Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fire Ecologist Rob Klein and Wildland Fire Module Superintendent Jordan Black recently received recognition for superior service, innovative thinking, and leadership. Klein was selected for the regional Wildland Fire and Aviation Excellence Award and Black was the recipient of the National Park Service Excellence in Mentorship Aviation Award.
The Interior Region 2 Wildland Fire and Aviation Excellence Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in leadership and collaboration. Fire Ecologist Rob Klein was nominated for the award by his peers for his collaborative mindset, inclusive communication, and unquestionable integrity. In 2021, he worked collaboratively with fire management staff and with university researchers to coordinate ecological research. Additionally, Klein completed several extensive updates to fire management plans for the Appalachian-Piedmont-Coastal Zone.
“Rob being recognized as the 2021 National Park Service Interior Region 2 Wildland Fire and Aviation Excellence Award recipient goes well beyond his exemplary efforts within the year of 2021,” said Regional Wildland Fire and Aviation Management Officer Shawn Nagle. “Over the past 20 plus years, Rob has contributed to and advanced the National Park Service mission of managing our National Parks for the benefit of future generations. Many generations to come will benefit from Rob’s care and commitment to maintaining the aesthetic appeal of our natural resources.”
The National Aviation Office awarded Wildland Fire Module Superintendent Jordan Black the National Park Service (NPS) Excellence in Mentorship Aviation Award. This award recognizes training and mentorship of aviation personnel that go above and beyond normal expectations to assist others in developing their personal or professional aviation growth. During the award period, Black recognized the benefits of using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to provide safer and more efficient operations. He trained to become a Department of Interior NPS UAS pilot and was immediately called upon to help with search and rescue events, prescribed fire monitoring flights, and post-hurricane events. He then helped train and mentor new pilots by teaching several Basic Remote Pilot Operator courses, earning Lead Instructor credentials.
“Jordan bridges the gap between supervision and mentorship with his employees,’” said Acting Zone Fire Management Officer Shane Paxton. “That skill is reflected in this mentorship award. I’m proud of Jordan for passing his knowledge to the wildland fire community through aviation.” For more information on the NPS Wildland Fire Program, please visit the NPS website at https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1965/index.htm.