John Buehler named Aviation Chief for National Park Service

John Buehler
John Buehler. NPS photo by C. Boehle

John Buehler has been named as the new branch chief for the National Park Service Aviation Program, succeeding Margaret “Meg” Gallagher, who is retiring in January 2019 after spending about nine months in the position.

Mr. Buehler has served in a variety of jobs in his professional career:

  • U.S. Army (beginning in 1994), tank platoon leader, headquarters company executive officer, a graduate of the Aviation Officer Advanced Course
  • General Electric, Six Sigma program
  • General Accountability Office, auditor
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission, special agent
  • Bureau of Land Management, internal affairs special agent (his present job).

Mr. Buehler is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, with a degree in civil engineering, math, and law. He received a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management where he completed a dual concentration in finance and operations.

Mr. Buehler is a private pilot and continues to serve in the Army Reserves. He was activated as the Department of Defense Liaison to the National Interagency Fire Center in 2014, 2015, and 2017.

He will begin his new position January 6, 2019.

Meg Gallagher named branch chief for NPS aviation

Margaret “Meg” Gallagher
Meg Gallagher. Photo by Tina Boehle.

By Tina Boehle

Margaret “Meg” Gallagher has been named as the new branch chief for the National Park Service (NPS) Aviation Program, succeeding Jon Rollens, who retired at the end of 2017. Meg is currently the acting aviation branch chief, having previously served as the national helicopter specialist for the NPS Aviation Program.

Meg began her career in the federal government as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) volunteer for Olympic National Park as a backcountry ranger. Over the next five years, she worked in wildland fire management for the U.S. Forest Service, NPS, and Bureau of Land Management as a seasonal wildland firefighter on hotshot crews, in fire dispatch, fire prevention, and as a helitack crewmember.

In 1992, two years after completing the Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC) Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program, she moved to the Toiyabe National Forest as the assistant helicopter manager in Las Vegas, NV. In 1995, she became the helitack program manager of the Bridger-Teton/Grand Teton interagency rappel/shorthaul program in Jackson, WY. The following year, Meg spent a season on the “Ice,” as a helicopter specialist for Antarctica Support Associates at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

In 1998, as a warranted contracting officer, she became the aviation resource specialist for the Department of the Interior Office of Aircraft Services (OAS), then five years later stepped into the role of aviation training specialist for the thirty-seven states in the OAS’s Eastern Region. In 2009, Meg was hired by the NPS as an aviation management specialist. Among her diverse duties, she filled the role of regional aviation manager for NPS’s three eastern regions.

Most recently, Meg became the national helicopter specialist for the NPS Aviation Program in 2014. For the past four years in Boise, ID, she has built national operational plans for NPS’s high-risk programs with the experts in the regions and parks, as well as kept the Service up-to-date on quickly changing policy that shapes the Service’s aviation operations.

NPS Division of Fire and Aviation Chief, Bill Kaage stated, “With Meg’s understanding of the many aspects of aviation within the National Park Service, her focus on policy and safety, as well as her experience at local, regional, national, and departmental levels, I have great confidence that the NPS Aviation Program will continue to excel as it moves forward.”

Meg stated, “I look forward to leading the National Park Service’s Aviation Program into the future with evolving technology, while building on our current excellent safety record. I also look forward to filling vacancies so we can provide the best customer service to all National Park Service employees who use aviation to meet the mission.”

Meg and her partner reside near Boise. When not working, she enjoys travelling, riding her motorcycle, snowshoeing, and enjoying fine Idaho vintages.

She will begin her new position on April 15, 2018.