SAN DIEGO – The Transportation Security Administration has named Michael J. Aguilar, the federal security director (FSD) at San Diego International Airport, McClellan-Palomar, and Imperial Valley Airports, as the agency’s FSD of the Year for the Western Region, distinguishing him among his peers. The award recognizes the FSD who makes significant contributions in providing operational direction for federal security, demonstrating integrity and innovation while adding value to other airports and agencies nationwide.
“Mike has improved the morale of employees and has promoted a culture of achievement among team members,” said Gale Rossides, TSA associate administrator for Business Transformation and Culture. “He serves as an example of workplace excellence with a focus on providing world-class security, and his partnerships inside and outside TSA are positive, professional and customer-focused due to his outstanding leadership.”
Among his accomplishments, Aguilar, one of the first eight FSDs selected by the TSA, coordinated the first TSA augmentation and evacuation of the New Orleans airport due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and served as prime liaison between TSA and FEMA by organizing a 24/7 coordination response center at the headquarters office. At his own airport, Aguilar’s San Diego team set up one of the first TSA Local Hiring Centers rolled out early in 2006, leading the way as an example for the rest of the nation.
“Mike Aguilar is, without reservation, the finest federal security director of a large hub airport in the National Airport System,” wrote Thella F. Bowens, president and CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, in her submitted endorsement of Aguilar’s nomination. “As a result of his successful leadership … our passengers and airport visitors are far safer and more secure than ever before.”
Prior to coming to work for the TSA, Aguilar served 30 years in the United States Marine Corps and retired as a brigadier general. During his service, he flew helicopters from bases in California, Hawaii and Japan and served as the deputy commander U.S. Marine Forces South in Miami and commanding general of Fleet Marine Forces South. Aguilar is a graduate of the Naval War College and holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies and National Security Affairs and is a veteran of the Gulf War. He has the added distinction of being the first Hispanic of Mexican descent to reach the rank of General officer in the United States Marine Corps.
The position of federal security director was created by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act signed by President Bush on November 19, 2001.