Center Forms New Council to Address Topics of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA)
Vol.8 Issue 2
Diversity + Equity + Inclusion + Accessibility = Safety

In the interest of promoting a work environment where everyone has equal access to information, development and opportunities, a workgroup comprised of nearly 25 employees from non-management and management met virtually for the first time in January. Their objective is to help collectively and intentionally move the Aeronautical Center forward by helping to attract, develop and retain a workforce rich in diverse people, talent, and ideas.

Michelle Coppedge, Director of the Aeronautical Center and Kim Sheppard, Chief of Staff helped to kick off the meeting, reinforcing the need for candid feedback on ways to improve the work culture so that everyone feels valued and appreciated. One of the goals of the Council is to aid in providing advice and counsel to the Aeronautical Center’s Management Team (CMT), while also allowing members to serve as advocates for diversity, ensuring that the Center’s workforce appropriately reflects the diversity of the local community and nation. "Everyone comes from a different background, with different perspectives. It is incumbent upon each of us to really listen to the feedback that we are given, so that we can respond to the concerns of those that feel underrepresented," says Coppedge.

Inclusive office working on a project

The Council was formed and modeled after the Aeronautical Center’s Occupational Safety, Health and Environmental Committee (OSHECOM). The Committee drafted a Charter and provided a structured means of collecting feedback and recommendations to align with Agency plans, policies, programs and initiatives. The actual Charter for DEIA was developed a year ago but members will be considering their comments and looking at ways of how to enhance the document. The Aeronautical Center was asked by the FAA to participate in a steering committee, so the timing for assembling this group was most opportune. DEIA members responded anonymously to a series of questions using an interactive smartphone application to gauge potential areas for improvement. The committee plans to meet monthly until it gets further established, and then will likely move to quarterly gatherings, helping to serve as a conduit of communication between management and employees.

2022 Diversity Equity Inclusion and Accessibility Council Members:

Michelle Coppedge

Kevin O’Connor

Kim Sheppard

Nina Barker

Vanessa Briggs

Beau Bruhwiler

Misha Carlisle

Jerry Clements

Michael Dunbar

Susan Forney

Dave Guy

Thomas Harris

Earl Hill

Angela Laws

Rebecca Lipe

Darren Masters

Jodie Mack

Greg Morgan

Anthony Murray

Jill Olson

Scott Reygers

Derrick Rollins

Dallas Schrems

Raquel Snowden

Rashida Wesley

Rod Vargas


Members voiced that they are excited and hopeful about this new initiative. They are eager to take information back to their organizations in hopes of gaining momentum for improving all relationships across the Center. Best practices will be shared so that ideas can be implemented to further promote and foster an environment in which everyone is treated equally, and all ideas and opinions are valued. Stay tuned, as the newly formed DEIA Council is likely to bring forth plans and programs to foster improved communications and establish engaging activities for everyone.

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