CELEBRATING OUR MEMBERS
Meet NWSEO Lifetime Member Martin Lee
(April 7, 2021) Please meet NWSEO Lifetime Member, Martin Lee of Duluth, MN. Mr. Lee, who retired from WFO Duluth after over 41 years of service, reflects on his time as an active member of NWSEO. He has been a NWSEO member since 1988.
Why did you join NWSEO?
It is an important investment in our careers! I learned early in my career that NWSEO leaders work hard to respond to their members’ questions with regards to collective bargaining, work schedules and supporting our mission at the NWS. I joined NWSEO to be a part of their effort and support my fellow colleagues. They were appreciative and we were a great team.
NWSEO Leadership Roles
I served as a Steward at the time Modernization and Restructuring began in 1988 at Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Minneapolis, MN. About four years later, I became the NWSEO Central Region Vice-Chairperson and worked with and learned from NWSEO leaders at that time: Alan Eros, Bill Sammler, and Dieter Crowley. When I transitioned to the Regional Chair role,I served with outstanding Vice-Chairpersons: Bill Sammler, Dieter Crowley, John Pollack, Richard Kessler, Tony Hall, Teresa Keck Jim Sieveking and Jim Lee, who is now the current Central Region Chairperson. Some of them have moved on to management roles as NWSEO helped advance many careers.
While I was the Central Region Chairperson, I worked to support employees’ needs, negotiate changes in working conditions and file grievances when necessary. My last opportunity to serve in NWSEO was to serve as a member of the NWSEO Credentials Committee. This credentialing work is an important part of the national convention and the smooth running of elections within the union.
Speaking of the national convention, my first NWSEO convention was in Minneapolis in 1992. My last convention was 26 years later in Pittsburgh, PA in 2018. At these conventions, I had the opportunity to meet and network with NWSEO members from all around the country.
The NWSEO congratulates Mr. Lee on his retirement and his outstanding contribution, efforts, and incredible support of NWSEO. He is an excellent example of how dedication to serving others can enhance your career.
NWSEO Spotlight articles allow members across the country to get to know each other, connect even more, and together, support each other in the work of NWSEO and in strengthening our membership. Please submit your Member Spotlight suggestions and comments to Christy Fox at email@example.com.
No one cares more for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees than NOAA employees.
No one works harder for NOAA employees than NOAA employees.
We are NOAA employees. We are NWSEO.
NWSEO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Celebrating Women’s History Month with NOAA Attorneys Guild Regional Vice Chair Lauren Smoker
(March 17, 2021) We recently interviewed NOAA Attorneys Guild (NAG) Regional Vice Chair, Lauren Smoker of Juneau, Alaska to learn more about her experiences serving as a regional leader. Ms. Smoker has worked as an attorney for over 26 years, and she is one of the top women leaders in NWSEO. She is engaging and influential with an optimistic spirit and has achieved effective results in many areas, including recruitment.
How long have you worked for NOAA Attorneys Guild?
I’ve been with NAG since its beginning in 1995! I became a steward in the late 1990s and Vice Chair for NAG in 2012.
What type of work do you do? What projects are you working on?
I’m an attorney for NOAA and I provide legal advice to the Alaska Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). I help the NMFS and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council develop fisheries management strategies that comply with legal requirements. NMFS and the Council manage commercial and recreational fisheries off Alaska out to 200 nautical miles from the coast. I’ve worked on Bering Sea crab regulations (i.e., Deadliest Catch), salmon issues, and programs that allocate fish harvesting privileges for pollock, Pacific cod and flatfish to large catcher processor vessels operating in the Bering Sea.
Why did you join NWSEO? Why do you support the work of NWSEO?
I was hired by NOAA General Counsel (GC) in 1990 and I saw and was subjected to various management decisions that would have benefitted from employees’ input. Marguerite Matera and Beth Mitchell, two attorneys with NOAA in the mid-1990s, put forth the idea of forming a union to allow employees an opportunity to work with management to improve working conditions and advance the mission of the office. I knew right away that what they were proposing was a wonderful idea and that it would make NOAA GC a great place to work. And it has!
Any experiences you’d like to share serving as Regional Vice Chair?
Being a part of NAG has always been important to me, from being a member, to being office steward, and now to being Regional Vice Chair. But becoming Regional Vice Chair has allowed me to participate in the larger mission of NWSEO, and I’ve learned so much. It has been a great experience getting to know the National NWSEO leadership as well as stewards and vice stewards from across the agency. I look forward to the convention every year because I get to see friends I’ve made over the years and learn about all the terrific work NWSEO is doing for its membership and NOAA. It has also allowed me to learn more of what NAG is doing for our entire bargaining unit, and to be part of those efforts.
What are some important gains women have made in NOAA NAG?
Well, the formation of NAG was due in exceptionally large part to Marguerite and Beth! Women have served in many roles, on negotiation teams, projects, being stewards, vice stewards, Regional Chair and Regional Vice Chair. Gender equality is very strong in NAG, and I see that continuing.
Women’s History Month continues with NWSEO NESDIS Regional Vice Chair Arla Tillman
(March 24, 2021) We recently interviewed NWSEO NESDIS Regional Vice Chair, Arla Tillman. Ms. Tillman works at NESDIS in Maryland as a Physical Science Technician / Aerospace Engineering Technician. Ms. Tillman has worked with NESDIS for over 24 years, and she continues to be instrumental in the growth and development of NWSEO membership.
How long have you worked for NESDIS?
I've been with NESDIS since 1997. Prior to working for NESDIS, I was in the Air Force assigned to the 6th Space Operations Squadron as a Space Systems Operations Specialist. Shortly after starting my career at NESDIS, despite the difficulty in working rotating shift work, l decided to persevere and go back to school and pursue both an undergraduate degree in Information Systems Management and a graduate degree in Computer Systems Management.
What type of work do you do?
As a Physical Science Technician/Aerospace Engineering Technician, I remotely command and control environmental satellites and prepare ground system equipment to communicate with satellites. My job is to ensure satellite data is recorded inside as well as outside of our window to communicate with it and is delivered real-time to our civilian and military customers. Our customers’ unique and specialized missions depend on the real-time data that they receive.
Being able to fix ground system and satellite anomalies comes with its share of challenges. But I would not be who I am if I did not embrace challenges as development and learning opportunities.
Why did you join NWSEO?
I joined NWSEO because I felt that there is a need for solid representation for the bargaining unit in the organization. In my experience, I have seen the residual effects of the lack of communication and understanding between employees and management.
In my formal training, I was taught that an organization's greatest asset is the employees. Listening is a skill that must be cultivated. Hearing is the auditory ability to receive sound and is used in the process of listening. When an employee feels as though they are not listened to and the platform to communicate and work collaboratively regarding the conditions that are causing difficulties in the workplace is ineffective, then the integrity of that organization’s greatest asset is compromised. My goal and intention are to contribute to the collaborative effort by both management and the bargaining unit to create a working relationship that serves the greatest good.
What are some important gains women have made in NOAA/NESDIS?
When I came to NOAA- NESDIS in 1997, there had never been a woman supervisor in operations until 2016. Since then, I've seen a greater representation of women in technical and science positions where representation was minimal or non-existent.
NWSEO continues to collect feature stories and testimonials of members from all over the country. To nominate a colleague or participate in these features, write to NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February Feature Celebrating Black History Month
with NWSEO AOML Vice Steward Evan Forde
In celebration of Black History Month, we sat down to talk with oceanographer and Miami native, Evan B. Forde. In 1973, Forde began his career at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and in 1979 he became the first African American scientist to participate in research dives aboard a deep-sea submersible. During his career, Forde has conducted research across various oceanographic and meteorological disciplines and remains one of the few African American oceanographers in the U.S.
Full article: https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/news/black-history-month/
Please submit your NWSEO Member Spotlight suggestions and comments to Christy Fox at email@example.com.