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Q. What’s your favorite vacation spot?
A. I don’t get too many vacations because I manage a youth cycling team, but when I can, I typically go on a cruise because I’m forced to relax. I sit by the pool, I have a drink, and the phone doesn’t work. I’ve been to the Bahamas six times. I like all of the islands. I love reggae music. I just like that lifestyle.
Q. People would be surprised to know that…
A. I’ve been a USA cycling certified level 2 coach since 2005. I started my own cycling team two years ago. I’ve always been into mentoring and developing youth. I ran AAU basketball teams in the past. Basketball is what saved me and got me out of the slums I lived in. It taught me work ethic, so I’ve tried to mentor and push that at every level.
Q. How long have you worked for the FAA?
A. I’ve been with the FAA and AVS since April 2006. My father was a crop duster and flew a torpedo bomber in World War II and Korea. He had the highest respect for the FAA, and I thought that would be the pinnacle of my career.
Q. How would you explain your job to someone you never met before?
A. I supervise about 10 employees and help ensure the safety of aviation, including air crew, aircraft, manufacturers, repair stations, and facility audits of all of the above.
Q. What do you like best about your job?
A. I like the challenge the FAA brings me. My background is in industry, and the government operates in quite a different manner. I’ve been able to promote change at my Flight Standards District Office to improve the culture and operate more efficiently.
Q. What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
A. Motivating a group of individuals when there is continual change and uncertainty, and not necessarily being informed of the purpose of the change.
Q. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A. At five years old, I would get in trouble because I wanted to go outside and watch my father take off with his crop duster. I’ve always loved aviation, but I didn’t necessarily think I’d end up there. I wanted to be something cool and dangerous like a fireman. I ended up going into the Marine Corps to be a fireman, but the recruiter told me, with my scores, that I could do anything. He said, “I have an uncle that works for Boeing,” – this was back in ’83 – “and makes $50,000 a year and doesn’t get dirty at work.” I said, “Well, sign me up for that.” That changed my life. I’ve been in aviation ever since.
Q. What was your first job?
A. I was a paperboy at 10 years old. I told them I was 13, because you had to be 13, and I wanted money. I grew up in the ghetto with no money. If I wanted a bike, I needed to buy it.
Q. What traits do you admire most in others?
A. Integrity and honesty. That’s the foundation of everything I do.
Q. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A. Early on, I was told, if you have a disagreement with somebody, shut up and listen and you’ll learn something. So when I’m in meetings, I encourage different points of view to discuss and come up with a better solution.
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