Editor’s Note: This story features a leading woman in aviation and is in recognition of Girls in Aviation Day on September 26 sponsored by Women in Aviation International. Through this story on Angela Brooks, learn about her early motivation and passion for TSA’s mission.
“My uncle was a private pilot and would take me for airplane rides,” said Wyoming Federal Security Director (FSD) Angela Brooks. “This inspired me to want to become a pilot, so I decided to major in aviation at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. I soon realized that my money might be better spent.”
The wild blue yonder is heard and seen in songs, dreams and movies, but for many, the harsh reality of gas, maintenance, licenses, constant training, and certification costs set in and they begin to realize it’s a long way to that pilot’s seat in a Boeing 777.
When Brooks graduated from college – the first in her family to do so – with a degree in aviation management, few aviation jobs were available. “I happened to see a job announcement for a Federal Air Marshal (FAM) position on the bulletin board,” said Brooks. “That is how I began my career in the aviation industry.”
“I know that my grandparents, and to some extent my parents, thought I was a little crazy to become a FAM and travel around the world,” Brooks reflected. “In fact, one grandma always thought I was a flight attendant. I guess in her time, that’s all women were allowed to be in the aviation industry.”
Her first supervisor was one of the first female FAMs and was very supportive and encouraging. Yet after several years of traveling and plans for a family, Brooks became a Civil Aviation Security Inspector, as she continued to work for the Federal Aviation Administration where she held a variety of positions for the next 11 years.
After 9/11, she decided it was time to look for new opportunities. “The threat is real and always changing, and to be a part of an organization that deters the threat to protect lives is rewarding,” is how Brooks viewed TSA. Joining in 2002 as an Assistant FSD for Inspections in Kansas City, she started her current 18-year career path arriving in her current position as the FSD for Wyoming. Most recently she was selected as the FSD for Missouri and will report to her new duty station in the next few weeks.
“I like to see others succeed and progress in their careers,” said Brooks. “Knowing that I had a hand in helping them is very rewarding and inspiring.”
When asked what advice she could offer people starting their careers, Brooks said, “My advice to young people is pursue your passion. Don’t be afraid to take an entry-level position because there are a lot of opportunities that will lead you to your goal.”