Service to America Award Shines Spotlight on FAA Employee

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Federal Aviation Administration’s  David Gray is a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal. The medals, also known as Sammies, are awarded to outstanding federal employees who serve the public good and are addressing many of the country’s greatest challenges.

Gray led the operational rollout of a technology called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). The Partnership for Public Service recognized Gray for demonstrating superior leadership, management excellence and being instrumental in achieving the Department of Transportation’s commitment to efficient, effective and results-oriented government by leading a transformational program. 

“The FAA’s greatest strength is its people,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “David brings dedication and focus on safety to the job every day, and he is well deserving of this recognition.”

ADS-B is part of the FAA’s plan to transform air traffic control from a system of ground-based radars to a system that uses satellite technology. ADS-B improves safety, increases efficiency, and reduces the time it takes to locate lost aircraft, potentially saving lives. Air traffic controllers and pilots use the technology to provide shared situational awareness.

“Transitioning to ADS-B services in the national airspace system has been such a huge undertaking that involved thousands of people both in the FAA and throughout the aviation industry. I feel very lucky, and proud to be a part of a flagship next generation program like ADS-B that can handle future demands more efficiently,” said Gray. “

The FAA informed the aviation community in 2010 that ADS-B technology would be required on all aircraft flying in certain controlled airspace as of Jan. 1, 2020. Gray inspired his team and managed the completion of the infrastructure on time and on budget. Gray and his team collaborated with the aviation industry — specifically general aviation — to get the community onboard and equipped by the deadline.

The Partnership for Public Service selected 27 finalists for the Sammies. The finalists also are eligible for the Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by members of the public on this site. The People’s Choice winner will be announced in the summer. The Sammies winners will be announced on September 22.