NATA good idea; Selection of Ms. Baker even better

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Faceless Washington Bureaucrats

NATA selects one whose face should be known

Dorenda Baker

It is an all too common tactic for politicians to garner positive reactions from their outside-the-beltway constituents by attacking “faceless Washington bureaucrats.” It is an easy attack because the general populace has little knowledge of or contact with our national civil servants; so, their impression of these arbitrators of regulatory powers is indeed not positive. As with any large organization, there are those who are not exemplary in their work.

Objectively, however, one must acknowledge that the mission of these career employees is quite admirable. The FAA exists to assure safety in air transportation. But who knows anything- specifically or generically-about that government workers? The national media tends to highlight the person who was involved in some mistake.

NATA should be commended for instituting a Distinguished Public Service Award and given higher credit for identifying Dorenda Baker for its 2019 recognition.


In addition to the association’s listing of the attributes which justify Ms. Baker’s selection, it is important to recognize her for doing something not generally associated with being a “bureaucrat”—taking a risk. As the AIR Director she led a transformational effort for her team. First recognizing that the old prescriptive approach to aircraft certification could no longer worth. Then, working with industry to replace detailed one-size-fits-all regulations with relevant and more precise in application engineering standards. Finally, she recognized that this was not just a transformation of standards but a revision of the job tasks assigned to the AIR organization. She addressed that transition by providing the tools for her people to prepare for their new assignments and by reorganizing the teams which must deal with this constantly changing technology.



NATA To Honor Dorenda Baker’s FAA Service

by Kerry Lynch

– May 7, 2019, 8:51 AM


The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has selected Dorenda Baker, former executive director of the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service (AIR), as this year’s recipient of its Distinguished Public Service Award. NATA will recognize Baker during its June 18 Industry Excellence Awards Presentation Luncheon held in conjunction with its 2019 Annual Meeting and Aviation Business Conference.

Baker spent more than three decades with the FAA, retiring from the agency on November 30. As executive director, she oversaw type certification, production approval, airworthiness certification, and continued airworthiness of the U.S. civil aircraft fleet, leading a workforce of more than 1,300 employees. She worked closely with industry, helping to implement the Part 23 rewrite, laying the groundwork for unmanned aircraft systems technologies, tightening international collaborations, and reorganizing AIR.

“The National Air Transportation Association is honored to recognize Dorenda Baker’s 32-year tenure with the FAA. Dorenda’s commitment to aviation is marked by her esteemed public service record, beginning and ending her professional career with the agency,” said NATA president Gary Dempsey. “Her tireless work, knowledge, and relationship with the general aviation industry improved the aircraft certification process for our membership and other stakeholders.”

It is good to see good FAA executives to be recognized. If only this message of how talented these dedicated career servants are could be shared outside of the DMV.


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2 Comments on "NATA good idea; Selection of Ms. Baker even better"

  1. Jim Cistone | May 9, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Reply

    Congratulations Dorenda! Well deserved!

  2. Trevor Woods | May 12, 2019 at 2:34 am | Reply

    A very good choice! Dorenda, congratulations and thank you for all your co-operation

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