MMAC Town Hall: Proud of our Past and Excited About Our Future!
Vol.7 Issue 8

The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) held the second Center-wide Town Hall of 2021, drawing interest from across the nation. Nearly 700 people celebrated the accomplishments of 2021 and looked to the future vision of the Aeronautical Center.

The MMAC Town Hall focused on the theme of “Building on the Center’s 75 Years of strategic partnerships and operational excellence.” Aeronautical Center Director Michelle Coppedge observed, “With it being the end of the fiscal year, I thought it would be important for us to reflect on some of the many accomplishments that have been made. It is quite an impressive list.” She celebrated the Center employees for their work and added, “the accomplishments of FY21 are a result of a lot of people across the Center working collaboratively.”

The September 29, 2021 MMAC Town Hall was filled with exciting discussions of the past, present, and future of the Aeronautical Center. The MMAC Director Michelle Coppedge spoke to the many successes that the Aeronautical Center saw in FY2021. Joining her during the presentation was William J. Hughes Technical Center Director Shelly Yak, Aeronautical Center Deputy Director Kevin O’Connor, and Town Hall emcee, Delinda Fitzgerald, Acting Deputy Director, AIR-900.

Director Michelle Coppedge went on to highlight some of FY2021’s successes including the Aeronautical Center being designated as a “Top Workplace in Oklahoma!” She continued, “We were thrilled to have been selected as a Top Workplace, especially with it being the first year of participating in this event. We were told that is it very rare for any company to do this well during the first time of participating. It normally takes around 3 years.” She praised the work being done to keep the Center operating in the midst of the global health crisis. Michelle noted, “We were the only DOT location that had several thousand employees on-site at a facility during the pandemic.”

During the September 29th MMAC Town Hall, Director Michelle Coppedge highlighted the many successes that the Aeronautical Center saw in FY2021, to include the FAA Academy training over 39,000 aviation professionals, the FAA Logistics Center supporting over 77,000 different ATC systems, and the Civil Aviation Registry registering over 280,000 civil aircraft and almost 2 million unmanned aircraft.

The year 2021 is a unique and exciting year for the Aeronautical Center as the Center celebrates its 75th Anniversary. Director Coppedge noted, “Over the past 75 years, the Aeronautical Center has had many instances where people made a difference and helped propel aviation forward. Oklahoma has always been rich in aviation and many of the prior programs were placed at the Center by aviators in influential positions pointing towards the Center for programs to land. This served us well for 75 years. Our challenge now is to maintain and ensure our relevance for another 75 years and beyond.”

So exactly how does the Aeronautical Center maintain the momentum it has experienced? Michelle Coppedge pointed out that strategic partnerships are key. “In order to achieve our vision of being a highly valued strategic partner to our customers, it is critical that we first understand how our mission and the mission of our customers align,” she said. She continued, “This will enable us to create a roadmap to where we want to go and will help determine how we can support our customers.” Michelle pointed to the relationship the Aeronautical Center has with the William J. Hughes Technical Center as one such strategic partnership. Coppedge states, “The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center and the William J. Hughes Technical Center have worked together, forming a unique partnership that has fostered collaboration and innovation that is truly a role model across the FAA.” Technical Center Director Shelly Yak echoed these same sentiments.

MMAC Town Hall participants heard from many of the partners with whom the MMAC works, and they testified to the strength of the partnership that exists between their organizations and the Aeronautical Center. Dennis Coleman, Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Chief Management Officer, expressed amazement at the work that the Enterprise Services Center (ESC) performed in FY21 in support of OPM. Jeff Planty, Vice President of Technical Operations, Dave Boulter, Vice President of ATO Flight Program Operations, Jeffrey Vincent, Vice President of Air Traffic Services, and Troy Jackson, Director of the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) all spoke to the collaboration and results that partnering with the MMAC has produced. The Aeronautical Center is strong and healthy as it continues to grow with its strategic partners!

Joining the September 27th MMAC Town Hall were several friends and colleagues including: Jeffrey Vincent (Vice President of Air Traffic Services – top left), Jeff Planty (Vice President of Technical Operations – top right), David Boulter (Vice President of ATO Flight Program Operations – bottom left), and Troy Jackson (Director of the Transportation Safety Institute – bottom right).

Aeronautical Center Deputy Director Kevin O’Connor joined the Town Hall to announce the new facilities coming to the Aeronautical Center. Joining him via video were Dr. Melchor Antunano, Director of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) and Jon Berkman, Manager of the Architecture and Engineering Division, AMP-400. Big things are happening! The Multi-Purpose Building (MPB) at the Center is in the middle of a full renovation, which will be completed in 2022. The updated building will provide offices, collaboration spaces, and work-centers for the employees of ESC. Additionally, ground is being broken on the new Wi-Waves facility, a state-of-the-art aviation water training and research facility, capable of generating wind and waves up to 10’ in height, and austere conditions to aid in understanding aircraft water escapes and rescues.

Always a fan favorite, Dr. Melchor Antuñano, Director of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), announces the exciting groundbreaking of Wi-Waves, a new aviation water-training and research facility to be built at the Aeronautical Center.

As a grand finale, Deputy Director O’Connor discussed the incredible opportunity that the Aeronautical Center has, to partner with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “We are very fortunate to have a NASA presence on the Center. Dave Zahn works for NASA as a Principal Investigator of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Airspace Theory and works out of an office right here at the Center. NASA put him here because of the aerospace synergies across the MMAC, including aeronautical services, second level engineering, the Academy, and the Registry. There is so much synergy located right here in one location, which is very beneficial to David and his work with advanced air mobility,” Kevin said.

Michelle Coppedge closed out the MMAC Town Hall by pointing out that the successes seen across the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center are only possible through the dedicated work of the people of the Aeronautical Center. She states, “You can see there is a lot going on at the Center to move us forward successfully. And each of you play a critical role in the Center’s success in achieving our vision of being a highly valued strategic partner to our stakeholders, sustaining operational excellence and advancing emerging technologies.”

Looking to our heritage, working diligently in the present, and envisioning what the future could be, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is guided by a vision of partnerships, business, technology, and excellence.
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