Las Vegas inspector knows the small details have a big impact

Monday, August 24, 2020
Nyxica Blackshear

Looking at the big picture is what drives Aviation Inspector Nyxica Blackshear.

For 12 years as a TSA Surface Inspector and in her new role as an Aviation Inspector at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Blackshear is well aware how safe and secure airport operations impact the overall security of the transportation network. She inspects airfields and the companies that operate there to prevent attacks or even mistakes that can compromise traveler safety.

But that’s not all that Blackshear does to improve security. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, where she teaches new inspectors how to spot the little details that have a big impact on aviation security.

Blackshear’s background includes working with mentally disabled adults and wards of the court, so difficult situations and conflict management are nothing new. She also has a degree in criminal law, and hopes to continue her education with a master’s in business administration.

Blackshear was inspired to enter federal service by her parents. Blackshear’s mother and father both served in the U.S. Navy, as a human resource specialist and a chief helicopter mechanic, respectively. She also draws inspiration from the leaders who she has worked under throughout her career. We asked Nyxica for a few words on her contributions to TSA’s mission.

What I do matters because the TSA encompasses all modes of transportation. Surface transportation security is vast and mostly voluntary. As a Surface Inspector I conducted regulatory work and outreach efforts with mass transit and highway transportation stakeholders to include motor coach, school bus, pipeline, maritime and railroads. It has always been an important

personal mission of mine to make sure industry stakeholders understand the importance of providing security measures where there are little to none in place. I have been blessed to work with many hard working Surface Transportation Security Inspectors who are diligently working to ensure security measures are in place throughout the nation, directly improving TSA's counterterrorism, security mission/culture. I will continue that mission by helping to secure our nation's airports as I work in the Aviation department at LAS.

Locomotive picture

The most rewarding part of my job is the ability to teach, mentor and guide new inspectors. I am so thankful to have the opportunity, with the support of great leadership at Los Angeles International Airport, LAS, William P. Hobby Airport, and Omaha Eppley Airfield to teach as an Adjunct Instructor at FLETC and being able to obtain certifications such as Instructor/OJT provider and Surface Mode Instructor. I am fulfilled when I witness the development of new Inspectors learning something that I helped facilitate.

What I find most challenging is balancing all the moving parts. In addition to regulatory requirements, I partner with industry to search for ways to improve security through various vulnerability assessments, training and a number of other risk based security measures, requiring constant follow up. The challenge of getting better at identifying vulnerabilities and getting buy in from industry, keeps things exciting for me.