Airway Pioneer Member
Larry Pahl

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I grew up in Chicago, till 1951, when my folks moved to South Bend, Ind. This was a great move as, later, it allowed me to afford to go to, and graduate from, the University of Notre Dame (1960). After college I went to work for the Social Security Admin, where I was given a copy of their annual actuarial report for 1960, forecasting that the SSA trust fund would go bankrupt in less than 30 years. Not a good long-term career outlook, I thought. But there were new analyses every year containing dire forecasts of the trust fund's end, and yet Social Security continues. And it will go on until our politicians feel that we want it to fail.

I went in the Army in 1962, where, after basic training, I became a helicopter repair helper. Being a private with no training in helicopter repair, the Army naturally made me responsible for the Ft. Riley prop and rotor shop. Luckily there were guys there who knew a prop from a rotor so I didn't mess up any aircraft. I went back to SSA when I got out. I got really lucky in 1966 when I became a management analyst in FAA's Chicago Area Office, a career move that I never regretted. It led to an FAA management internship in Washington in 1967 (yes I was an intern, but I never bruised my knees).

It was a great way to learn about FAA by completing a short project in each of 7 HQ offices. After 1 year the program led to a job in Management Systems, Staffing Standards Branch. I worked on national Air Traffic and Airway Facilities field facility staffing standards development teams from 1968 through 1972. What great opportunities to see and study our skilled technicians, controllers, supervisors and all kinds of our field office workers. I got paid to watch people work! I have always been impressed with them and all the other talented, hard working people throughout the Agency, and am proud to have been a member of the FAA. When the new Great Lakes Region opened in 1972, I took my family back to Chicago, and stayed in the Management Systems Division, eventually becoming a branch manager and the region's TQM program manager. Then in 1994, I was reinvented and moved to the Regional Administrator's staff.

I retired in 1996. I have a son and daughter from my first marriage and a stepson and stepdaughter from my second marriage in 1988. This has led to 8 grandchildren. My wife, Kay, and I live in Schaumburg IL happily ever after.

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