Please join us the evening of Wednesday, March 22, 2017 for the 13th annual Archie League Medal of Safety Awards


8557659832 6b0265dbeb oNATCA is proud to announce its 2017 Archie League Medal of Safety Award recipients. Named for the first air traffic controller, the Archie League Medal of Safety Award honors air traffic controllers who have performed life-saving work in the previous calendar year.

Air traffic controllers juggle a variety of variables and complex scenarios. Their ability to adapt to ever-changing situations while keeping their composure is a skill they have mastered. As a result of their commitment to perfection, the National Airspace System is the safest in the world.

Each honoree faced a unique situation in which their ability to think quickly and remain calm under pressure was tested. Although each of these remarkable individuals will say they were “just doing their job,” their work is extraordinary and NATCA honors it with this prestigious award.

NATCA will honor the recipients on March 22, during the Archie League Medal of Safety Award banquet that closes NATCA’s annual Communicating For Safety conference.

A judges panel consisting of aviation and air traffic control experts, this year featuring NATCA Director of Safety and Technology Jim Ullmann, Experimental Aircraft Association CEO & Chairman of the Board Captain Jack Pelton and Air Line Pilots Association, International, Aviation Safety Chairman Captain Steve Jangelis, selected one event from each of NATCA’s nine geographical regions based on peer nominations.


The 2017 honorees:

Alaskan Region: Jessica Earp, Anchorage Center

Central Region: Andrew Cullen and Jeffrey R. Volski, Kansas City Center

Eastern Region: Jaymi Steinberg and Richard Wallace, Washington Center

Great Lakes Region: David Stempien, Cleveland Center

Great Lakes Region: Eric Vanstrom, Fort Wayne ATCT

New England Region: Eric J. Knight and Ross Leshinsky, Boston ATCT

Northwest Mountain Region: Aaron Grijalva, Denver TRACON

Southern Region: Mason Braddock, Patrick Burrows, Nichole Surunis, Clay Sutton, and Keith Tyus, Atlanta TRACON

Southwest Region: Patrick Armstrong, Dallas/Fort Worth TRACON

Western Pacific Region: Brian Bond, Aaron Fones and Carlton Wickstrom, Phoenix TRACON

Read more about the Archie League Awards and its history.




In the mid 1920’s, the increase of air traffic caused delays as well as safety concerns within the aviation industry.As a means to stave off air mishaps, in 1929, the St. Louis, Missouri airfield hired its first U.S. air traffic controller, Archie League. Having been a licensed pilot, as well as a licensed engine and aircraft mechanic, League was a perfect fit to perform the duties of controlling planes from the ground. Everyday, League would drag his “control tower” out onto the St. Louis airfield. This control tower consisted of a wheelbarrow on which he mounted an umbrella for shade, his lunch, a note pad and a pair of signal flags he used to direct the air traffic. League went on to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering; and with his 36 years of directing air traffic, helped develop the federal air traffic control system.

Watch the ceremony highlights and read about the winners, this year's and past, and their remarkable work on