Archive for the ‘Mary Ellen’s Meanderings’ Category

Congress Set to Pass Huge FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Many thanks to TJ Schultz (new President of ACC) for eloquently (and quickly!) summarizing the FY14 Appropriations Bill that Congress will (we hope) shortly pass.  Could it be that we can have a reasonably normal year funding-wise?  Know hope.

ACC logo

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are preparing to consider a huge 1,500+ page omnibus appropriations bill that provides funding for all federal agencies in FY 2014, including the FAA and TSA. The omnibus bill is a result of the budget agreement reached by the House and Senate in December, which set overall funding levels for each federal department in 2014 and 2015. The budget agreement removed the automatic sequester cuts, so federal programs will likely not be subject to rescissions this fiscal year or next.

With the current short-term continuing resolution (CR) expiring today, Congress will likely pass an extension bill for a few days to allow each chamber time to consider and pass the omnibus legislation.

Below are the highlights:

Federal Aviation Administration

Final FY 2014 Appropriations Funding Levels (in billions)

FY 2013 Enacted (post sequester)


FY 2014 Admin. Budget Request

FY 2014 House

FY 2014 Senate

FY 2014


FAA Total































  • Funds AIP at its authorized level of $3.35 billion in 2014. With the omnibus likely to pass by next week, the FAA should have more time to work with airport sponsors to distribute AIP funding over the remaining portion of the fiscal year, compared to last year when the FY 2013 appropriations and sequester became final in March.
  • The Operations account is funded at $9.65 billion, which is $255 million above the FY 2013 post-sequestration amount. A total of $140 million is set aside for the contract tower program.
  • Appropriators kept the FAA Facilities & Equipment account at the same post-sequestration FY 2013 funding level, which is $178 million less than the president’s budget request.
  • ACRP is funded at its authorized level of $15 million.
  • $149 million is appropriated for the Essential Air Service program. There is a provision prohibiting DOT from renewing an EAS contract with a community less than 40 miles from a hub airport unless a negotiated cost share with the community has been arranged.

Thank you, Paula!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Paula Hochsteler, ACC President

Paula Hochsteler, ACC President








I’m just back from the Airport Consultants Council Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona, where there was an extended appreciation for Paula Hochstetler’s service to ACC and the industry.  I thought I’d add my voice to the chorus of thanks for everything Paula has done to make ACC really be the expert voice of airports.  Paula has been insightful, generous with her time, and a real model of successful implementation of a long range vision.

I also would like to congratulate TJ Schulz on his appointment as ACC’s new President.  I look forward to working with TJ, and watching ACC continue to flourish under his leadership.

Congratulations to you both!

In Memoriam

Monday, October 28th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Laymon Miller

Laymon Miller










Many of us at HMMH knew Laymon Miller personally – he was an important early contributor to the practice of noise control.  Laymon did much of the early work on aviation and highway noise control, as well as industrial acoustics, as described in this biography prepared for a University of Texas award that Laymon received:

Laymon Miller, Leo Beranek and Walden Clark of BBN in Seattle with Boeing 707 in background

Laymon Miller, Leo Beranek and Walden Clark of BBN in Seattle with Boeing 707 in background













Most of Laymon’s consulting work was: (1) Noise and vibration control for HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning) systems in buildings; (2) noise control for manufacturing plants, aimed at meeting OSHA noise regulations for the protection of workers’ hearing; (3) noise surveys and noise control aimed at protection of communities against the intrusion of excess noise from manufacturing plants, highways, power plants, airports, etc.; (4) noise and vibration control of products for customer acceptance; and (5) vibration isolation designs for achieving very low vibration levels for particular instruments or processes.

From my perspective, one of Laymon’s greatest contributions – not only to the field of acoustics, but also to the world – is Bob Miller, one of HMMH’s founders and former Chairman of the Board.   Bob mirrors not just Laymon’s passion for acoustics, but his courtesy and grace, and is a constant reminder that scientific inquiry and curiosity are a wonder.

Laymon will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers go to Bob and his family.

Willkommen auf INCE-bruck!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Sunday, September15, 2013

Innsbruck Aldstadt (Old Town)

Innsbruck Aldstadt (Old Town)









The understanding of Innsbruck that many Americans of my generation have begins and ends with the 1976 Winter Olympics:  Franz Klammer, Jim McKay, and Dorothy Hammil (yup, I had her famous wedge haircut).

Dorothy Hammil, 1976

Dorothy Hammil, 1976











Didn’t think much of it again until I was invited to speak at the 2013 Internoise Conference.  So here I am, getting ready to attend the “Opening Ceremonies”, after spending a day as tourist.  I’d recommend:

  • Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum (Tyrolean Regional Heritage Museum): features a collection of folk art and displays of Austrian living in the 15th-18th century.  I was most intrigued by a current exhibition entitled “Dreck” (Dirt), which focused on cleanliness and hygiene as a social ideal (indeed, teutonic fastidiousness with hygiene was something I noticed upon my first visit to Austria, when most toilets were still of the “shelf toilet” variety).
  • Aldstadt:  the Old Town, with pretty pastel buildings, Alps in the background, and lots of touristy shops, in case you’re in need of some new leiderhosen.
  • Theresienkirche: at the top of a mountain, in the “Hunger District”.  The church has several frescoes by Max Weiler, including this one depicting Tyroleans at the crucifixion:

Herz-Jesu-Sonne, 1947  Source: Die Hungerburger Theresienkirche

Herz-Jesu-Sonne, 1947
Source: Die Hungerburger Theresienkirche




More later.  When the action starts.

Leaning In

Monday, August 26th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Just back from vacation – and since today is Women’s Equality Day, I thought it was time to write about Lean In.  I must admit that I’d been reluctant to read it because of all the negative press, but since so many people ask my opinion of the book (just assuming that I’ve read it – you know, it’s one of those “feminist screeds”) – and because I’d gone through all the other trashy novels in my shelf (which I will share only with Royce) – I figured I might as well.

Lean In Book Cover

Lean In Book Cover

In short, while some of the criticism is valid, I think I have to agree with Sandberg on many points:

  • Women (men, too) are responsible for their own career development. Too many of us (that’d be me, too) wait to be asked.  We need to make ourselves noticed, not wait for it.
  • Having a supportive partner/husband is equally (more?) important than a supportive employer.  In this, I have been blessed (or as Sandberg would have me say, I’ve made a good choice).  Also, I don’t care if my daughter is a fashion astronaut when she goes to school, nor that dinner some weeks is macaroni and cheese every night.  I try very hard not to be a maternal gatekeeper.
  • Also, done is better than perfect (something I just can’t get my husband to understand, but I attribute that to a religion thing more than a gender thing – a subject for another post, probably).
  • There is no such thing as work/life balance.  I prefer to think of my life as whack-a-mole.  It’s not always satisfying, but it gets the job done (see above).
  • We need to start talking about it.  Drop me a line if you’d like to do so.

What are you reading?