Alumni Profile - Bradley Heilenman '01
If you are going to be traveling across the country at any point in the near future, your flight in and out of Chicago airspace will be in good hands. Bradley Heilenman '01, a Business Administration graduate, is currently a Front Line Supervisor for the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center based in Aurora, Illinois. This is the story of how he came to be partially responsible for keeping the skies over the Midwest safe and hopefully on time for thousands of commuters on a daily basis.
What year did you graduate from Delaware County Community College and with what degree?
"I graduated in the fall of 2001 with a degree in Business Administration."
Did you pursue further academic goals?
"Yes, I continued my education at the Minneapolis Technical and Community College in Eden Prairie, MN. After a compressed year of specialized training and testing I acquired my En Route Air Traffic Control Certificate in the fall of 2002. This certificate allowed me the opportunity to fast-track my hiring process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) in Auburn, WA."
Where are you now? What are you doing?
"After nine years of being an En Route Air Traffic Control Specialist, I have recently been promoted to the position of Supervisory Air Traffic Control Specialist (aka. Front Line Manager) at the FAA’s Chicago ARTCC in Aurora, IL. As Front Line Manager, I am responsible for the supervision of forty air traffic controllers and their ongoing mission to provide the safest and most efficient movement of aircraft in the world."
What is next for you professionally?
"My short-term goal is to continue acquiring the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to become an Operations Manager. The FAA has many opportunities for acquiring these KSAs through: training seminars, training programs, online training classes, study groups, mentoring programs, leadership development planning, etc. Eventually, I would like to be an Air Traffic Manager and run my own facility for the FAA."
What advice do you have for your fellow alumni or current students from the College?
"Get focused. You need to adopt a lifestyle of continuous learning. Your time at Delaware County Community College is not just something to write off your bucket list, but the beginning of a whole life of learning. With the current state of the job market, those individuals who are always learning tend to get the jobs and get the promotions. But do not worry about the cost of this learning, because there are plenty of free resources at libraries or within your own company. "
"Stay focused. The one thing that has had a major positive impact to my career has been to create an Individual Development Plan (IDP). There are many formats available for free online. An IDP has you list your name, current job title/position, short-term goals, long-term goals, a list of activities that will help you acquire the KSAs to reach those goals, and when you accomplished each item. This is very important to guiding your career path. I would recommend discussing your IDP with your manager because they might be able to give suggestions of better ways to acquire those KSAs. Also, leave a copy with your manager. Your manager can reference your IDP to help them write your year-end performance evaluation. Plus, it will help them determine what opportunities would benefit you."
"Be positive. It does not matter how ‘educated’ you may be…nobody wants to be around people who are grumpy and who complain. Management looks highly on those employees who are creating or sustaining a positive work environment and will usually look towards promoting these people."
The Alumni Association is proud of Brad and all he has accomplished since graduating a decade ago. If you have a great story or would like to learn more about Brad and his work, please contact the Alumni Office.