Five years ago, Margaret Hanson was looking for a career change, so she came to TSA. What a perfect fit!
Since joining the agency in May 2017, Hanson, a transportation security officer (TSO) at Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA), is well-known by her colleagues for demonstrating, promoting and practicing all of TSA’s leadership principles and now is national TSO of the Year.
Hanson and Colorado’s Kaitlyn Talley were named co-TSOs of the Year during the 2021 Honorary Awards Ceremony.
“I am truly honored,” said Hanson. “This would not have been possible without the support of my many fellow coworkers with whom I have formed such a strong team.”
Hanson joined TSA to honor and defend our country by keeping people safe during air travel.
“Knowing that I participate in a well-developed screening process that helps ensure we keep our planes safe brings a high level of satisfaction,” Hanson said. “Working with a competent and able team helps provide an additional level of confidence and pride.”
Over the last two years, she received three Model Officer awards, two Core Value awards for integrity and respect, and two awards for collateral duties.
Hanson is considered a top on-the-job coach for new TSOs from all of Idaho’s airports and is often called to help officers with pat-downs and property searches. She led IDA’s effort to keep TSA areas clean and sanitized during the COVID-19 pandemic and made sure everyone had the proper personal protective equipment to safely do their jobs. She also regularly organizes tabletop discussions on procedural changes.
Balancing her required and extra responsibilities seems to come naturally for her.
“It’s sometimes a juggling act,” Hanson admits. “However, if I ever ask for help, I have many who step right up to give me that assistance. My leadership actively asks if I need time or help with these duties, which gives me the flexibility to complete these tasks.”
“Margaret is one of those people everyone would like to have on their team,” said Idaho Federal Security Director Andrew Coose. “She is selfless, hard-working, conscientious and always ready to help others. She is a sweetheart and a person who brings great warmth and sincerity to our overall team dynamic at IDA. We would not be able to provide the levels of personal service to our passengers without her sincere desire to make every interaction a positive one – with her peers and with customers.”
When asked about her approach to make sure passengers have a good customer experience while keeping them safe, Hanson replied, “A friendly greeting, eye contact and focusing on one passenger at a time. Providing the respect we all deserve goes a long way toward making passengers’ experience pleasant.”
Coose said he’s so proud of Hanson and what she represents.
“Margaret is the perfect example of commitment, a values-based commitment to people she serves every day,” Coose noted. “This award, as a reflection of her service, is just one way we show her the respect she deserves in our commitment to recognize her outstanding efforts.”
Hanson said she’s winding down her work career and, in retirement, hopes to spend more time with family and friends. However, she plans to stay busy by giving back to her community in some volunteer position.
She is the second national TSO of the Year from Idaho in two years. TSA named Kim Green of Pocatello Regional Airport TSO of the Year in 2020.
“I would like to thank my team at IDA,” Hanson emphasized. “They are the best! My [on-the-job] coaches and longtime mentors and friends have given me a true gift. Thank you!”
By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs