In her five years with TSA, Transportation Security Officer (TSO) Diane Eckrich has made the most of her opportunities. A natural people person, Eckrich joined the team at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) after a career as a teacher and working for the state of Wisconsin.
Following 9/11, she joined TSA. “The need for our country to find a way to go forward was incentive for me to apply to TSA – the agency established to thwart the success of future attempted attacks,” she said.
In addition to her primary duties as a frontline counterterrorism Officer, Eckrich has taken the initiative on a range of challenges and roles across the agency – for which she earned 2012 TSO of the Year recognition. She quickly realized that there were many ways beyond the checkpoint to become involved and engaged in TSA’s mission, such as supporting MKE’s Community Outreach Program.
“What I do matters because I believe our mission is one of the most important in the world and I am committed to supporting my colleagues and educating the traveling public about why we are here and being the best we can be every day. My work as a Conflict Management Coach, facilitator, and member of my airport’s Employee Advisory Council enables me to connect directly with our employees and help them work through issues and minimize distractions. That way we can maintain focus on protecting passengers. Engaging with the traveling public away from the checkpoint, as part of the local outreach team and representing TSA at public informational media events, helps raise awareness about who we are, why we are here, and what to expect at the checkpoint.
“My experiences at TSA have helped me grow both personally and professionally. Since joining the agency I have been exposed to video production as part of the MKE-Today video team – an engaging way to communicate timely and important information to employees. Being part of my airport’s inaugural Associates Program helped me gain an increased and deeper understanding of TSA and homeland security.
“What I find most rewarding about my role as a TSO is that I represent the thousands of Officers who embody the heart and soul of the agency. Those of us who perform the pat downs, the bag checks and other screening procedures are providing activities that are critical to the success of our evolution as a high performing counter-terrorism organization . Every day, standing in uniform side-by-side with my co-workers provides a real sense of community and camaraderie. I am proud to be one of the many dedicated TSOs who carry out the security mission of TSA.”
From the Office of Strategic Communications/Public Affairs