Colonel (Retired) Norma Ely, is the second child of four and grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from Mifflin Senior High School in in 1981. She enlisted into the United States Army Reserves as a private specializing in Quartermaster/Logistics and left Columbus Ohio in 1982 to attend one of the historical black colleges Florida Memorial University in Miami Florida. COL Ely is a 1986 graduate of Florida Memorial University where she was one of the first two graduates to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in the Aviation Science Program. COL Ely is the second Florida Memorial University student commissioned to Second Lieutenant in one of the best leadership courses in thecountry, the United States Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). She is the first female student to attain this distinction. She also attended Strayer University in Suitland Maryland and received her Master of Business Administration (MBA), in Human Resource Management
On November 15, 2003 as a Major, she was called to active duty in the United States Army and was involuntary transferred to the 300TH Area Support Group (ASG) at Fort Lee, Virginia to fill a LTC position of the Support Operations Director. COL Ely then a Major successfully mobilized her Support Operations Directorate to Iraq on January 24, 2004. COL Ely was given a higher visibility mission to an isolated Convoy Support Center (CSC) called CSC Scania. COL Ely was promoted to LTC on March 8, 2004 and was selected by the 13TH COSCOM Chief of Staff BG Chambers to become the Battalion Commander of the 77TH Corps Support Provisional Battalion (CSB) at CSC Scania and was rewarded the Bronze Star Medal.
COL Ely has held many other challenging and rewarding positions in the United States Army Reserves while at the same time being employed with the Federal Aviation Administration as an Air Traffic Controller. She has been awarded numerous decorations, Service Medals and awards.
COL Ely has served in the United States Army Reserves for twenty nine years and retired October 28, 2012 as the Group Commander of the 206TH Regional Support Group (RSG), in Springfield IL.
History was made in twice in 2008 first when President Barack Obama began the first African American President and for the second time on October 28, 2008 when Norma Ely arrived at Andrews Air Force Base Air Traffic Control Tower as the first African American Female to be selected as the Air Traffic Manager. Norma was selected for one of the most important jobs in the FAA as the Air Traffic Manager of one of the FAA’s high visibility Air Traffic Control towers and primary airport of our President and Vice President of the United States, their families, and all VIP Dignitaries.
Before Norma arrived at Andrews as the Air Traffic Manager, the Air Traffic Controllers, Air Traffic Staff, and Tech Operations personnel had never been afforded a tour of Air Force One’s B747 aircraft. Norma immediately went to work to set up the tour of Air Force One for all Andrews Tower personnel, Washington District personnel, Headquarters staff and anyone who wanted one. This was the first of a number of outstanding milestones Norma was instrumental in making a change to. Also during this time, Norma was the single force behind the change to Andrews Air Forces Badge categories. Due to Norma’s efforts, Andrews Tower personnel and FAA personnel have been granted the same privileges as Department of Defense (DOD) personnel to bring their families on the Air Force Base with them and also to escort up to 10 people on Base, thereby permitting and enhancing education of the Andrews Air Force Base and the US Presidential fleet.
Norma’s dedicated untiring efforts also lead to the Andrews Tower and FAA personnel being afforded the privilege of buying meals from the Air Force Flight Kitchen, a privilege that only pilots and a few authorized Air Force personnel who work on the Air Force Base’s flight line have access to. During Norma’s tenure, history was made once again when Andrews Tower was awarded the first plaque for outstanding service provided from the United Secret Service Agency and a Letter of Commendation from the White House Communications Agency for outstanding services provided to their agents.
In addition to the outstanding accomplishments listed above, Norma also did an outstanding job providing leadership, guidance through her management over the last 4 years to 9 Front Line Managers, over 30 Air Traffic Controllers, an Administrative Assistant, and 2 FAA Contactors. She single handedly took on the tremendously difficult but not impossible task of changing Andrews Tower’s image and culture from that of a dumping tower for unsuccessful Controllers to Andrews Tower is Home of Air Force One and Two and it is an important FAA Air Traffic Control Tower due to ensuring facility POTUS and VPOTUS for dignitaries to arrive and depart the Nation’s Capital safely and efficiently.
She provided the needed assistance to these employees that went outside her duties as an Air Traffic Manager encouraging, convincing and providing anything she could to help these employees to not focus on their hardship but to focus on being successful and overcome their situation. A number of Andrews Tower Controllers, under Norma’s committed determination, untiring dedication to the FAA, and her tutelage received enhanced and continued training. As a result, they have been selected for higher level facilities throughout the country. Norma operates at a heightened state and this has allowed her to accomplish several entities in addition to her always demanding, unchanging, high visibly duties those of the Air Traffic Manager of Andrews Air Traffic Control Tower, Home of Air Force One and Two in an outstanding manner.
Norma is the Eastern Regional Director for the Professional Women Controllers (PWC) and has also been actively involved on a daily basis with FAA Employee Association’s mission and goals taking care of and promoting equal opportunity for minorities and female employees, mentoring, coaching, and developing current and potential FAA employees. Norma’s untiring efforts to 100% improve FAA-wide employee and management relationships has been a great impact ensuring that everyone is fairly treated and receive equitable benefits. She has been an outstanding liaison over the last 4 years among FAA employees, management and other aviation communities at large by helping to employ and mentor several people needing assistance; as well as, those she met through outreach activities. Some of the local community outreach included FAA’s Headquarters out Reach Programs, various Aviation Career Education Academy Camps (ACE) and College Training Initiative (CTI) schools in Baltimore Maryland, Miami Florida and others. Her overwhelming organizational efficiency and community service is contagious and never ending because she personally takes time to offer her experience, expertise and knowledge to all whom she encounters. Norma is effectuate in the FAA, Employee Associations, the United States Army Reserves, and to anyone she can assist and add value to their lives and/or organizations.
As the PWC Eastern Regional traveled to Nigeria last year along with the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) National President and NBCFAE Northeast Regional President to help Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers and Aviation Management Officials conduct an Aviation Education (ACE) & Science Technology Engineer and Math (STEM) Camp for over 250 Nigerian students ages ranging from 5 years old to 18 years old.
In Norma’s civilian occupation, she has been an Air Traffic Control Specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration for the past thirty years in the Air Traffic Organization’s Air Traffic Services and is currently working as a Technical Advisor in the FAA Washington DC Headquarters.
Norma ushers at Shiloh Baptist Church in Alexandria Virginia on second Sundays. She lives in Fort Washington Maryland with her wonderful husband Christopher, beautiful daughter Bria and two energetic Jack Russell Terriers Jaxx and Jazz.