Well Deserved Honor for FAA’s Head of Aviation Safety

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ARTICLE: 28th Annual SEA Banquet Honors Distinguished Executives Responsible for Saving Government Over $94 Billion



The job of being a civil servant is arduous with many demands on your time, with the salaries allowed by Congress, with less than ideal working conditions, with long hours (and no overtime) and with little recognition. All too often, jokes about working for the government frequent the late night TV wits’ easy target list.

In this context, it is GREAT news to hear that the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Ms. Margaret (“Peggy”) Gilligan received a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for her 2012 work for the FAA. It is an award confined to Senior Executives, numbering 7,086 high level federal executives, and of that category only 46 were recognized for their efforts in 2012 or 0.65%.

Perusing the unidentified list of achievements, it appears that Ms. Gilligan was honored for:

  • Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, leading a team of government and private-sector members in developing and implementing a plan to retrofit over 6,000 commercial airplanes with hardened cockpit doors.

Those familiar with her body of work recognize that the above description is only an example of the many tough tasks that Peggy has successfully dealt with. She is known to spend many more hours on the job than 9 to 5, to have maintained equanimity in times of crisis, to have a depth of knowledge (more appropriately understanding) of the massive set of FARs, Handbooks, ACs, ADs, Orders, SAFOs and other recondite documents which her organization administers and to have shown her excellent Irish wit at the right times. Hard to believe that she started off as an FAA enforcement lawyer.

Congratulations, Peggy; well earned!!

PS- Sam Podberesky of the DoT’s General Counsel received the same honor for his work on consumer issues.

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