The TSA team at Washington Dulles International Airport received the prestigious 2020 Tower of Dulles Award, given for “meritorious service providing for the betterment of Dulles Airport and the Dulles Economic Corridor.”
2020 has been a challenging year for travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and TSA Dulles continues to provide exceptional security for passengers while making sure conditions are as safe as possible.
TSA frontline employees around the country have risen to the challenge of dealing with rapidly evolving conditions and restrictions during the pandemic. Team Dulles adapted with hard work, determination and agility. To accomplish TSA’s critical security mission, they put safety procedures in place, including social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment and disinfecting surfaces.
While air travel has decreased significantly since March when the pandemic hit the U.S., Dulles remains one of the busiest airports in the country. Located 23 miles west of the nation’s capital, the airport operates domestic and international flights that are essential to business in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Air travel through Dulles heavily impacts the Dulles Economic Corridor, an area in Northern Virginia home to some of the nation’s largest defense and technology companies.
The TSA team at Dulles consists of approximately 750 officers, transportation security inspectors, canine handlers, explosive technicians and administrative staff.
"Because of COVID-19, it has been a very difficult year at Dulles International Airport,” said Jack Vega, the president of the Committee for Dulles. “Through it all, the Dulles TSA team remained steadfast, accepting potential risk in order to protect the traveling public."
Vega presented the award to TSA Federal Security Director Scott T. Johnson with several Team Dulles members on hand, as the ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“I am honored to accept the Tower of Dulles Award on behalf of all TSA Dulles team members,” Johnson said. “It’s clear during this crazy 2020 COVID year, teamwork among all airlines, concessions, local businesses, and other federal and state agencies had to be strong to continually support the mission – safe travels for our passengers. I am proud of Team TSA accomplishments during this year, highlighted by the start of the Dulles Food Bank. I am extremely optimistic for the future of Dulles and the entire Dulles community.”
Members of the TSA Dulles team went above and beyond their normal duties as the pandemic hit. Despite many of their own schedules changing because of fewer flights, TSA Dulles helped out their counterparts at the airport.
"At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, many people working at the airport began to either be laid off or have their hours greatly reduced,” said Scott K. York, executive director of the Committee for Dulles. “When that happened, the TSA team stepped up and established a temporary food pantry at Dulles to help those hard hit financially."
Dulles VIP services also lent a helping hand to a 102-year old World War II veteran before his flight, giving him the honor and respect a hero deserves.
TSA Dulles is also at the forefront of innovative technology and expert screening, as was shown in September when Dulles officers detected a replica explosive in checked baggage.
The Committee for Dulles has awarded the Tower of Dulles Award annually since 1997. The committee is made up of over 70 business leaders, policy makers and people who support Dulles and the surrounding business community.
The committee arranged to provide boxed lunches for officers the day before Thanksgiving to thank them for their efforts.