Teresa Farrell to Retire After 30 Years of Service
Vol.8 Issue 7
Teresa celebrates with teammates in winning a first place trophy for their lip-sync performance during the 2007 Combined Federal Campaign fundraiser. (L-R) Brenda Johnson, Teresa Farrell, Nina Barker, John St. Pierre, Jerri Dantzler and Jerri Carr

As a child, Teresa Farrell didn’t really know what she wanted to do when she got older. She just knew that she wanted to go to college and to make a difference in the world. She struggled with those decisions at an early age, especially being a daughter of a single mother who could not afford to send her daughter to college. This is what lead her into making some difficult decisions. Once she realized her future was at stake, she kicked things into high gear while attending high school. Teresa graduated in 3 years instead of 4 and then promptly enlisted in the military, with the promise of using the GI Bill and having the opportunity to attend higher education. "I was determined to get a degree! I felt that with a college degree that I could only improve my opportunities to get a better job. Once I learned that I could return to Federal Service after leaving the military, I decided that was what I was going to do," says Teresa. "I would like to think that I picked my Civil Service career, but in actuality, it sort of picked me."

As a young adult, one of the very first jobs Teresa ever held was babysitting and housecleaning for neighbors. She also did some car hopping at some fast food establishments. These were her first ’real’ jobs where she earned a paycheck. Then when she turned 17 years old, she laced up her boots and went off to the U.S. Army, and for her, this was a real occupation. Teresa reflects, "I have told more than one person, that I was young and dumb back then, but I really would not have changed a thing."

Teresa began her FAA career in September 1997, as a Supply Technician in the FAA’s Logistics Center. In January 1998, she took a position as a Management Program Analyst in another product division within the Logistics Center and has served in that profession the remainder of her career.

Teresa presents an award to renowned Oklahoma Native, Harvey Pratt on behalf of the Native American Alaskan Native (NAAN) Coalition
Teresa (middle) celebrates her recognition of outstanding commitment in advancing People with Disabilities hiring opportunities and outreach with the Workforce Recruitment Program. (L-R) Marion Blakey, FAA Administrator (2002-2007), Teresa Farrell – award winner, and Fanny Rivera, Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights and Diversity Advocate (1984-2012)
Teresa pictured with Norman Mineta, as she accepts an award for her efforts with EEO and Affirmative Action. (2001-2006)

Along the way, she has participated in a lot of "extra" duties and assignments. She accepted a collateral role with the Office of Civil Rights working as a People with Disabilities Manager (8/98-5/03). Then from 5/09-1/10 she became the Treasurer for the FAA Native American Alaskan Native Coalition, she then held a national officer position in the Coalition from 4/13-2/20. She was also proud to serve as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counselor for a number of years, assisting employees in different organizations across the Aeronautical Center. She has also served as the Mutual Aid Pledge (MAPS) representative for her work area since 2015.

All in the name of fundraising for the Combined Federal Campaign, the "Red Hat Ladies" help to raise donations for charity. Pictured L-R: (top row) Kim Sheppard, KJ Marshall, Teresa Farrell, Brenda Johnson (bottom row: Cheryl Cooley and Shelly Hinojosa
Teresa and co-workers perform a parody for the Combined Federal Campaign during a "Howl and Scream" fundraiser with a Harper Valley PTA skit. (L-R) Brenda Johnson, Jeni Keisling, Bill Poteet, Teresa Farrell, KJ Marshall, Shelly Hinojosa (kneeling) and Nancy Taylor

Teresa is certain that she has worked in just about every level and function within the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), (except for the Treasurer position). She began serving as a divisional representative and then later becoming the Logistics Center’s representative. One year she was fortunate enough to lead the CFC Campaign, representing both the MMAC and the DOT. In 2011 she was selected as one of the FAA Loaned Executives to represent FAA through the local United Way. "I had a lot of fun and accomplished a lot of worthwhile fundraising," explains Teresa.

Teresa (pictured at far right) stands with other ACE Camp Counselors and Astronaut Scott Altman after the 2019 ACE Camp
Teresa enjoys a moment with fellow ACE Camp counselors, Kathy Barnes and Ronnie Minnick. Teresa devoted 12 years of her time helping with the Aeronautical Center’s annual ACE Camp

Other collateral jobs she assisted with were involved with the MMAC’s annual Aviation Career Education (ACE) camps, helping Oklahoma’s youth learn about various careers in STEM. "I think this involvement has a larger impact on me than it did the kids. I am pretty sure that I had as much fun as they did, if not more. I’ve lost count of how long I’ve been involved, but I think it’s around 12 years. The lessons are as unique as the kids who have attended the camps, and every year is filled with new lessons! It has been awesome to get to be a part of that program and watch it blossom and grow into what it is today! I have to give a huge shout out to the other ACE Camp counselors. I am really going to miss the summer heat and kids cutting up, and all the fun memories," says Teresa.

Traits that Teresa admires most in others are honesty, hard work, honor and integrity. She says that the best advice she’s ever received is "Always be willing to help another behind you with a hand up or handout, and that way you’ll always be paying it forward. I was only able to get to where I am today with the assistance and guidance of a lot of friends and former co-workers. Those who were so kind to always help me or give me good mentorship. I have tried to do that for others. I recommend advising or giving good direction about something to others who need it. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in being a good mentor or advisor, to do it! You never know how you might impact someone’s life."

Her favorite vacation spot is Eureka Springs, Arkansas, as she and her family have traveled there many times. They also like Pacifica, California and traveling to see the redwoods. She also loves Hawaii and would like to eventually visit there again. She insists that she never really got to vacation in Europe, while she was stationed there. There are a lot of places she would like to visit once the global health crisis truly subsides.

Something that people might be surprised to know about Teresa, is that she is a veteran, and a disabled veteran. Her last duty assignment before exiting the military was in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City at the U.S. Army Headquarters Recruiting Command Center. "Even after leaving that assignment, I knew many who had worked there. As difficult as it was, we continued to bank with the Federal Employees Credit Union that was originally located in the building. We knew many people who were injured and who died in the bombing, so that place will always hold a very special place in my heart."

Having so many decades of experience from one location, Teresa reflects on her early days at the Aeronautical Center: "I can remember MacArthur Boulevard being an open street and the gas station that was located at the north end of the campus... many of the new employees will likely have no idea what I am talking about. The street running through the Aeronautical Center once was open all the way through, and prior to September 11th, there were no security gates, so you could drive wherever you needed to on the premises."

Teresa looks forward to spending more time with her immediate family. Pictured here with her husband Mike, her son Mike Jr., grandson Ryan, and granddaughter, Bella

"I also think of all the changes that have happened gradually, and now looking back I see how much we have done to make the campus better for all of the employees, with modernization and building changes… but especially the changes relative to persons with disabilities. The buildings are more accessible, and restrooms now have stalls for people with disabilities. This was not always the case in many of the buildings located here, because the structures were older and were not yet up to code; it took time to bring each one up to the current codes, one at a time. So as the renovations have taken place and modernization has occurred, we now have a more accessible workplace. This is one change that I was really happy to see!"

Some of the hobbies that Teresa enjoys include fishing and gardening. She also enjoys baking and making homemade candy. One of her favorite things to do is see live music concerts. "We love to go and hear different genres of music, so I expect we will get to do more of that now. We enjoy all genres of music, and we still have a few musicians on our "concert" bucket list, so we are hoping to get to those as well."

Congratulations to Teresa for three decades of devoted public service. We have no doubt that wherever her new journey takes her, she will be doing whatever she can to assist someone else. Best wishes, Teresa, from your FAA Family!

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