Dedication, dependability, and a strong sense of right and wrong are admirable qualities in any individual, but for those who work security this attributes become essential to the safety of the community at large. Qualities seem to be inherent in BOS Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Gregory Clay.
Originally from Michigan, Officer Clay, known to his coworkers as Q, took a roundabout journey to be where he is today. Gregory Clay discovered his purpose while working for San Francisco International Airport (SFO). As Officer Clay explains it:
“I’ve always wanted to be on the front line instead of hearing about it from story tellers. After I graduated college, Go Blue!, I joined the Army to be all I could be. But my knees had been all they could be. Once released, I sought to serve where I could so in the fall of 2002, I started at SFO. I remember I started with a broad and noble goal- keep America safe (in the wake of 9-11). But within a few weeks, as I started training, I grew to work for and appreciate those I was training and formed a personal level goal, not just an ideal but an, ‘I can work to make these folk better.’ “
Now part of the security team at Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Officer Clay is dedicated to helping the passengers who travel through the airport, as well as the personnel with whom he works.
“In February 2006, I volunteered to train at the smallest airport I had ever seen, FSD. The same guy who gave me the ticket, took my ticket at the gate and de-iced the plane when I went back to SFO. I ended up transferring here and he’s been a coworker for years.”
Long recognized for his dedication to his job, Officer Clay continues to motivate others. As his coworkers advance and are recognized for their achievements they are presented with a pen, ( according to Q the pens are “nothing fancy. Just a 7 dollar pen from Office Depot”) courtesy of Gregory Q Clay. It’s a personal way for Officer Clay to recognize and encourage a job well done. Passengers, coworkers, and anyone who crosses Gregory Clay’s path will surely feel secure and better for it.
What I Do Matters Because
I am part of the bigger TSA mission to keep our country safe. But while I still hold the broader goal of keeping our nation safe, daily I am reminded of the personal level goal of how I can work to make my fellow officers better. Mentoring, encouraging, and leading by example is important.
The Most Rewarding Part of My Job Is
I get to know many of the regular frequent flyers who travel through our small airport and I have established relationships with them. Passengers through SFO were just a herd. At FSD there is time to help more one-on-one. While most are pleasant, smiles, greetings and even personal updates, some are, more complicated. On occasion, younger leadership have called me for an upset passenger. After hearing details, I can sometimes name the passenger and their particulars.
What I Am Most Proud of At Work
I am very proud of my work ethic. I may not be the best at any one position but I am here, everyday, happy to do what I can, and do it to the best of my ability. I pride myself on always being in early, being available and staying on the floor whenever possible.