Facility Tours

Preparation

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Prepare a statistics sheet for your facility – i.e. how many operations you do, types of operations, how many people work there, etc.

Ensure staff has your mobile phone number.

After coordinating with the gate guard, ask them to inform you of the VIP's arrival first, so you can meet them in the parking lot.

Remind membership the night before about the tour, and ask them to wear NATCA shirts.

It is important that the staffers believe that you are extremely excited to be hosting their boss. Regardless of how junior the member is, you should always act as if they are the most important member of Congress.

Arrange for a Crash Fire Rescue demo at the airport while they are in the tower.

Wear proper business attire for the tour. You want it to appear to be a very special occasion for your facility.

Execution

When you first meet the Congressperson in the parking lot, let them know that you are elated that they have come to visit your facility and that you are proud to have the opportunity to show them around.

Have bottled water or refreshments available, including the MOC’s favorite soft drink.

Thank them for coming to your facility and taking the time to educate themselves on the air traffic control system. Explain that it is an enormously complex system (include the 3 phases Tower, Approach, Center).

Explain to them the importance of getting to see a Tower, a TRACON, and a Center so they will really understand the full breadth of the system and offer to set up a tour at the other options if they are truly interested.

Members of management often get a little unnerved by a member of Congress visiting and they feel compelled to try to “hijack” the tour. In an effort to combat that, you should have some people with “issues” that they need to have addressed so as to “distract” management.

Should management attempt to tag along or hijack, you should have members ready to “run interference” and distract the management member from the tour.

During the tour you should make every effort to introduce the Congressperson to your members only. It’s okay to brush by non-members, members of management, or Tech Ops.

Remember that you are subject to Hatch Act restrictions when you are on government property.

When you first get into the facility you should tell the member, “We are all very proud of our facility and the work we do here.” Once you have said that, you can segue into issues you may want to discuss. “We are proud of our vocation and we feel like some of our issues aren’t being heard…” or “We have a good relationship (lie if you have to) on most issues and we work through them collaboratively. One issue where we disagree right now is…”

Do not be afraid to disagree with management during the tour. Just do it tactfully. “Insert name… I respect your opinion but I disagree with you because…”

Always remember that the member came because YOU invited them so it really is YOUR tour. Take ownership of it.

Don’t forget about the staff! Have someone give special attention to any staffers that may be along and ensure that they realize how important you believe their boss to be and how elated you are to have them there for a tour. Get their information and let them know that you are willing to give their families a tour any time too.

Just like in the D.C. offices, the in-district staff is very important for many reasons. Ensure that you cater to them and answer their questions as if they were the member of Congress.

Hand out the fact sheet you prepared.

Ensure that the member is walked past any prepared signs or banners.

Follow-Up

The tour isn’t complete when they leave your facility. You should follow up with an email to their staff (especially those that attended, but certainly the transportation legislative assistant back in D.C., as well as the District Director and Chief of Staff). Tell them how much you enjoyed hosting their boss and provide answers to any questions that the member may have had during the meeting.

Follow up on any IOUs you may have given to the member.

Thank the staffer for their part in helping get the member there for a tour. (It doesn’t matter if they didn’t do anything. Thank them anyway.)

 

 

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