Living on Teel Time
Vol.9 Issue 3
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When Paige Teel began overseeing the $36 million annual budget for Facilities and Equipment at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) in 2011, she had extensive experience in accounting, but none whatsoever in working this type of budget…and the expert she replaced had been there over 20 years.

"I had three days with her before she left, and then it was up to me to learn on my own," said Teel, an 18-year FAA employee. "So, I just really had to dig in to figure it out and what to do."

Through hard work and commitment to the mission, Teel has progressed quickly from novice to expert in her field.

With degrees in accounting and business, Teel worked in public accounting before transitioning to the civil service at the FAA. She first managed budgets for MMAC’s Enterprise Services Center and Logistics Center and now for facilities and equipment across the Aeronautical Center’s 1,100 acres.

"Now – not to brag – I’m the go-to person for facilities and equipment, and real property capitalization at MMAC," she said.

That means making sure all the people doing important aeronautical work at the Center have a roof over their heads, including in aviation medicine, pilot records, the aircraft and drone registry and the FAA Logistics Center, which stores and manages the $735-plus million inventories of the National Airspace System systems and parts.

"I really enjoy my job; it’s ever-changing and I feel like every day I learn something new," she said. "And I know that the work I’m doing is helping customers, helping our people, so it’s very rewarding to be part of that and to see that happen."

Through 11 years in serving as the budgeting expert for facilities and equipment, Teel has realized the rewards of leaving her comfort zone to try something new.

"I knew nothing about contracting and real estate when I started, and now I’m representing the FAA on this," she said. "I think it’s critical for our agency that we keep moving forward in our careers, and if you put yourself out there you can really learn a lot."

Teel was inspired by her husband’s uncle, Joe Lubinus, an MMAC retiree who worked in the hangars, to pursue a career in finance at the Center. And both of her parents were civil servants in the U.S. Air Force, in Altus, Oklahoma, where Teel grew up, so public service seemed like a good fit for her – and it is.

Not only does Teel love the job itself, but she greatly appreciates the benefits of being an FAA employee. This became ever important to her in 2014, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Badlands National Park

"I had both of my daughters and was working for the FAA at the time. And, honestly, it was the biggest blessing of my life to have been at the FAA. People donated leave; I had so much support and so much flexibility from the agency and my director – as I underwent chemo and radiation – and have been able to recover."

"A lot about my life has changed, my priorities have changed," she said. "I feel like my work ethic and parenting has improved. I feel like I’ve become a better version of myself since then."

Teel has been instrumental in managing budgets for major sustainability projects at the MMAC. For example, she formulated budgets for construction of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) largest solar farm and the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging ports – two major projects that garnered 2022 DOT awards.

She’s also an active volunteer, serving a school fund-raising organization, a parent-teacher organization, the track team’s booster club, her church’s youth group and as a STEM outreach representative at MMAC.

Teel is also a proven problem-solver. For example, last year she quickly restored $7.1 million in Capital Investment Program funding and worked across organizations to quickly obligate the funds against a tight deadline.

"Paige played a vital role in ensuring that all our expiring funds were obligated before the cutoff date," said Corey Black, Director of Facility Management. "Through deft management of dozens of construction projects, fluctuating construction costs, and budget constraints, Paige continues to skillfully orchestrate an F&E Program that is critical to the long-term sustainment of MMAC facilities."

Teel said hybrid work offers her flexibility, and that allows her the ability to structure more time with her family. Her daughters are involved in several high school and middle school activities. In addition to following them in sports, she and her family enjoy the great outdoors and traveling. They recently went skiing in New Mexico, toured Mount Rushmore, hiked several parks in Colorado and have plans to see Yellowstone.

"The FAA has provided a wonderful work-life balance. I can make the basketball game, the track meet and fulfill my role of being a working mom, which is very rewarding to me," she said. "I wouldn’t want to do anything else. And I have great co-workers, great mentors and have met some wonderful people along the way. And I’m very thankful for that."

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