TSA Federal Air Marshal honored for blazing a path for women in non-traditional careers

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Local Press Release
Friday, August 24, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.  —  A supervisory Federal Air Marshal for the Baltimore region has been honored by receiving the Transportation Security Administration’s Trailblazer Award for 2018, for blazing a path for women in non-traditional careers as part of the agency’s Women’s Equality Day celebration.

Alexis L. Smollok, a supervisory TSA Federal Air Marshal in charge of the Baltimore Field Office, has served with the Federal Air Marshal Service since 2006. In her current role, her responsibilities include strategic and operational management of law enforcement resources assigned to the Baltimore Field Office and the State of Maryland.

A resident of Fairfax County, Virginia, Smollok has been a strong advocate and role model for diversity and inclusion for all TSA employees, but specifically women in the law enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service since she joined TSA. Her professional and personal leadership activities have demonstrated these trailblazing traits by creating strategies to recruit and retain more women, eliminating barriers for advancement and developing mentoring programs for women while serving to protect our country and nations transportation system.

During her 12 years with TSA, Smollok, a licensed pilot, has served in numerous executive roles. She has served on the Baltimore Federal Executive Board since 2014 and was the Chairperson from 2016 to 2017. Prior to her current assignment, she served as the regional director for 10 different Federal Air Marshal field offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle as well as their resident offices.

In addition, she has served as the Deputy Assistant Director and Assistant Director for TSA’s office of security services and assessments, where she led the TSA’s National Explosive Detection Canine Program and Explosives Operations Division, whose critical missions include deterring and detecting the introduction of explosive devices in the nations’ transportation system. In addition, she led the TSA Manned Portable Air Defense Systems Section (MANPADS) as well as Joint Airport Vulnerability Assessments for airports, where she was instrumental in conducting numerous briefings with aviation stakeholders on current and emerging mitigation plans and response capabilities.

Smollok was a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for more than 10 years prior to transferring to the Federal Air Marshal Service in 2006. During her career with the FBI, she was assigned to the Newark, N.J., Field Division, FBI Headquarters and the National Counterterrorism Center in Northern Virginia as Coordinator, Civil Aviation Security Program. She continued her advancement within the FBI by representing the agency with a detail assignment at the White House as the director of aviation security policy on the Homeland Security Council.

Smollok is recognized as a highly accomplished leader across TSA based on her unwavering commitment to the agency’s security mission and dedicated workforce. She has consistently demonstrated herself as an innovator and change agent. She is a board member of the Women Executives at TSA, where she has actively advocated to raise awareness of career barriers impacting women, influencing changes in organizational policy to promote an inclusive environment, and modifying institutional culture structures to allow for the retention and promotion of women into leadership positions.

Recognizing the demanding schedules and unique mission of Federal Air Marshals, Smollok created a subcommittee to identify and address barriers impacting female Federal Air Marshals. In her role as the chairperson of the subcommittee, she led an initiative to successfully allow for female Federal Air Marshals to participate in the nursing mothers program for up to one year after the birth of their child. In addition, she implemented strategies for the targeted recruitment and hiring of a record number of female Federal Air Marshals during the 2016 through 2017 hiring initiative.

Smollok earned her MBA in aviation management and bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She is also an accredited Certified Protection Professional within the security industry.