ATCA Annual Outstanding Achievement Award for Small Business: Formerly the Charles E. Varnell Memorial Award for Small Business

Charles E. Varnell was born in Dallas, Texas on March 11, 1931, and served in the United States Air Force as a Radio/Radar Operator. After military service he worked for North American Aviation, the Whittaker Corporation and Litton Industries before opening his own consulting business in 1972. Mr. Varnell became a member of ATCA in 1969 and over the years was a diligent worker and supporter of ATCA and its objectives. His integrity, loyalty and professionalism were his hallmark and his many accomplishments in support of the National Airspace System are legendary. As a member Charlie was always active in ATCA sponsored symposia, meetings or convention activities and willingly supported personally and financially any activity which contributed to the benefit of ATCA and its members. His many contributions include the expansion of corporate member exhibits, creation of the ATCA Golf Outing and his personnel support of the ATCA scholarship program. The ATCA Small Business Award category was established based on his recommendation. Charlie was awarded an ATCA Honorary Membership in 1999. He died on August 2, 2000. He was an inspiration to all who knew him and the Charles E. Varnell Memorial Award is named for him in recognition of his outstanding support of ATCA and the aviation industry.

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  • 06 Jun 2018
    Hon. Linda Hall Daschle Named 2018 Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award Winner

    The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is pleased to announce that former FAA Acting Administrator Linda Hall Daschle has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, one of the most prominent awards in aviation and ATCA’s highest honor.

    A pioneer for women in air traffic management, Daschle was the first female to hold the post of Acting Administrator for the FAA. She began her aviation career in Kansas nearly 45 years ago as a licensed weather observer for the agency. In 1993, she was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the US Senate for the position of FAA Deputy Administrator. One of her first tasks involved an assessment of the agency’s key air traffic modernization program called the Advanced Automation System which was eventually overhauled, saving the agency an estimated $1.6 billion. She also oversaw the advancement of new regional airline safety regulations and conducted a review of the agency’s safety and surveillance program, which resulted in one of the single largest hires of new safety inspectors in FAA history. 

    Ms. Daschle has held numerous government and private-sector leadership positions, including with the American Association of Airport Executives, the Air Transport Association, the former Civil Aeronautics Board, and with the law firm of Baker Donelson. She is currently President of LHD & Associates, Inc, and serves on the board of Aireon, LLC.

    In accepting the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, Ms. Daschle joins aviation greats, including Delta’s Richard Anderson, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, the Hon. Jane Garvey, Boeing’s Neil Planzer, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and pilot A. Scott Crossfield. (View press release HERE.)

    Tickets will be available this month. For more information, visit

    Established in Washington, D.C., in 1956 by a group of air traffic controllers, the Air Traffic Control Association has been from the outset dedicated to progress in the science of air traffic control and the preservation of a safe flight environment.
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