this Division too.  It seems this is apart of the disconnect, people don't look at us a volunteers either. Not a single person on this staff makes decisions with the intent to harm the Division or ARTCCs or members of the network. I didn't take this job to sit on my rear, I took the job to make VATUSA the best Division on VATSIM, and VATSIM the best ATC network in the world.  We aren't the bad guys.  I have an open door, and in 8 months in this job, I've had two people come to me regarding something that was going on to ask questions... two. Those two people were satisfied with the answers they received, one them was regarding a forum topic that had gotten out of control.

Cultural shift is required for improved communications, and you bring up some great points.  So how can we share information, and resources with everyone? Some ATMs don't want to do that, they don't want to share resources, they don't want another ARTCC digging around in there stuff, and sometimes they don't care what your doing at your facility.  What do we do? The Dictator thing and force them? We can't have it both ways. Many of these issues you are bring up are exactly that culture issues, and the culture is more related to their facility than VATUSA.  We don't have contact with these people every day, the ATMs and staff members do.  Your influence on what is going on in the Division is far greater than ours.  As has been pointed out many times, you are the boots on the ground not us.  If you are willing to come in here basically call us Dictators in front of the entire Division there is no doubt in my mind you are doing it at your facility.  All the does is continue drive the wedge, because in all reality this is your opinion and not fact.I know for a fact many others so not feel that way.  So culture starts with you, and your facility and how you present your relationship with VATUSA.  At the end of the day we are on the same team, and we are here to make sure you succeed, the Division staff doesn't succeed unless you do.





Tony Jeppesen
Depurty Division Director - VATUSA

Tony Jeppesen

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2018, 11:18:45 am »
Transparency is huge! Members like S1’s & 2’s are SO key to “keep around”. We talk about retention but one of your best ways to keep them around is to communicate. I can’t agree more with what Chris Hadden said…”we want to see you!” I see Brandon Barrett more than anything else. I enjoy the fact that he jumps into a teamspeak and jokes with us. He controls from time to time, and shares laughs, talks about life. No one ever feels on edge, and it’s like hanging out with one of the guys. I hate to say it, but I don’t think a lot of the newer members know who our top division staff even are.

Too many ARTCCs that seem as if they don’t know who to seek for help, when in fact, it’s VATUSA. Can I ask…what is the purpose of  the Air Traffic Director? I don’t get any updates from them? I can’t even think of the last time I’ve seen one. Again, is this position responsible for delivering information from VATUSA1? I'm not sure if many people know what these roles are or even consist of. Is the role of the director to supervise multiple ARTCCs because if so, I would love to see a system of checks and balances to ensure that the staff of an ARTCC is being held accountable.

I feel for the members that think that this individual is doing a good job. They think it’s a good job because they’ve only been here for 5 months and they have never been to any other ARTCC. These guys and gals deserve more but I don’t see anyone putting anyone’s feet to the ground to make sure they are doing their job besides asking “So how are things in the ARTCC?” “Good”. Well duh, they’re not going to say “I’m doing a terrible job”. I know some people have a lot on their plate but either there are not many tasks being delegated or people are not showing up to work.

Some in the above posts have mentioned a teamspeak or discord. Sure, but why not come in and hangout with us. We don’t get to vote for our leaders, so at least give us your time and show face. I am very happy with the responses this post has produced but please, please, please do not just stop in to appease me, please move a few pieces on the chess board. Surveys are great, but how about an anonymous suggestion box on the VATUSA website? The issue is, there are a lot of people that are afraid to speak up because they do not want to deal with repercussions, and they surely do not want to be critiqued. Giving someone the chance to speak without judgement is key!

Tony, you mentioned where do we want to see more communication from VATUSA? I think a great idea would be, to tell us what you’re working on, tell us what you discussed with the ATMs at a level that doesn’t compromise anything that should be TRULY kept under the sheets for certain ears. This is an age of digital media and there are talented people on this network. Can we improve a way to deliver messages to people? There are people that come and go and unless you’re on your own teamspeak about three times a week, and your ARTCC does not send out a newsletter, and you’re not on the forums, how will anyone know what’s going on within the division or local level? There has to be a sense of standardization and accountability.
I’m truly open to a constant discussion and if it requires like 10 of us to get together and I take notes/minutes, I’m game!

Derek

All great points!

The part I don't understand is how people don't know who they are suppose to go to for help or information.  The structure of VATUSA is laid out in the Division policy, and in my opinion its really simple.  Maybe I'm biased on that because I've been here a long time like you and know the ins and outs of the network and how to get around on it for the most part. 

The Air Traffic Director's are in place for several reasons. The first is to be a point of contact for the ATM's their staff and members if there is a need for assistance through VATUSA, or if there is clarity needed on a matter.  It's to maintain a certain span of control.  One person can't handle everything there is to do at the Divisional level, and we like to see things handled at the lowest level possible.  As a member of an ARTCC your point of contact is going to be your ATM, and if he/she can't assist you they should be reaching out to the ATD to get the answers or assistance for you, or if you feel like your not getting what you need from ARTCC staff, its a point of contact for any member.  Like I said we like to see the chain of command (structure) used whenever possible, but we also understand sometimes you just have to talk to one of us, and we're completely okay with that.  We actually have implemented a system of checks and balances to some extent when it comes to ARTCC staff.  This does apply more to the hiring process and the time period after they take on their new role... Again though... We don't want to micromanage the ATMs, we want them to be empowered to make the decisions the need to make with as little interference from the Division as possible. 

People do have a lot on their plate, and something I actually can't stand is when someone can only complain and whine about something but they don't offer up solutions, or time to help fix the problem there is only 10 VATUSA staff members when we are fully staffed, and in all reality we need help on some of these projects.  Especially when it comes to training initiatives, those effect everyone and the more input the better calculated decision we can make.  Complaining doesn't get us anywhere... We'll thats not true, complaining without solutions to what your complaining about don't get us anywhere.  Presenting problems and viable solutions to try is progress in my opinion.

On the aspect of communication from VATUSA, I like the idea of updating everyone on what we are doing and where we are going on the aspect of projects that effect all facilities or even individual facilities especially of another ARTCC can look at that and say... Hey we might like to try something like that.  On the aspect of what comes out of ATMs meetings this is where the structure comes into play with the dissemination of information.  I believe if the ATM's meet with us and there is information they feel their membership needs to know that came out of that meeting, in a way its the responsibility of that ATM to disseminate that information to their members...  This all ties back to span of control, if the information is coming from ATM then the members will discuss that with that ATM who will hopefully bring those discussions to the ATD or Division Director during a meeting or through any other means they wish to use.  However that's how "I" feel about that and if the masses feel different I'm not opposed to doing the things you mentioned here to make sure the membership is apart of what is going on.

Regarding visibility in the Division, you may want to see us, but there are ARTCCs that really don't want us around.  There is ARTCCs where I certainly don't feel welcome, and then there are the ARTCCs that require I sign up to visitor to come hang out in their TS...  I can tell you with you saying that I will make it a point to get over and hang out with guys.  I do try and get around to the facilities I'm welcome and feel welcome regularly, but I will certainly make it a point to get around a little more. I agree with you full heartily, that having the relationship like Barrett has with you guys is a positive thing and we should probably get out more and mingle with the masses.
Tony Jeppesen
Depurty Division Director - VATUSA

Matthew Kosmoski

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2018, 11:37:11 am »
and its not being ran as dictatorship
That's your opinion...

As a current facility staff member who works division, I'd agree with his assessment (or opinion).  The number of ATM meetings and collaboration with division has gone up in recent history.
Matthew Kosmoski (MK)
Air Traffic Manager | ZHU ARTCC
mkosmoski@zhuartcc.org
www.zhuartcc.org

Derek Vento

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2018, 11:49:42 am »
I'm not going to get into what Kos & Bruno are referencing because whether or not that is true still should not take away from the fact that, there is a membership of individuals that deserve a connection with the upper echelon. I want the words I'm using to not be looked at as an "attack" but instead a constructive conversation where we can acknowledge fault or say "He, ya know what Derek, I disagree, this is what's occurring". That's fine with me but we have to acknowledge the people who still want to make this fun. I'm sorry to say this, but a lot of people have lost their drive to actually control airplanes. Managing is more "fun" for them...managing is "their game"..well listen...I didn't come here for that and neither did most of us. I came here to have an equal balance of fun, with good management serving the people. Let's have a conversation in the next few days/week or so, to sit down and facilitate a genuine dialogue.

As always, I got nothin but love for ya'll...Yes, the slang came out! Be good, I'm done with this post. See you on the scopes fellas.

Dhruv Kalra

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Re: We don't talk enough...
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2018, 11:50:48 am »
As a current facility staff member who works division, I'd agree with his assessment (or opinion).  The number of ATM meetings and collaboration with division has gone up in recent history.
Meetings are only as good as the people who attend them, and the resultant actions taken. Thus far, I haven’t seen any meaningful evidence that ATM feedback that goes against the grain is particularly well-received, despite our best intentions. It feels more and more that those of us who dare to uphold providing a quality service to the pilots alongside the being inclusive and having fun goals of the division get noses turned up at our efforts.

The overwhelming sentiment that I keep hearing from above my proverbial pay grade is “Why bother getting better as long as we’re having fun?” That’s not why I signed up to do this, and it’s certainly not why I signed up to instruct or to lead a facility. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in participation trophies.
Dhruv Kalra
ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor