News Release Date: December 3, 2015
Contact: Colin Smith, (415) 623-2180On December 1, 2015, Acting Regional Director Stephanie Burkhart presented Shad Sitz with a Superior Service Award "[i]n recognition of [his] outstanding performance in managing the aviation program for the Pacific West Region (PWR) of the National Park Service (NPS).
Since he was hired the Aviation Manager for the PWR in January 2011, he has worked tirelessly to make the regional aviation program the safest in the NPS. Shad has been a major player in professionalizing and standardizing the helicopter short haul programs throughout the NPS and interagency community.
Short haul is a high risk activity and he has made it his mission to ensure the agency performs these operations in the safest way possible. He has led workgroups to come up with standard procedures and equipment to be used in all NPS short haul programs, which has also been adapted by the US Forest Service for their short haul program. Shad was and continues to be a leader in the interagency standardization effort.
Shad has also been a driving force in improving Yosemite National Park's heli-rappel program. This is a vital program for rescue and wildland fire management in the park. Shad worked with park personnel to design a formal testing program, institute safe practices, and standardize the procedures used in operations.
One of Shad's major accomplishments is obtaining an exclusive use helicopter contract shared by Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks. Since the death of Nick Hall in 2012, Shad has worked tirelessly to develop an aviation program for the park which includes a full time aviation manager and an exclusive use helicopter in order to provide fast, efficient, and safe aviation support for mountaineering activities. In June 2015, the helicopter contract was completed. This would not have happened but for Shad's work providing assistance in a smooth transaction of the helicopter to the park.
As a testament to the work Shad has done, there have been no aviation accidents involving NPS operated aircraft in the PWR during his tenure.
For his significant accomplishments in the completion of these programs, Shad R. Sitz is granted the Superior Service Award of the Department of the Interior."