FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Margaret Gilligan will retire on March 31. She has been a fixture at the agency for almost 40 years.
Since January 2009, Gilligan has led the Aviation Safety Organization, which has responsibility “for the certification, production approval, and continued airworthiness of aircraft; and certification of pilots, mechanics, and others in safety-related positions,” says the Aviation Safety page on the FAA website.
Gilligan’s official biography notes that the Aviation Safety Organization’s programs are carried out by more than 7,000 employees at FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and more than 125 field offices, with a $1 billion annual budget.
Before leading the Aviation Safety Organization, she was its deputy associate administrator for 14 years.
Gilligan served as chief of staff under four FAA administrators, was an attorney in the FAA Chief Counsel’s office, and was a staff attorney in the agency’s Eastern Region during an agency career she began in 1980.
Gilligan’s numerous honors include accepting with her industry co-chair a 2008 Robert J. Collier Trophy that recognized the joint government/industry Commercial Aviation Safety Team's development of an “integrated data-driven strategy that reduced aviation fatalities in the United States by 83 percent over 10 years,” the biography notes.
Other awards she received include a 2014 Welch Pogue Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aviation, bestowed by Aviation Week & Space Technology and the International Aviation Club; a Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership in 2011, an award given annually to two federal senior executives for “exceptional leadership”; and a 2006 Laurel Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology with her industry co-chair, for "reducing the risk of fatalities in world aviation" through the Commercial Aviation Safety Team.
Gilligan is a 1975 graduate of Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, and a 1979 graduate of Boston University School of Law.